Images courtesy UWM Library Archives
March on Milwaukee
Honoring the 50th Anniversary of Milwaukee's Open Housing Marches
Beginning on August 28, 1967, the Milwaukee NAACP Youth Council/Commandos, Father James Groppi, Alderperson Vel Phillips, and a host of activists and community members marched for over 200 consecutive nights to demand an end to housing segregation. The sacrifice, courage and ingenuity of the marchers inspired national fair housing legislation, culminating in the passing of Vel Phillips’ fair housing resolution on April 30, 1968, making our region’s widespread discriminatory real estate practices illegal, giving black and brown people the legal right to live where they choose.
In the subsequent 50 years, as a city, we have collectively allowed a tragedy to occur. Taking inventory of our school’s curriculums and our built environment, it’s evident that the stories and lessons of the marches have largely disappeared from our public consciousness.
In 2018, the March on Milwaukee 50th Coordinating Committee (MOM50th) partnered with Still Waters Collective and the Zeidler Center on a series of public dialogues to explore how the city remembers its history.