St. Boniface Parish

During the 1960s, St. Boniface Catholic Church was a predominantly black parish located on North Eleventh Street within Milwaukee’s North Side, or what was then known as the “inner core.” In 1963, Father James Groppi was transferred from St. Veronica’s Parish, located on the South Side, to St. Boniface where he would serve as assistant pastor. After Father Groppi became advisor to the Milwaukee NAACP Youth Council, the parish became the unofficial headquarters of the group. During the open housing campaign, supporters from all over the country would gather at St. Boniface. It was a place where marchers and supporters could find food, transportation, lodging, and medical attention. Pre- and post-march meetings and rallies were oftentimes held at the church as well. In 1970, Father Groppi left St. Boniface and was replaced by Father Kenneth Stewart, the first black parish pastor in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. In 1975, all St. Boniface buildings- the church, school, and parish- were demolished to make way for the building of a new and improved North Division High School. The parish subsequently moved from North Eleventh Street to a remodeled storefront at the corner of North Teutonia Avenue and West Center Street. A large farewell Mass was held at the church shortly before it was razed. EM