While many Milwaukeeans have a vague notion of the Open Housing Marches, this presentation will offer a detailed examination of events that took place over 200 days in 1967-1968. This quintessential local story will explore the remarkable work of Milwaukee’s NAACP Youth Council and Commandos, with their advisor Father James Groppi, in support of Alderwoman Vel Phillips.
We will begin by building a framework for understanding the civil rights movement and Long Black Freedom Struggle. Then, we will explore the conditions that led to the Open Housing Marches and use images and media to build the dramatic account of what unfolded in Milwaukee’s streets during the marches.
Particularly in this moment — one where our city and country’s streets are again filled with protest — there is no better time to contextualize local civil rights history alongside national narratives in an effort to highlight the role and impact of local leadership and youth activism.
“March on Milwaukee: 200 Nights of Freedom” will be hosted by Dr. Robert S. Smith and Adam Carr. Dr. Robert S. Smith is the Harry G. John Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Urban Research, Teaching & Outreach at Marquette University. Adam Carr is the Deputy Editor for Community Engagement at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.