A yearlong project that gives worldwide audiences access to UWM’s historical archive documenting the March on Milwaukee and the city’s civil rights struggle kicks off Sept. 16 at the Milwaukee Public Library downtown.
The March on Milwaukee Civil Rights History Project is a new digital resource (www.marchonmilwaukee.uwm.edu) that features primary sources from the UWM Archives and the Wisconsin Historical Society, including text documents, film footage, oral histories and photographs.
The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Centennial Hall Loos Room. (Use the side entrance at 733 N. 8th St.) Included is a talk by Jack Dougherty of Trinity College, author of “More Than One Struggle: The Evolution of Black School Reform in Milwaukee.” He will explore how the new archive and other digital resources can help educators, students and the general public better understand the city’s rich Civil Rights history. The launch will also feature remarks by local civil rights activists Margaret Rozga and Vel Phillips.
The digital collection includes the selected papers of individuals representing a variety of positions on civil rights issues, photographs, unedited footage from the WTMJ-TV news film archives, and oral history interviews of individuals who participated in the movement. It also includes contextual materials, such as biographies of significant people, histories of organizations, timelines and maps.
“We really hope that area high schools and middle schools will use the archive in their curricula,” says Jasmine Alinder, UWM Associate Professor of History who headed the project. “The materials and the work came from UWM Archives at the UWM Libraries. But the Milwaukee County Library was the public partner, expanding awareness of the project.”
There is recently a trend, says Alinder, in taking the discussion of the Civil Rights era beyond the perspective of the experience in the South. She adds that the Library of Congress is interested in including material from the March on Milwaukee archive in its own digital collection of oral histories of the Civil Rights era, which is currently under construction. Funding was provided by a grant from the Cultures and Communities Program. The event is free and street parking around the Milwaukee County Library downtown is free after 6 p.m.