INTERVIEW: “The Exchange: Kaukauna and King, 50 Years Later”

An award-winning documentary looks at a social experiment in Wisconsin during the Civil Rights movement
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 4:01 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 6, 2023 at 5:10 PM CST
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KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WBAY) - It was a unique piece of history for Northeast Wisconsin and for the State of Wisconsin.

In 1966, a Kaukauna High School teacher named Tom Schaeffer came up with the idea to exchange students with Rufus King High School in Milwaukee, a school with a majority Black population. Thirteen students -- 7 from Kaukauna; 6 from King, including 4 Black students -- spent a month at the other school, living with host families. Both schools performed the play “In White America” with the exchange students.

It was a unique social exercise during the heart of the Civil Rights movement. And 50 years later, the two schools performed the play again.

This remarkable story is now an award-winning documentary, including Best Documentary at the Mesa Film Festival and the Audience Choice Award at the Hollywood International Diversity Film Festival.

Screenings are being held all week in Northeast Wisconsin, starting Monday, February 6, at Kaukauna High School (see the schedule, below).

To learn more about the experiment, we spoke with the film’s producer and director, Joanne Williams, who was at Rufus King High School when it took place. We asked her about the film -- how she found the footage, how difficult it was to find the people she interviewed 50 years later -- and what she hopes people learn from watching the film today.


  • Kaukauna High School Auditorium, Monday, Feb. 6, 6:30-8:00 pm
  • Lawrence University Warch Campus Center Cinema, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
  • UW-Green Bay University Union, Tuesday, Feb. 7 - Thursday Feb. 9, multiple screenings culminating in a Lunch and Learn with Williams on Feb. 9 12:30-2:00 pm (requires registration)
  • Fox Cities Performing Arts Center Kimberly-Clark Theater, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 6:30-8:30 pm
  • UW Oshkosh Sage Hall 1210, Thursday, Feb. 9, 6:30-8:00 pm
  • African Heritage Inc. Hosts the 24th Annual Fox Cities Black History Program at Fox Valley Technical College, Saturday, Feb. 11, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Find show details at