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Attendees Get Views Of Past, Future At Celebration Of Milwaukee’s Open Housing Marches

50th Anniversary Of Historic Marches Observed At Milwaukee City Hall

Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

The 50th anniversary of open housing marches in Milwaukee is bringing a look at the past, and hoping to energize the future.

Two-hundred consecutive nights of marches in Milwaukee beginning in August 1967 helped prompt federal and local fair housing laws.

Prentice McKinney was one of the organizers of the largely-African-American demonstrations and he told a celebration in Milwaukee on Monday night that he was part of a fight that was righteous.

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“If my brothers could serve in the (U.S.) Army and die for this country, then why couldn’t they come back and live anywhere in this city?” McKinney asked, to the cheers of about 200 people gathered at Milwaukee City Hall.

Leaders of a local citizens panel said that they hope Monday night’s event will kick off what they call “200 Nights of Freedom.”

Kantara Souffrant, of the March on Milwaukee Coordinating Committee, said the next six months are about building the city that people need.

“Clean water is something we definitely need to take care of in Milwaukee, and also the environment! If we’re not taking care of Mother Earth, how do we expect it to be here years from now?” Souffrant said.

Souffrant also said fair housing and diversity in schools are concerns. She said the “200 Nights of Freedom” will include public events, digital dialogues and policy initiatives.

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