Latinx Wisconsin and Milwaukee

Latinx Heritage Month began on September 15th and runs through October 15th. In this spirit, we want to offer resources on local Latinx communities of both past and present. Regarding communities in the greater Wisconsin area, Voces de la Frontera has a project from 2020 called La Tierra del Queso (The Land of Cheese), focusing on Latinx dairy workers in the state that includes a short film talking to some of the workers. PBS Wisconsin released an hour-long film called “Latino Wisconsin” in February, which is available to stream here.

Regarding communities in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a piece from 2018 about the history of Latinx activism in Milwaukee. WUWM has a piece from April discussing the lack of historically designated landmarks for the Milwaukee Latinx community, and a piece from this month about the importance of Latinx communities in our history, among other articles for Latinx Heritage Month. WisCONTEXT hosts a lecture from Marquette’s Dr. Sergio González (also mentioned in an above WUWM article) called “Milwaukee’s First Mexican Community.” González additionally works with the Wisconsin Latinx History Collective, which collects the oral histories of Latinx communities across Wisconsin. UWM Professor Joe Rodriguez also has two publications that may be of interest:

  • Latinos in Milwaukee (Arcadia, 2006), co-authored with Walter Sava. Compilation of historic pictures and a narrative history of Latinos in Milwaukee.
  • Nuestro Milwaukee: The Making of the United Community Center (Milwaukee, 2000)–co-authored with Dana Nix, Sarah Filzen, Marc Rodríguez, and Susan Hunter- -a history of the leading Latino nonprofit agency and school in Milwaukee.

Local places of interest to visit with your students may include the Rozga Family’s Old South Side Settlement Museum (telling the story of the earlier Polish and later Latinx communities who made the south side home), and the United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS) mural created by PSOA instructor Raoul Deal, student artists and historians, and the nonprofit ArtWorks for Milwaukee.