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Milwaukee in the Civil Rights Years

Paul Geenen recalls the strife in new book

Feb. 26, 2014
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The Civil Rights Movement is usually synonymous with the American South, but Milwaukee had its own racial struggles in the middle years of the 20th century. Milwaukee historian and community activist Paul Geenen dramatically captures this discriminatory strife in Civil Rights Activism in Milwaukee: South Side Struggles in the ’60s and ’70s.

This historical chronicle provides a sweeping view of Milwaukee’s South Side, a hotbed of racial segregation and a flashpoint for prejudice in the ’60s, and tells the story of numerous parties coming together to fight the injustices of unfair housing and labor laws in the city. Cooperative activism from the likes of Father James Groppi, representatives from the NAACP Youth Council, students at Alverno College and a group of Latino families joined forces to bring about radical positive change for open housing and better working conditions. 

Geenen, the author of previous books including Milwaukee’s Bronzeville: 1900-1950, Schusters and Gimbels: Milwaukee’s Beloved Department Stores and Sherman Park: A Legacy of Diversity in Milwaukee, will discuss his newest release at Boswell Book Co. at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27; and at Barnes & Noble at Brookfield Square Mall at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28.


Book Happening


Michael Perry

7:30 p.m., Feb. 27-28

Oconomowoc Arts Center

641 E. Forest St., Oconomowoc

Multi-talented Wisconsin writer Michael Perry returns with a ribald new collection, Stories from the Middle of Nowhere. This native son, best known for Population: 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time and Truck: A Love Story, has in Stories produced a witty and wry compilation proving that sometimes the middle of nowhere is the best place of all.

Perry is a well-known humorist and host of the nationally syndicated “Tent Show Radio.” He also tours and records with the band Log Beds. Tickets for his events at the Oconomowoc Arts Center are available for $20.


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