Date of Award

May 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Robert S. Smith

Committee Members

Rachel I. Buff, Lex Renda


Civil Rights Movement, Demographics, Financial, Fiscal, Milwaukee, Quantitative


The work presented in this thesis argues for a new schema with which to approach the civil rights literature. Arguments for the necessity of this new approach utilize Milwaukee as a case study, analyzing the texts considered canonical to the city and offering a critique that will begin to break away from a lionized individual in favor of an egalitarian approach to history, specifically through the use of non-traditional methods such as quantitative analysis. Perhaps most important to the literature, this thesis addresses a fundamental, long-ignored aspect of the Civil Rights Movement by analyzing fiscal realities that face a grassroots organization agitating for school desegregation, the Milwaukee United School Integration Committee (MUSIC).

Through quantitative analysis, the simple realities of donors, donations, and monetary outflow will be brought to the forefront of discussion. This data will also work to demasculinize and democratize a narrative largely composed of worshipped individuals by examining the demographic makeup of donors and volunteers in MUSIC. The information presented here will be vital to those wishing to articulate the Milwaukee movement as a unique presence in the field of civil rights literature as well as its place within the larger historiography. It will also provide the framework for a new way of understanding the rapidly growing volume of literature discussing the black freedom struggle.