State-planned attempts at urban renewal contributed to the destruction of Bronzeville, a historically African-American community in Milwaukee.
In the mid-20th century, the City of Milwaukee demolished more than 8,000 homes in the neighborhood to make way for redevelopment and the construction of the North-South (Interstate 43) and Park East freeways in the area. These actions resulted in the displacement of large numbers of residents to other parts of Milwaukee.
African-American residents of Bronzeville also experienced segregation and marginalization, which some historians have claimed were causes of the Milwaukee civil disorder of 1967 that damaged the neighborhood physically and socially.
Government officials have since criticized the acts of urban renewal, with former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist in 1998 calling them “urban destruction.” In the 21st century, there have been attempts to revitalize the area in terms of its businesses and culture.
This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
City of Milwaukee History
Encyclopedia of Milwaukee Bronzeville
Encyclopedia of Milwaukee Civil disorder of 1967