Black History Month / Presenting Our Past

A Celebration of Milwaukee’s African-American Community: A Photographic Collection

Milwaukee County Historical Society continues its celebration of Black History Month by sharing photos from our archives. Please join us at our location to learn more about the African-American community in Milwaukee County.

How would you go about defining history? Is it big important names attached to long ago events that students are encouraged to memorize? Or is it something a bit more personal? Are the pages of history books reserved for powerful men and women whose impact on society can still be felt? Or can those pages be shared by those whose names will only be remembered by family and friends?

Here at the Historical Society and MKE Memoirs, we don’t just record and retell the same old stories about three founders who didn’t get along, or tales of devastating fires that changed entire landscapes and economies. We are deeply and intensely interested in those infinitesimal irrelevancies that many cast aside. Because only after you begin to understand those small stories, does the larger picture come into view. When you take a closer look, you’ll find a tale of generations of struggles, triumphs, and celebrations – little events that, when added up, can reveal some of history’s most compelling themes. When all these stories are documented, collated, stacked and bound together, they add up to nothing less than the tale of our great cities. Our ancestors’ stories are Milwaukee County’s stories and thus, in many ways, our story is Milwaukee’s story.

So, in our third and final post celebrating Black History Month, we decided to shake things up a bit and take a break from the usual blog posts about major historical events that have occurred within the County’s boundaries. Instead, this week, we are focusing on history that hits a little closer to home. None of the images or events below originate any earlier than 1970s. You’ll find no national news headlines, no famous names that every child in elementary school had to memorize, and nothing about founding fathers or great fires. These are simply images from our African-American Photographic Collection. Aside from including the date and the original caption as printed in The Milwaukee Journal, we present these images to you entirely without comment. These are photos of individuals and families and friends and neighbors enjoying the little gifts Milwaukee has to offer – the minutiae that, when added together, reveal everything one could possible want to know about our cities. Above all, we hope you enjoy viewing these photos as much as we have.

 

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All photographs are owned by the Milwaukee County Historical Society. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material in this post or on this site without express and written permission from the Milwaukee County Historical Society is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Milwaukee County Historical Society and MKE Memoirs with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If you wish to order reproductions of any of the photos used in this post, please feel free to call the MCHS Research Library at (414) 273-7487.

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