Art, history, commerce, community and culture rooted in a rich urban tradition comes together starting Saturday, August 17 as the inaugural Bronzeville Week kicks off in Milwaukee , hosted by Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs.
Approved by the Common Council earlier this summer, Bronzeville Week (August 17 – 24, 2013) was formally announced during a news conference on Thursday, August 15 at 11 a.m. indoors at King Commons II Gallery/ Studio, 2775 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. Alderwoman Coggs was joined by Rocky Marcoux, Commissioner, Department of City Development, Ralph Hollmon, Milwaukee Urban League (Bronzeville Advisory Committee Chair), Welford Sanders, executive director of the Martin Luther King Drive Economic Development Corp., Jasmine Johnson, NAACP Young Adult Committee (Friends of Bronzeville), Christopher McIntyre, The Oasis Project (Bronzeville Week – Gallery Night) and Tracey Dent, Peace Alliance for Change.
Lucky Diop, a Senegalese musician and artist, also performed at Thursday’s event.
“The Milwaukee Bronzeville of the early to mid 1900s was a vibrant and bustling hub of culture, arts and entertainment, and of course, commerce,” Alderwoman Coggs said. “Bronzeville Week brings that flavor and energy back, but with activities and events that emphasize a hopeful future for the district that includes a mix of business development, contemporary art, music and culture, shops and destinations for visitors and tourists.”
Bounded by Garfield Avenue to Center Street , Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive to 7th Street, the Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District is wholly located in the 6th Aldermanic District.
Alderwoman Coggs said Bronzeville Week features an array of activities including Gallery Day and Night featuring some of the artists featured in the “30 Americans” exhibit, a panel discussion on the history of Bronzeville, MKE Business Now – Bronzeville Business Resource Seminar, featured film and poetry events, Health Screenings, Empowerment Sunday – clean-up and beautification activities, guided trolley tours of Bronzeville, a 50th anniversary celebration of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and much more.
The Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District is a City of Milwaukee redevelopment initiative inspired by Milwaukee ’s original Bronzeville, and it is striving to revitalize the area of Milwaukee where African American culture has been a mainstay. The Bronzeville Redevelopment Plan seeks to create economic development in a predominantly African- American neighborhood in a way that recaptures the enthusiasm and attractiveness of the original Bronzeville District.
The term “Bronzeville” was typically given to an area of a city inhabited by African Americans in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and was described as “a reliable society in which people assisted each other in child rearing, job placement, tutoring, money lending, repair services, medical assistance and social interactions.”
The primary African American economic and social hub of its time, Bronzeville brought all ethnicities together to celebrate African-American culture.