This summer marks the 50th anniversary of an extraordinary event in Milwaukee history. A group of African-American teenagers belonging to the NAACP Youth Council, under the guidance of their advisor, the Rev. James Groppi, marched for 200 nights, often facing hostile white crowds, in support of open housing legislation in the city. To commemorate the anniversary, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service has created a series of articles, videos and photographs examining various aspects of the March on Milwaukee.
The series will run twice a week through July, and begins with an article explaining the historical context of the march. Other pieces address the persistence of housing segregation; the role of women; the roots of black activism; and diversity in the Common Council. In addition, using video and text, the series recounts how the experience of participating in the marches affected the lives of nine Youth Council members, and looks back at the period through the eyes of some white Milwaukeeans.
In addition to Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service staff members Andrea Waxman, Edgar Mendez, Naomi Waxman, Jabril Faraj, Dwayne Burtin and Adam Carr, contributors include journalism students in LaToya Dennis’s digital journalism class and Herbert Lowe’s journalism capstone class in spring 2017 at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication.
For all of the maps, census data have been drawn from National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS), Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and the U.S. Census Bureau. The American Communities Project at Brown University created the variables and harmonized the data.
We believe this series strongly connects Milwaukee’s past with its present and future. Please feel free to add your comments on the stories.
Sharon McGowan, Editor
Download a free copy of “The Long March to Freedom” ebook, a compilation of all the articles in this series.