Project Milwaukee: Black & White

Race Relations in Milwaukee

Milwaukee has long held the reputation, deservingly or not, of being one of the most segregated cities in the United States. Race relations in our community continue to impact education, economic development and our neighborhoods.

In June of 2009, WUWM News and Lake Effect journalists examined the history and evolution of black-white relations in Milwaukee. Project Milwaukee: Black & White explored how race relations have improved, and where there is still room for growth.

Rob Henken is the Executive Director of the Milwaukee-based Public Policy Forum, a non-partisan policy research organization. He spoke with Mitch Teich. The Forum has studied race relations in Milwaukee with several comprehensive reports in the past; you can find links here. Henken tells Mitch Teich what the forum's interest is in something as all-encompassing as race relations.

Lois Quinn is a senior scientist for the Employment and Training Institute at the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education. She spoke with Mitch Teich as part of our Project Milwaukee: Black and White series on disparities in jobless rates and barriers to employment.

Margaret Henningsen is the Founder and Executive Vice President of Legacy Bank, located on Fond du Lac Avenue in Milwaukee. It was chartered 10 years ago next month. She explains why creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and homeownership in the African American community has been of primary importance to her.

So-Called 'White Flight'

Jun 15, 2009

Amanda Seligman is a professor of history and the director of the Urban Studies program at UWM. She tells Stephanie Lecci how the concept of so-called “white flight” is often over-simplified.

Milwaukee has long held a reputation of being segregated: with blacks living primarily on the north side and whites on the south.

In today’s installment of Project Milwaukee: Black and White, WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson visited establishments on both sides of town, to ask blacks and whites about their interactions with each other.

Our Project Milwaukee: Black and White series continues this morning, with a report on a program that brings together professionals of different races. The idea is to increase understanding among the races, in hopes they'll influence their workplace and the larger community. However, some claim the program only scratches the surface. WUWM's Ann-Elise Henzl has more.

Margaret “Peggy” Rozga is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. She was married to the late civil rights leader James Groppi from the time he left the priesthood in 1976 until his death in 1985. Patrick Jones is Assistant Professor of History and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and author of The Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee, published by Harvard University Press. Margaret Rozga continues to be involved in issues of social inequity; she's also published a collection of poems about the fight for open housing.

Frank Aukofer is the retired Washington Bureau chief of The Milwaukee Journal and its successor, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He is also the author of the book City with a Chance, which chronicled his experiences as a civil rights reporter in Milwaukee; it was first published in 1968. His memoir, Never a Slow Day: Adventures of a 20th Century Newspaper Reporter, was recently published by Marquette University Press. He spoke with Stephanie Lecci on the phone from Seattle.

Milwaukee Civil Rights Walking Tour

Jun 12, 2009

Shirley Butler-Derge is a poet and author of several books. She was an active member of the NAACP Youth Council, and hopes to create a walking tour of Milwaukee sites that were important during the civil rights movement. She takes Stephanie Lecci to a few of those sites, including Rufus King High School, the former location of St. Boniface Church and the 16th Street viaduct.

We continue our series Project Milwaukee: Black and White with a look at school segregation. The push to integrate the schools flared racial tensions here in the 1960s and 1970s. The results of the fight were mixed. WUWM's Ann-Elise Henzl has our report.

Words used in the story may be offensive to some, but are integral to the report.

Milwaukee-born writer and historian John Gurda is a Lake Effect contributor. He’s been studying the history of Milwaukee since 1972, and has authored 18 books, including The Making of Milwaukee. He gives Mitch Teich a brief overview of race relations in Milwaukee from the early 19th century through the 1950s.

The Story of Joshua Glover

Jun 11, 2009
Sulfur

George Gonis is the board president of the Joshua Glover-Cathedral Square project, which wants to create a monument to Glover's story and its national impact. He explains to Lake Effect's Stephanie Lecci how the 1854 freeing of runaway slave Joshua Glover by a mob of abolitionist Milwaukeeans reverberated across the country.

Settlement at Hillsboro, WI

Jun 11, 2009
Photos courtesy of Darrell Lofton.

Descendants of the original settlers of Wisconsin’s Cheyenne Valley gathered at Cardinal Stritch University last year to talk about their childhoods in and around Hillsboro, once Wisconsin’s largest African American settlement. We heard the voices of Wilbur Arms, Claude Bugbee, Barb Stanek, Rita Marie Witter, Iva Mae Roberts Storey and Mike Thompson. Jane Hampden produced our feature, which originally aired in 2008.

There’s been talk of a post-racial America developing, as the presidency of Barack Obama unfolds. Yet it appears great strides are needed, including in southeastern Wisconsin. The Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council has been fighting housing discrimination for 30 years, and yet staff members say people here are still denied housing because of their race.

Early History of Race Relations

Jun 11, 2009

Milwaukee has long been known as one of the most segregated cities in the country. This morning, WUWM begins to explore whether that reputation still holds true today. During our Project Milwaukee coverage, we’ll look at the state of race relations in the city, how they’ve improved and where there’s still room for growth. WUWM’s Erin Toner begins our series with a view on the early history of blacks and whites living together in Milwaukee.

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