War Stories with Aaron Barnhart @ Watkins Museum
How Kansas Mennonites Changed Mental Health Care
Few people were as unprepared for World War I as Kansas Mennonites. Opposed to military service for religious reasons, these mostly German farmers came under suspicion, and many were incarcerated at Fort Riley for the remainder of the war. Later, with World War II looming, the Mennonites—along with Quaker and Brethren churches—proposed a system for alternative service. The result was Civilian Public Service, which assigned many Kansas conscientious objectors to domestic work projects, particularly in mental health hospitals. Learn how CPS workers helped expose intolerable conditions at these institutions, leading to postwar reforms and a transformation of psychiatric care.
A Kansas Humanities Council Program in partnership with Lawrence Public Library
- Contact: Kristin Soper
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