A Research Book by Ivory Abena Black & The Publisher's Group-Milwaukee

Copyright 2006, ISBN 09771065-0-0

Perseverance 2022
Old Bronzeville Style


Old Streets of Milwaukee is teaming up with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to build an interactive virtual platform to enrich and expand the reach of a new arts-focused historic walking tour of Old Milwaukee Bronzeville during Milwaukee's Bronzeville Week in August 2022.

More to come!


Welcome To

The Old Streets of Milwaukee Bronzeville

Milwaukee Bronzeville Historical Society preserves the history  and culture of the Great Migration of African Americans to Milwaukee.

We are launching a historical space at the Bronzeville Collective ( in Milwaukee educating and preserving the artifacts, pictures, and oral histories of time gone by.

We are teaming up with local and state universities and the Smithsonian African American Museum to preserve this rich history. This website begins a journey of this hidden history of Milwaukee. We are looking forward to an online interactive history course, oral histories, written research, and an archaeological exploration of the area and a permanent exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Welcome to the Streets of Old Milwaukee Bronzeville!


More to come!

Greetings, my name is Patricia Diggs, a  Milwaukee native and Publisher of "Bronzeville A Milwaukee Lifestyle,"
a three year research project exploring the history of African Americans in Milwaukee from 1900-1960.
With the help of Author and Cultural Anthropologist, Ivory Abena Black, the research  project received a City Hall Proclamation in 2006 and received recognition at the Wisconsin Book Fair.
The new 2020 book
can be purchased at the
Bronzeville Collective website

P. Diggs.jpg

The Great Migration

The largest migration of African Americans into Milwaukee took place between 1900 and 1935. During this time African Americans poured -sounds of Ella Fitzgerald- into the city to be employed, primarily in domestic and personal service positions. (click for more)


Despite the lack of White labor only 12 of more than 2000 manufacturing plants hired African American workers.

(click for more)

City Within A City

The phrase "Bronzeville," was a generic term given to an area in a city in which the majority -sounds of Louis Armstrong- was populated by African Americans and people of African descent.

(click for more)


Milwaukee's Bronzeville was a community devoted to close nuclear and extended families. Home to lower, middle and upper classes, African Americans offered guidance to all who lived there  furthered the community progress and relationships. 

(click for more)


Wilbur and Ardie (Clark) Halyard were a truly vital resource for African Americans in Milwaukee. In 1923  residing in Beloit, Wisconsin, the Halyards were shocked by the deplorable housing available to African Americans in Milwaukee.

(click for more)


Community Leadership

As African Americans struggled to find a foothold in the work place, they created strong institution that cultivated a sense if solidarity. The oldest and strongest of these is the Black church.

(click for more)

Disruption & Urban Renewal

Lower Walnut Street was so special because it was 

-sounds of Duke Ellington-  more than just a busy shop lined Street, it was actually the reason why Bronzeville was able to thrive.

(click for more)


Our fiscal sponsor, Arts Wisconsin (501 C3) is Wisconsin's community cultural development organization, activating a vibrant creative economy and access to creative opportunities. Arts Wisconsin work is about keeping Wisconsin creative community strong and helping everyone, everywhere in Wisconsin to have the opportunity to experience the arts.



Photos Courtesy of Irene Goggins

Milwaukee Courier Black Heritage

Negro Directory 1956