“We’re going to get fair housing not only for the city of Milwaukee but we’re going to get it on the national scene. It’s going to be this consistent type of courageous protest that’s going to bring about fair housing legislation. Frederick Douglass talked about this a hundred years ago. He said no one ever got their rights given to them on a platter. You’ve got to fight for it, you’ve got to struggle for it, and that’s what we’re doing.” – Father James E. Groppi

A compilation of video, originally compiled by Jasmine Alinder and Cris Siqueira, surrounding the historic 1967-1968 Open Housing Campaign in Milwaukee. The footage features Milwaukee Alderwoman Vel Phillips, Martin Luther King Jr., and Father James E. Groppi.

“This house next door, the police nearly burned down her house last night. She just lost her son in Vietnam five months ago. The house is going to be torn down. She has no place to go. We had a marine come here, the guys spent six months in Vietnam. No one will rent to him and his wife because they are black people.” – Father James E. Groppi

“We are very concerned about the attitude and the conduct of the mayor of the City of Milwaukee. Everyone built him up as such a great hero when there was a civil disturbance on 3rd Street, because he called the National Guard and immediately put the entire city under a curfew. For heaven’s sake, we have a right to exercise our constitutional right of free speech. This is our constitutional right, and we have a right to get adequate and decent protection. We’ve had a white riot for the last two nights, and all the Mayor did was call for a voluntary curfew. That is a double standard.” – Father James E. Groppi

Lee Matz

Original footage courtesy of the UW-Milwaukee Archives and WTMJ-TV