By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 21, 2024 at 9:01 AM

March On, Milwaukee; America's Black Holocaust Museum; Marquette University’s Center for Urban Research, Teaching, and Outreach; and the Wisconsin Historical Society will preview nine new historical markers that commemorate the 1967-68 Fair Housing Movement in Milwaukee this week.

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The partner groups will host a preview event for the markers on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society & Museum, 2620 W. Center St.

NAACP Youth Council teenagers, along with advisor Rev. James Groppi, marched for 200 consecutive nights in Milwaukee, drawing hostile opposition, in a show of support for open housing legislation.

You can read a series of Neighborhood News Service articles and see photographs about the marches, which were compiled into a free ebook called, “The Long March to Freedom,” here.

Now, March On, Milwaukee – which includes former NAACP Youth Council members and Commandos, community organizers, historians and others – aims to re-energize the spirit of activism that sparked the marches, as well as to remember the efforts of the marchers.


The new markers – funded by a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation – will share some of the stories of this landmark moment in Civil Rights history in Milwaukee.

The first plaque to be installed was at the site of St. Boniface Catholic Church, which was a locus of the local Civil Rights movement, offering gathering space and resources like food, medical attention, lodging and transportation for marchers, on 11th and Clarke Street, near North Division High School.

The church was demolished in 1975.

Markers are scheduled to be installed later this year at the sites of the 5th Street Freedom House, the 15th Street Freedom House and the 16th Street Viaduct.

Five more markers are currently in the planning stage.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.