Milwaukee Black Historical Society Genealogy Classes

Beginning Genealogy Classes

Fee: $25.00 for members $45.00 for non-members

Saturday, June 9, 2012 Session 1:

  • Identifying your Goals
  • Get Organized and Cite your Sources
  • Writing your Family History
  • Using a Pedigree Chart and Family Group Sheet

Saturday, June 30, 2012 Session 2:

  • Selecting Record Types
  • Searching on the Computer and Reading Census Records

Saturday, July 28, 2012 Session 3:

  • Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands
  • Tracing Family History Back through Slavery

For more information contact the Black Historical Society at 414-327-7677

Black Doc Sues UCLA, Cites Racist Treatment

By Jenée Desmond-Harris for The Root

It’s no surprise that Dr. Christian Head’s account of being depicted as a gorilla sodomized by his white supervisor in a slideshow shown at a UCLA School of Medicine graduation “roast” has been the subject of national attention and outrage.

The African-American head-and-neck surgeon’s tale of over-the-top racism by the university went viral, thanks to a YouTube video chronicling the allegations and a petition calling on the UCLA Board of Regents to “end the racial discrimination and deplorable mistreatment” against Head.

But the worst part of the “gorilla slide,” as it’s described in an April 17 discrimination action filed on Head’s behalf against his supervisors and the Regents, is that, according to the 49-year-old doctor, it was merely one moment in a pattern of discrimination, harassment and humiliation by the UCLA School of Medicine that he says has lasted for years.

Read an interview with Dr. Head here.

Wasting Time Is New Divide in Digital Era

Drew Kelly for The New York Times

In the 1990s, the term “digital divide” emerged to describe technology’s haves and have-nots. It inspired many efforts to get the latest computing tools into the hands of all Americans, particularly low-income families. Those efforts have indeed shrunk the divide. But they have created an unintended side effect….

As access to devices has spread, children in poorer families are spending considerably more time than children from more well-off families using their television and gadgets to watch shows and videos, play games and connect on social networking sites, studies show.

Read the full article here.



Noose Hung in Front of Lockers of 3 Black Workers


Three African American employees at a Mercer County plant claim someone hung a noose in front of their lockers. Now they plan to take action.

Noose in front of lockers of African American workers

Noose in front of lockers of African American workers

The noose was attached to a shower stall in the locker room at the Siemens Turbomachinery plant in Trenton back in January. Since the incident, the workers have hired an attorney and say they plan to sue the company for racial discrimination and harassment.

Siemens sent a written statement to NBC10 regarding the incident:

“The placement of a noose in a Siemens facility is a deplorable, aggressive act. Siemens condemns such behavior in the strongest terms. When learning of this incident, the company promptly notified law enforcement and commenced an internal investigation by a corporate security team that includes members with 30+ years of experience with the FBI. The company is actively cooperating with law enforcement agencies.”

Remembering James Chaney, Voting Rights Hero and Martyr

From the African American Registry

James Chaney was born on this date in 1943 in Meridian, Mississippi.

During Freedom Summer in 1964, Chaney worked with an interracial team, including New Yorkers Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, to organize a community center in Meridian and to register African Americans for voting.

James Chaney, civil rights hero and martyr

James Chaney, civil rights hero and martyr

On June 21, 1964, with two Jewish associates, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman working with the CORE Mississippi Freedom Summer project, the three set out to investigate a church bombing in Longdale, MS, a potential site for a Freedom School teaching literacy and voter education. As the three of them were driving back to Meridian, police in Philadelphia, MS, detained them. Chaney was arrested for speeding and Schwerner and Goodman were arrested as suspects in the church bombing. No phone calls were allowed nor were any of them allowed to pay the fines.

The FBI recovered the bodies of the murdered men from an earthen dam on August 4.

Read more about Chaney and about what happened to his killers here and here.

Sharon La Cruise remembers forgotten female civil rights hero in ‘Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock’

by Olu Gittens in TheGrio

Journalist and filmmaker Sharon La Cruise has taken a seven-year journey to tell the story of Daisy Bates, the activist and former Arkansas NAACP head who helped organize the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The advocate for a group of students historically called the Little Rock Nine, Daisy Bates was glamorous, outspoken, divisive and at times mysterious….

Bates was an central part of organizing one of the most memorable events of the Civil Rights Movement, yet as a woman her name is largely forgotten in black history. The tale of Daisy Bates is an important one for all those interested in advancing the social perspectives of black women, while filling in the gaps left in our political memory.

Read an interview with the filmmaker here.

Making Schools Work

By David L. Kirp in the New York Times

AMID the  ceaseless and cacophonous debates about how to close the achievement gap, we’ve turned away from one tool that has been shown to work: school desegregation….

Black child in newly integrated school in 1978

Black child in newly integrated school in 1978

To the current reformers, integration is at best an irrelevance and at worst an excuse to shift attention away from shoddy teaching. But a spate of research says otherwise. The experience of an integrated education made all the difference in the lives of black children — and in the lives of their children as well.

