Play on Fair Housing Marches of 1967

Written by admin   // September 19, 2012   // Comments Off

The first time live theatre will be performed at the majestic Basilica of St. Josaphat

The play, The March to Kosciuszko, will be performed on Saturday, November 3, 8pm at the Basilica of St. Josaphat, 2333 S. 6th St. (the corner of 6th and Lincoln). The play is sponsored by Urban Anthropology Inc. and is based on oral histories of the old Bronzeville and Polonia communities and the residents’ memories of the Civil Rights Movement in Milwaukee.

During the turbulent year of 1967, two fictionalized families struggle with an appropriate response to the upcoming fair housing march to Milwaukee’s Kosciuszko Park. A southside family wants to hold on to their Polish neighborhood that has recently lost housing as a result of freeway construction, but sees race becoming the operative theme in the opposition. On the north side, a Black family that has also lost housing during freeway construction, questions whether they should risk participation in the potentially violent march. The events are narrated by General Thaddeus Kosciuszko whose monument symbolizes the Polish presence on the south side. As he speaks, the audience learns the historic Kosciuszko-not the one both sides conceptualize.

The play challenges many commonly held ideas about race, culture, and neighborhood. Original newsreels of the march to Kosciuszko Park are included.

At the close of the performance, two guests will lead a discussion of the time of the housing marches. African American historian, Reuben Harpole, will discuss the now extinct community of Bronzeville, and how its razing resulted in a housing shortage for Milwaukee Blacks. The widow of James Groppi, Dr. Margaret Rozga Groppi, will discuss the actual marches.

Tickets can be purchased at $25 at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/271935> or seats can be reserved at urban-anthropology.org/FairHousingPlay.html>Audience discretion is advised, as the play uses ethnic and racial epithets.


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