Black History & Culture
Native American records show that African Americans were living in Milwaukee as early as the 1700s, and the city saw a surge of Black residents moving north for manufacturing jobs during the 1940s-1960s. The contributions that Black people have made to business, culture, and social justice in Milwaukee cannot be understated, and today the fight to create a better, more equitable Milwaukee continues. With cultural institutions to visit, Black-owned businesses to support and events to connect with the community at, use this page as your source for experiences that highlight Black history, culture, and impact on our city and world.
Dive deeper into the historic and creative contributions of African Americans in Milwaukee and Wisconsin at these cultural institutions.
America's Black Holocaust Museum
Opening to the public later this year, this history and memorial museum has a robust virtual presence and a variety of online galleries and events. Exhibits focus on both the history of the Black Holocaust in America and drawing redemptive lessons from the tragedies of the past.
Wisconsin Black Historical Society & Museum
The mission of Wisconsin Black Historical Society (WBHS/M) is to document and preserve the historical heritage of people of African descent in Wisconsin. The historical society is not just a wonderful place to learn about Black history, but also a great resource for families hoping to do genealogical research.
Founded by Milwaukee native and Academy Award winner John Ridley, this hub for film and creativity offers extensive virtual programming while we wait for in-person programming to resume.
Paramount Records Trail
Did you know some of the most important recordings in blues history were made in nearby Grafton? The Paramount Records studio opened at Wisconsin Chair Company in Grafton in 1922 - today, you can take a self-guided walking tour of blues history at Paramount Plaza in Grafton.
Dr. James Cameron Pamphlet Collection
The Milwaukee Public Library's special collections include 38 self-published pamphlets by civil rights activist Dr. James Cameron (the founder of America's Black Holocaust Museum). These pamphlets can be viewed digitally.
Milwaukee Art Museum - Richard and Erna Flagg Collection of Haitian Art
The Milwaukee Art Museum holds the largest collection of Haitian art outside of Haiti. The Richard and Erna Flagg Collection of Haitian Art focuses on family, community and religion. The collection can be seen among other notable works of art in the museum's open hours.
As we celebrate Black History Month, it is important to recognize the many living legends throughout the Greater Milwaukee area who are making a meaningful impact on our community.
Support Black-Owned Businesses
Explore Where Unique Unites
Discover the many ways our different cultures, heritages and experiences, make Milwaukee such a Great Place on a Great Lake.