Wisconsin Black Historical Society & Museum
Backstory and Context
Wisconsin has a rich history of African American life and settlement. Many of the first African Americans that ventured into the state were slaves during the late 18th century. Later Wisconsin African Americans served in the Civil War after the Emancipation Proclamation allowed them to join the union. More than 200 African American troops fought alongside the victorious Union. African Americans likewise long contributed to the Wisconsin economy, political and educational systems, as well as everyday life and society.
The Wisconsin Black Historical Society keeps a museum with exhibits rich in history and culture from the African American way of life in the state of Wisconsin. It has a wealth of memorabilia and artifacts that depict an older way of life and culture in the state and region. The museum is housed in a former 1924-era movie theater, with reminders of a by-gone era even in its architecture. It is one of very few museums or sites in Wisconsin dedicated to preserving African American heritage and culture.
The museum's long-term exhibits narrow in on key themes that have had major influence on African Americans in Wisconsin, as well as across the country. Diverse exhibits include aspects of the African American labor, the NAACP Civil Rights tribute bus exhibit, and more. Visitors with an interest in civil rights or African American history will enjoy the chance to take a look back in time at Milwaukee's African American community over the centuries.