history

Tom Parker / Wikimedia Commons

The internment of Americans with Japanese ancestry during World War II is part of this nation’s dark history of racial discrimination. These stories have often been hidden, both by the country that committed the injustices and the people who were forced to endure them.

Courtesy of Milwaukee County Historical Society

Parades are an essential part of the holiday season. Whether it’s the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or a local parade full of friends and neighbors, parades allow communities to celebrate through music, costumes and over the top floats.

For many years in Milwaukee, Schuster's Holiday Parade was the pinnacle of the season. From 1927 through 1961, the parade drew hundreds of thousands of people in Milwaukee’s neighborhoods and featured live reindeer at the head of Santa’s sleigh.

Jennie Augusta Brownscombe / Wikimedia Commons

Even though Thanksgiving will be different for many us because of the pandemic, we can still appreciate the history behind the meal — so long as it’s accurate. Culinary historian Kyle Cherek talks about some of the historical misconceptions we have about Thanksgiving, and why it’s important to set the record straight.

“[Thanksgiving] has become part of our national mythology but the early beginnings of it are not what children sing,” he says.

Courtesy of Milwaukee Magazine

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” sought to ease the pain of many Americans and put them back to work. His Works Progress Administration (WPA) employed millions of Americans to rebuild essential infrastructure like parks, roads, and housing.

But the vast majority of these jobs went to unskilled men and most opportunities for women required an education. A program here in Milwaukee worked to change that. The Milwaukee Handicrafts Project hired unskilled women to mend text books, build furniture and sew dolls, among other things.

Courtesy of Globe Pequot

History can sometimes feel like a dry topic. A world made up of men in white wigs and pressed coats making important and dispassionate decisions.

In reality, there have always been scandals that have shaped our collective history – including here in Wisconsin. Author Anna Lardinois writes about many of these defining moments in her new book, “Storied & Scandalous Wisconsin: A History of Mischief and Menace, Hero and Heartbreak”.

Courtesy of Dick Wagner's collection

It’s a common misconception that most LGBTQ history and activism occurred on the east and west coasts. But Wisconsin has actually been a national leader with its pioneering set of legislative victories.

Church History Library / The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Teacher, lawyer, editor, prophet, pirate, state legislator, historian, and "King of Earth and Heaven." These titles all belonged to one man: James Strang. 

In 1843, the young lawyer and avowed atheist Strang fled rural New York and reappeared in what is now Burlington, Wis. While in the Midwest he converted to a new religious movement called Mormonism. Following the murder of church founder Joesph Smith, Strang claimed that the prophet named him the successor.

Sara Tomilin

As we continue to look for things to do outdoors during the pandemic, one of Milwaukee’s first parks, Forest Home Cemetery, hopes to become a place for safe and socially distant leisure. The idea of going to a cemetery for recreation may seem odd, but in its peak popularity, Forest Home attracted thousands of visitors a day to picnic or walk around the gardens, fountains, and monuments.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which grants women the right to vote in the United States. Images of older, white women in victorian dress marching in the streets may come to mind, but there were many more women involved in securing the right to vote.

Courtesy of the H.H. Bennett Studio and Museum

What comes to mind when you think of the Wisconsin Dells? Among the water parks and the pancakes at the Paul Bunyan restaurant, you may think of the Dells’ unique landscape with narrow gorges defined by steep, sandstone bluffs.

Before the Dells became a tourist destination, it was known as Kilbourn City. But H.H. Bennett opened a photography studio there in 1865, and soon his landscape photography of the area helped make it into a top tourist destination.

Netflix

June is Pride month in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village, New York. The riots against police brutality and oppression were largely led by LGBTQ people of color. One of those leaders was Marsha P. Johnson, a gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen.

>> Stonewall: The Hidden History Of Gay Rights

Courtesy of Gothic Milwaukee

As businesses continue to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, there are still concerns about how to do it safely. For most places, that means limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time, spacing out tables, and taping down socially distant spots to stand in line. But that can be a bit tricky when your business model depends on going in and out of other businesses, surrounded by a crowd of people. 

Austin Public Library / Public domain

For many Americans, when they mention Independence Day, they’re talking about July 4, which commemorates the Declaration of Independence. But for African Americans, a different date signifies independence: June 19, 1865.

The date has been referred to as Freedom Day, Black Independence Day, or most commonly, Juneteenth. 

Wisconsin is one of at least 40 states that observe Juneteenth Day. Milwaukee was one of the first cities in the north to celebrate it; there's been an annual festival for over 40 years.

Courtesy of Milwaukee Journal

The recent protests in Milwaukee have drawn a lot of comparisons with the Civil Rights protests in the 1960s. Most notably, activists marched for 200 consecutive nights from 1967 to 1968 to protest the city’s fair housing standards.

Milwaukee County Historical Society

Throughout United States history, Milwaukee and Wisconsin have been politically significant. And Milwaukee has an interesting political past you may not know about: socialists ran the city for nearly half of the 20th century. One of the most notable was Mayor Daniel Hoan, who served for a consecutive 24 years — the longest socialist administration in U.S. history.

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