As we’ve shared history of Milwaukee’s Open Housing Marches in communities around our city, we’ve found that this story of national importance is too often absent from our local memory. So, in addition to attending events throughout 200 Nights of Freedom, educating yourself about this history is a key way to honor the 50th anniversary.
Milwaukee-born historian Erica Metcalfe has written two crucial articles detailing the contributions of the NAACP Youth Council and Commandos to Milwaukee’s Open Housing marches.
Both published in Wisconsin Magazine of History, Metcalfe presents deeply important Milwaukee stories that are too often forgotten. It is the sincere opinion of the March On Milwaukee 50th committee that these two short articles are essential reading for all Milwaukeeans.
Read Future Political Actors by Erica Metcalfe, published in the autumn 2011 Wisconsin Magazine of History.
Read Commanding A Movement by Erica Metcalfe, published in the winter 2014-2015 Wisconsin Magazine of History.
For the 40th anniversary of Milwaukee’s Open Housing marches, Peggy Rozga wrote an article in the summer 2007 Wisconsin Magazine of History detailing the 200 nights of marching, from the first march on August 28th, 1967 to the passing of Vel Phillips’ fair housing resolution on April 30th, 1968. Click here to read March On Milwaukee by Peggy Rozga.
In June 2017, CNN produced the special Bill Weir: States of Change, including a fascinating interview with the Prentice McKinney about the Commando’s relationship to law enforcement in ’67-68. Click here to see the special.
Throughout the summer of 2017, the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service has been publishing a series of stories on Milwaukee’s Open Housing marches, including feature articles and interviews with marchers. Click here to see the series.
In 2015, Wisconsin Public Television created a documentary detailing the amazing life of Milwaukee civil rights leader Vel Philips, including her tireless advocacy for fair housing in Milwaukee. Click here to watch this documentary.
UW-Milwaukee Professor Emeritus Michael Gordon compiled this bibliography of suggested readings about African Americans, housing, education, and civil rights In Milwaukee.
Suggestions for further reading on the Open Housing Marches can be found at the UWM Library Archive’s March on Milwaukee archive.
Check back in the coming weeks for more resources, including curriculum and other resources.