Collections A-Z

Barbee, Lloyd A., Papers

About the physical collection: Papers of Lloyd Barbee, a Milwaukee civil rights activist, lawyer and Wisconsin state legislator. Included are personal correspondence; legal files; campaign files; legislative subject files concerning abortion, the ERA, prison and court reform, the Assembly Judiciary Committee, the Democratic Party, the Judicial Council, and court reorganization; and files concerning his involvement in groups such as the Milwaukee United School Integration Committee (MUSIC), Freedom Through Equality, Inc., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Milwaukee Legal Services. Over half of the collection consists of research material and legal records of the class action desegregation suit Amos, et al. vs. Board of School Directors of the City of Milwaukee, et al. and its subsequent remand trial. Barbee served as counsel for the plaintiffs for the duration of the trial from 1965 to 1980. View collection finding aid

About the digital collection: Included are correspondence; transcripts, exhibits, and other court records; as well as charts, tables, graphs, maps, reports, school board minutes, and other materials concerning research on student, teacher, and administrative assignment patterns, pupil transfer policies, and building facilities. View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Barnhill, Helen I., Papers

About the physical collection: Papers of Helen I. Barnhill, the executive secretary of the Milwaukee Citizens for Equal Opportunity (MCEO). Mrs. Barnhill was also editor of the MCEO Newsletter, active in the organization’s housing referral service, and worked with the allied Milwaukee United School Integration Committee (MUSIC). The MCEO was part of the Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Community Life, an Illinois-based group which also included the United Citizens’ Committee for Freedom of Residence of Evanston, Illinois. The collection consists of printed flyers, memos, and other material of the MCEO, and its parent organization; correspondence received by Mrs. Barnhill and pertaining to equal opportunities and housing; and school curricula and schedules for a “Freedom Day School,” to be held in Milwaukee on May 18, 1964. A few housing referral cards and a folder of fragmentary papers from other community groups are also present. Much of the collection consists of printed material. View collection finding aid

About the digital collection: The digital collection includes a selection of the Barnhill papers related to Freedom Schools. View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Congress of Racial Equality. Milwaukee Chapter: Records

About the physical collection: The Milwaukee CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) collection consists of materials that relate to the 1963-1964 protest against the Milwaukee public schools. These files include correspondence; curricula and other materials used in the Freedom Day program; reports, placards, and petitions; and research materials which indicate how the Philadelphia and New York City chapters of CORE handled similar problems. The remainder of the collection lacks such a central theme, although it covers the same time span. It includes a copy of the constitution and by-laws of the chapter and the rules by which demonstrations sponsored by the chapter were to be conducted; programs, minutes of meetings, and the Education Committee report at the National CORE convention held in July 1964; and material relating to the civil rights programs in Mississippi, a placard announcing a protest march against Alabama Governor George Wallace, and the program of CORE’s Wisconsin State Conference in 1964. View collection finding aid

About the digital collection: Nearly all of the collection is included online. View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Freedom Day School Poster

About this item: This poster was created during the civil rights era to promote the boycott of Milwaukee Public Schools and encourage attendance at temporary, alternative schools known as Freedom Schools. The boycott was part of an effort to desegregate the public school system and was led by the Milwaukee United School Integration Committee (MUSIC). The poster dates from the first boycott, which was held on May 18, 1964. Approximately 11,000 children–roughly 60% of Milwaukee’s black, inner-city school population–stayed out of school, and about 8,500 attended the freedom schools. The word “Here” handwritten on the poster indicates that it was likely placed at one of the freedom schools. View this item in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Groppi, James, Papers

About the physical collection: The collection provides information about the activities and writings of one of the leading civil rights activists of 1960s Milwaukee, a white, Roman Catholic priest named Father James Groppi. The primary focus of the collection consists of correspondence that he received during the height of his activism in 1967. View collection finding aid

About the digital collection: Documents include representative examples of support, critical, and hate mail that he received from not only local citizens, but also people nationwide. View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Larkey, Jay and Hinda, Papers

About the physical collection: Papers of an activist couple, the Larkeys, that includes newspaper clippings, photographs, and slides pertaining to Jay and Hinda Larkey’s activites during the civil rights movement in Milwaukee in the 1960s. The collection includes clippings of Hinda Larkey’s arrest when protesting school segregation, a dismantled scrapbook which largely documents a 1968 “Freedom-In” fundraising event held at the Larkey’s home, and slides of a Milwaukee march to protest police action in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Additionally, there are photographs of a 1987 commemorative march across the 16th Street Viaduct. View collection finding aid

About the digital collection: All their images depicting the 1965 march to protest police action in Selma, Alabama are included in the digital collection. View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Milwaukee (Wis.). Mayor: Records of the Henry W. Maier Administration

About the physical collection: The official records of the Henry Maier mayoral administration (1960-1988) of Milwaukee, including audio tapes, correspondence, memorabilia, memoranda, reports, and speeches. The civil rights era is well-represented, especially the 1967 civil disturbances. Much information on affirmative action and the civil rights movement, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, is available in the records.

