National Archives at Kansas City

Birth of a Movement Film Screening and Discussion

National Archives at Kansas City

February 7, 2017


For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072


On Thursday, February 23 at 6:30 p.m., the National Archives in partnership with Kansas City Public Television, will host a film screening of the PBS Independent Lens documentary, Birth of a Movement, followed by post-film discussion. A free light reception will precede the program at 6:00 p.m.  

In 1915, Boston-based African American newspaper editor and activist William M. Trotter waged a battle against D.W. Griffith’s technically groundbreaking but notoriously Ku Klux Klan-friendly The Birth of a Nation, unleashing a fight that still rages today about race relations, media representation, and the power and influence of Hollywood. Birth of a Movement, based on Dick Lehr's book The Birth of a Movement: How Birth of a Nation Ignited the Battle for Civil Rights, captures the backdrop to this prescient clash between human rights, freedom of speech, and a changing media landscape.

Post-film discussion will be led by Kevin Willmott, filmmaker and professor of film and media studies at the University of Kansas; Michelle T. Johnson, writer and playwright, former attorney and journalist; and Eric Wesson, senior staff writer at The Call. Birth of a Movement is produced by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Sam Pollard. This program is presented in partnership with Kansas City Public Television and PBS Independent Lens.

Reservations are requested for this free film by calling 816-268-8010 or emailing Requests for ADA accommodations must be submitted five business days prior to events.

The National Archives at Kansas City is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit   

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LPM/LE – KC17-13