2021 Fromkin Grant Recipients to Study Racial Covenants and Black Resistance in Milwaukee

photos of Anne Bonds and Derek Handley

Anne Bonds and Derek Handley

A project that charts the racial housing covenants employed to segregate Milwaukee County in the 20th century and the fight against them has been awarded the UWM Libraries’ 2021 Morris Fromkin Memorial Grant and Lectureship.

The winning proposal – “Mapping Racism and Resistance in Milwaukee County: Struggles over Racism and Real Estate in the Urban North” – was submitted by Anne Bonds, associate professor in UWM’s geography department, and Derek Handley, assistant professor in UWM’s English department, along with community partners Reggie Jackson (journalist and educator, and consultant with Nurturing Diversity Partners, LLC) and Lawrence Hoffman (GIS program manager at Groundwork Milwaukee).

The scholars note that there has been some research on the covenants themselves but not on “Black agency in challenging the ways in which their resistance has contributed to housing debates and civil rights activism.”

Their project “seeks to address this gap through mapping and rhetorical analysis of racial housing covenants and resistance to them in Milwaukee County” with a digital humanities approach that will bring together “GIS-based data visualization, archival and citizen research, and community engagement to construct an interactive, digital map of all racial covenants recorded in Milwaukee County between the years of 1910 and 1960 and challenges to them until the passage of the Open Housing Act of 1968.”

The team will present their results at the Fromkin Memorial Lecture in fall 2021.

Members of the 2021 Fromkin selection committee were Michael Doylen, Anne Dressel, Richard Popp, Margaret Noodin, Lynne Woehrle, and Max Yela.

Established by Morris Fromkin’s family, the lecture series, which is dedicated to social justice, is the longest running lecture series on campus.