At the same time that many churches were maintaining segregated congregations, others were key players in the struggle for civil rights because they inspired people to respond to the nationwide call to arms against social injustices. In 1963 the National Council of Churches, United Presbyterian Church, USA and United Church of Christ sent out a statement of support for direct action and involvement with the African American community, nationwide, to aid in the civil rights struggle. This paved the way for a new kind of religious culture that allowed political mobilization to begin within the church.

In June 1964 the National Council of Churches published the “Commission on Religion and Race” which was a national statement that showed America that the struggle for civil rights had now changed from an African American struggle to a nationwide religious struggle for morality. Before this, however, there were several groups that had begun aiding the African American community in their struggle, including the Catholic Interracial Council and the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity.

One of the key figures in the Milwaukee movement, Father James Groppi, used his church, St. Boniface, to rally the Youth Council for marches and protests. His inspiring sermons gave people the spirit they needed to continue on in their struggle. In many ways, the church helped shape key activists in the Milwaukee civil rights movement. KW