These economists’ studies consistently conclude that African-American students who attended integrated schools fared better academically than those left behind in segregated schools. They were more likely to graduate from high school and attend and graduate from college; and, the longer they spent attending integrated schools, the better they did.

What’s more, the fear that white children would suffer, voiced by opponents of integration, proved groundless. Between 1970 and 1990, the black-white gap in educational attainment shrank — not because white youngsters did worse but because black youngsters did better…

If we’re serious about improving educational opportunities, we need to revisit the abandoned policy of school integration. Read the full article here.

Room4Debate: Are rising obesity costs the new second-hand smoke?

by Caryn Freeman of the

The growing obesity epidemic is impacting Americans in ways they may not yet be aware of. The costs associated with taking care of the transportation, health and safety of America’s consistently growing obese population are all being passed on to taxpayers. A new substructure to accommodate obese Americans in public places is yet another costly expense. Because these costs are not reported as much as the impact of obesity on health care, some Americans aren’t fully aware of the financial burden they are bearing.

Reuters reports that there are already costly overhauls taking place in hospitals and within the public transposition sector. “U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. In addition to those expenditures, it’s been revealed that, “cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.”

Some are comparing the startling cost of the obesity epidemic to costs associated with smoking related illnesses. It wasn’t until Americans became aware of the damage cigarette smoking had on one’s health and until the public and legislators became aware of the devastating impact of second hand smoke. Eventually, Congress passed legislation to restrict smoking in public facilities.

Health advocates are hoping that creating greater public awareness of the costs related to obesity will spark the same type of response.

How can Black America get healthier? What are your thoughts?

Vicissitudes: NOT Sculptural Homage to Victims of the Middle Passage

From the website of Jason DeCaire Taylor

Jason DeCaire Taylor, a British sculptor, creates beautiful and haunting life-size sculptures underwater in the oceans. These evolve to become reefs, many in places where the original reefs have suffered environmental degradation. His exhibits can be seen either by diving or glass-bottom boats, all over the world.

“Vicissitudes” is a large circle of figures shackled together and holding hands, off the coast of Grenada in the Caribbean.

Vicissitudes by Jason deCaire Taylor

Vicissitudes by Jason deCaire Taylor

It remembers the captive Africans who died on slave ships during the Middle Passage, the crossing from Africa to the Americas. About a third of captives died from the horrible conditions on board. Their bodies were thrown into the Atlantic. Others, particularly women with children, who were often allowed to move about unshackled on deck, threw themselves over. Many believed in reincarnation and hoped to escape slavery and be reborn to a life of freedom.

The paragraph above, posted here on 5/23/12, is erroneous. It perpetuates a myth circulating around the web. We apologize to our visitors and to the artist for our error – and thank the visitors who left comments on the exhibit bringing this to our attention. Please go to the Vicissitudes exhibit and read the artist’s statement describing this  work.

See the Vicissitudes exhibit here and

watch a lovely video overview of Taylor’s many works here.

The Museum’s Four Themes: Remembrance, Resistance, Redemption, and Reconciliation


In each Gallery of this museum you will find exhibits reflecting one or more of our Four Themes: Remembrance, Resistance, Redemption, and Reconciliation.


The "Conductor," Harriet Tubman (on left), with slaves she rescued, at a station on the Underground Railroad.

The “Conductor,” Harriet Tubman (on left), with slaves she rescued, at a station on the Underground Railroad.


In every Gallery we remember important historical events and people. Some of these are well-known, but most are not. The stories told in most of ABHM’s exhibits have been left out of our history books or been told incompletely. These are stories of:




Protesters attacked by police dogs in Birmingham AL during a civil rights demonstration.

Protesters attacked by police dogs in Birmingham AL during a civil rights demonstration.


People of African descent in this country have been targets of injustice for five hundred years, but they have not been simply victims. At ABHM we also remember the many ways that black people and freedom-loving white people have resisted injustice.




Arno Michaels, former skinhead neo-Nazi, now combats hate.

Arno Michaels, former skinhead neo-Nazi, now combats hate.


Redemption is the act of saving – or being saved – from sin, error, or evil. Sometimes one person redeems another, or many others. Sometimes people redeem themselves. We tell the stories of both kinds of redemption.





Speaking to the Senate and families of lynching victims on the occasion of the Senate apology for failing to outlaw lynching. Courtesy of the Cameron Family.

Speaking to the Senate and families of lynching victims on the occasion of the Senate apology for failing to outlaw lynching. Courtesy of the Cameron Family.


ABHM’s founder, Dr. James Cameron, said that people should “forgive but never forget” injustices perpetrated against them. He believed that hatred “poisons the hater from within.” He taught that accepting the truth about our past sets us free to build a better future. Cameron encouraged us to remember and to speak honestly and respectfully about our shared racial history. He believed this would lead to racial reconciliation and dreamed that Americans of all backgrounds would become “one single and sacred nationality.”