You cannot work at King Library for more than one week without hearing lovely stories about that epoch of tenderness at the wee-end of twentieth-century Milwaukee called Bronzeville.
You'll hear recollections from Bronzeville sons and daughters: scat at the Polk-A-Dot; 100-plus black-owned businesses within the geographic boundaries of Bronzeville, and all of the African American entrepeneurs making a good living; Walnut Street as the epicenter of intense friendships and a kinder world. According to community activist and historian Reuben Harpole, nationally-known artists would come to Bronzeville to "get down and boogie" in the thriving nightclub scene. Due to racial segregation in Milwaukee hotels, musicians would often stay in local homes, treated to the renowned Bronzeville hospitality.
Bordered by W. State St. and W. North Avenue from N. 4th to N. 7th , Bronzeville is gone--a casualty of urban renewal and the construction of I-43. There are two terrific books (both have prefaces by Mr. Harpole) on the subject: Bronzeville: A Milwaukee Lifestyle by Ivory Abena Black and Milwaukee's Bronzeville:1900-1950 by Paul Geenen. For other resources, check out our African American links on the MPL webpage.