Congress of Racial Equality. Milwaukee Chapter: Records, 1963-1964


The Milwaukee chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) protested in 1963-1964 against the degenerating quality of education in Milwaukee's Inner Core schools, at which most of the students were black. Milwaukee CORE accused the city's Board of School Directors, who had inaugurated a program of busing students out of the ghetto schools, of doing little to end the de facto segregation of the public school system. This segregation, Milwaukee CORE maintained, resulted in such a deterioration of curricula in ghetto schools that ghetto students were receiving both inadequate counselling and college preparatory courses; these students were the victims of cultural deprivation. Richard McLeod, Secretary of Milwaukee CORE and Chairman of its Education Committee, led the non-violent action to end this de facto segregation in the city's public schools. The action taken included presentations before the Board and its Special Committee on Equal Opportunity; picketings and marches; and a Freedom Day. On Freedom Day, held on May 18, 1964, all black students were to boycott their public school classes and to attend special Freedom Schools, whose curricula were designed to make the civil rights movement relevant to these ghetto students.

This discussion of the history of Milwaukee CORE has necessarily focused on this one aspect of the chapter's activities, since inadequate source material prevented a more comprehensive treatment.