Milwaukee, WI


Milwaukee Ghetto Story: Black Community

African-Americans have been in Wisconsin since the beginning of time, but starting in the 1940s and into the 1960s, the city gave blacks opportunities in the workforce, which led to them relocating to Milwaukee from the southern states and from nearby Chicago.

The Milwaukee black population’s main community was called Bronzeville, between State and North streets and 3rd and 12th streets, not before living in the area known as Harambee.

This community was one of the most successful black areas in the country, until the 1960s when the city placed the highway directly in the middle of Bronzeville, destroying most of the neighborhood.milwauke7

In the 1970s, more and more people from Chicago moved to Milwaukee to escape problems in their city, which helped Milwaukee’s black population to grow and expand into different neighborhoods, with people finally being able to live across Capitol Drive, which most blacks were not able to in the previous years.

The city has had a history of problems within the Milwaukee ghetto, like being one of the last cities to desegregate its school district in the late 1970s, as well its neighborhoods during the late 1960s.

milwaukee ghetto

In the 80s, and after the schools were integrated that took people out of their environment into different areas of Milwaukee, gangs had entered the city. What started out as hip-hop groups and cliques that linked up for protection, changed in the late 80s and 90s with more opportunities in the streets along with people from Chicago creating affiliations.

While Milwaukee has some of the richest and wealthiest suburbs in the country, but its inner city and urban areas of the Milwaukee ghetto has the highest poverty rate in the state, 23% that effects the majority of the residents that live south Capitol and east of N 35th Street.


Milwaukee Ghetto Story: Hispanic Community

The Milwaukee ghetto of the Latino community is located in the near South Side area, between West National and West Morgan Avenues in Wisconsin’s biggest ethnic community, outside of all-white and all-black neighborhoods.

Many of the communities were once home to European immigrants, until the early and mid-1900s, when the South Side became predominantly Hispanic, with most being of Mexican or Puerto Rican descent.

milwaukee hispanic population

SouthLawn Projects

Their community began in an area known as Walkers Point during the 1920s with Mexican immigrants.

The population did not expand until laws that limited employment for European immigrants, the need for workers during strikes, and the later decline in industry jobs, allowed more opportunities for the Hispanic community and eventually expanded the community throughout the South Side.

What began with people temporarily living in the city to work and earn money for the families in their native country changed and went to people creating a community, first with Mexican families and later with Puerto Rican families starting in the 1940s.


*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

History Resources of Milwaukee:

Gurda, John. “The Latin community on Milwaukee’s near South Side”. Milwaukee Urban Observatory, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 1976.

Hagedorn, John. “Homeboys, Dope Fiends, Legits, and New Jacks”. 1994.

Black History in Wisconsin by Wisconsin Historical Society:,Ro:0,N:4294963828-4294963805&dsNavOnly=N:1165&dsRecordDetails=R:CS502&dsDimension