Date of Award

May 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Robert S. Smith

Committee Members

Robert S, Smith, Joe Austin, Marc Levine


1960s, African Americans, Community Development, Harambee, Milwaukee, Urban Renewal


This thesis examines the impact of urban renewal on the development of Milwaukee's African American community, with a particular focus on the 1960s and 1970s. While urban renewal programs of various stripes were promoted as a means of stoking economic development, these programs had a particularly negative impact on African American communities throughout the United States in the post-World War II era. Urban renewal resulted in the wholesale destruction of black neighborhoods, wiping away important areas of residential, economic and cultural development.

This case study of developments regarding urban renewal and its relation to the African American community in Milwaukee will provide historians with a deeper and more complex understanding of the black experience regarding urban renewal programs and the role that black agency played in that process. It will provide a better understanding of the ways in which African American neighborhoods were shaped in the 1960s and 1970s and how this process helped integrate key figures into local political infrastructures through their involvement in urban renewal projects.