Studies in the early 1960s on acculturation and public schools, funded by the Ford Foundation, provide insights on the status of African-American Milwaukeeans in the early 1960s. In 1968, the city began a “Learn By Doing” program to provide educational, cultural, and recreational jobs for disadvantaged youths. Of particular interest is the log kept by the mayor’s office during the July 1967 civil disturbances. Audio tapes of Maier’s meeting with Father James Groppi in August 1967 are available in Tape 1235A. Extensive files also exist on the city’s affirmative action program, the “War on Prejudice,” and the Commission on Community Relations and its implementation of the Greenleigh & Associates study on Milwaukee race relations.

Relatively little information can be found on the bussing and integration of Milwaukee public schools, largely because Maier did not become actively involved in the issues, and the staff usually directed constituent correspondence to the School Board. The controversies over the police department’s treatment of minorities are not well documented. Patrons can, however, find some information in the files on Ernest Lacy and the Police Department. View collection finding aid | View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Milwaukee United School Integration Committee Records

About the physical collection: Records of an organization that worked to end school segregation and other forms of racial discrimination in Milwaukee. Under the leadership of Milwaukee attorney Lloyd Barbee and Marilyn Morheuser, MUSIC sponsored a “Freedom Day School” on May 18, 1964, to teach black students about their heritage and history, and called for similar Freedom Schools and student boycotts of segregated schools in 1965 and 1966. Among MUSIC’s other projects were Freedom Camps I and II, 1964; rallies for better housing and jobs, 1964; questionnaires sent to school board candidates in 1965; marches, demonstrations, speakers, and fund-raising events.

The collection includes a small file of correspondence; copies of memos, flyers, and other promotional and descriptive materials regarding the school boycotts; schedules, curricula, and lessons for the Freedom Day Schools; a few press releases; and fragmentary printed flyers and papers concerning other MUSIC projects. View collection finding aid

About the digital collection: Nearly all of the collection is included online. View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Oral History Interview with William J. Miles

About the physical collection: This interview is of Rev. William Miles by Marc S. Rodriguez, in 1994. The interview provides information on Miles’ experiences during the civil rights movement in Milwaukee circa 1964-1969. Miles discusses his role in the Milwaukee United School Integration Committee (MUSIC) of which he was a founder. Topics include the Freedom Schools in Milwaukee; Fr. James Groppi; Lloyd Barbee; and MUSIC’s relationships with UW-Milwaukee and Marquette University. Miles also discusses the reaction of his parish, the Anglican Church, and the broader community to his actions. He also provides some information on his experiences with retail (Porters of Racine). View collection catalog record

About the digital collection: The original collection, comprising audio recordings, is represented on the website, and is complemented by a full transcript. View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Oral History Interviews of the March on Milwaukee Oral History Project

About the physical collection: The March on Milwaukee Oral History Project was designed to help document the open housing movement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin of 1967-1969, led by Father James Groppi, Alderwoman Vel Phillips, and the Milwaukee NAACP Youth Council. The oral history interviews were conducted by Amanda Wynne, a UWM history graduate student intern; undergraduate students in Professor Michael Gordon’s fall 2007 senior history seminar; and by Michael Gordon himself. The collection consists of taped interviews and abstracts of the interviews. Topics covered typically include biographical information, involvement in or recollection of the open housing marches in Milwaukee, and race relations in past and present Milwaukee. Many of the interviewees discuss their reflections on the civil rights movement in light of their religious affiliations. View collection finding aid

About the digital collection: The digital collection includes only a selection of all interviews. View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Oral History Interviews of the More Than One Struggle Oral History Project

About the physical collection: A series of oral history interviews, consisting of audio recordings and transcripts, conducted 1995-1996 by historian Jack Dougherty while researching his book More than One Struggle: the Evolution of Black School Reform in Milwaukee. Interviewees provide insight into Milwaukee school reform activism through their discussions about the Coalition of Parents for Quality Education, Committee of One Hundred, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), Federation of Independent Community Schools, Freedom Schools, MUSIC (Milwaukee United School Integration Committee), Milwaukee Urban League, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), North Division High School, Parents Action Committee for Education (PACE), Sherman Park Community Association, Triple O-Blacks For Two-Way Integration, Urban Day School, and Washington High School. View collection finding aid

About the digital collection: The digital collection includes only a selection of all interviews. View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

Slesinger, Jonathan A. Study of Community Opinions Concerning the Summer 1967 Civil Disturbances in Milwaukee

About this item: Report by former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Social Welfare faculty member Jonathan Slesinger. The study provides a detailed analysis of white and African-American opinions on the causes and outcomes of the July 1967 civil disturbances in Milwaukee. View this item in the March on Milwaukee digital collection

WTMJ-TV News Film

About the physical collection: WTMJ-TV is the NBC-affiliated television station located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The WTMJ-TV news collection is the largest surviving body of television news footage in Wisconsin. It dates from 1950 to 1980 and consists of approximately two million feet of 16mm film. View WTMJ-TV News Search

About the digital collection: The digital collection includes nearly two hours of unedited news film footage related to the Milwaukee civil rights movement. View related items in the March on Milwaukee digital collection