Black History Month

Candlewick, Brown Books for Young Readers, Little Bee Books

Black history in the United States is often focused on the incredible tragedy and pain Black Americans have faced since the beginning of the nation’s history. While that history can’t be ignored, the success stories across Black history are rarely taught and often forgotten.

Hermione Bell-Henderson is the coordinator of business, technology and periodicals at the Milwaukee Public Library. For this year’s Black History Month, she put together a list of children's books aimed at teaching the stories of successful and influential Black Americans.

Courtesy of Big Beach / Peacock

For one week in 1968, late night host Johnny Carson made the historic decision to give up his job on The Tonight Show and allow actor and activist Harry Belafonte to take over.

At the time the country was facing historic protests over racial justice, continued involvement in the Vietnam War and a contentious election that eventually saw Richard Nixon win the White House.

SARA TOMILIN / FOREST HOME CEMETERY

On Sep. 6, 1861, George Marshall Clark was lynched on the northwest corner of Buffalo and Water Streets in Milwaukee — becoming the only Black victim of lynching in the city. Efforts are underway today to put a headstone on his unmarked grave.

Clark was only 22-years-old when he was killed. He was studying to be a barber under his father who owned a shop on Wisconsin Ave. 

Courtesy of Wardlaw Productions

Milwaukee is known for a lot of things but for Black residents, it’s mostly staggering, negative statistics.

From the largest achievement gap between white and Black students, to incarceration and poverty rates, and of course the city’s segregation — simply living in Milwaukee presents significant challenges for Black people. 

antgor / stock.adobe.com

We all know that culturally, there are different ways of communicating. When it comes to Black people, since slavery there has been a reliance on a head nod to communicate safety. To some, it may look like a simple gesture but for Black men especially, it can be a way of saying: “I see you and all is well.”

WUWM's LaToya Dennis organized a roundtable conversation with Anthony Courtney, Andre Ellis, Trevis Hardman and Kwabena Antoine Nixon to talk about the head nod.

March on Milwaukee Digital Collection / Archives Department / UWM Libraries

In honor of Black History Month, WUWM is highlighting some of the significant moments in Milwaukee's Black history. That includes the fair housing marches that brought together Alderwoman Vel Phillips, the NAACP Youth Council Commandos and Father James Groppi. Young people and adults gathered for more than 200 consecutive nights of marching to end housing discrimination.

Courtesy of the Milwaukee County Historical Society.

In honor of Black History Month, we’re highlighting Black history in Milwaukee and today, we look at the story of Joshua Glover, a Black man who escaped slavery in St. Louis to freedom in Racine.

His journey was significant nationally, as some northern states refused to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act.

At the edge of Milwaukee’s Cathedral Square Park, near the intersection of Jackson Street & Kilbourn Avenue, stands a marker dedicated to the rescue of Joshua Glover.

Courtesy of Stephen Hull

  

21-year-old Stephen Hull of Racine picked up the guitar seven years ago and taught himself how to play the blues.

He started the Stephen Hull Experience in 2018 and has been playing gigs in southeastern Wisconsin and the Chicago-area.

His band was a finalist in the 2021 Interstate Music Competition — one of seven out of a couple hundred. The band submitted three songs in a video audition and walked away with silver just this past month.

Terrance Sims

Terrance Sims has been teaching at the MPS school Milwaukee College Prep for about six years. Each February for the last four years, he's been using photography to actively engage and celebrate Black History Month with his students.

If you scroll through Sims' Instagram, you can find photos he's taken, recreating images of influential black figures. They might be from the civil rights era, academia or the entertainment industry.

The Story Of The First Black-Owned Home In Wauwatosa

Feb 24, 2020
Gerald Williamson

All Zeddie Hyler wanted to do in 1955 was build a home in Wauwatosa, Wis. But that wasn’t easy for a black man to do at the time. 

Hyler had to overcome many obstacles — like angry neighbors concerned about property values, and vandals. He even had to get a white friend to buy the property for him before he could even begin to build. Once the building began that’s when the vandals and arsonists hit.     

But his persistence paid off: Hyler became the first black man to build a home in Wauwatosa. When he died in 2004 he left the home to his nephew, Gerald Williamson.