Friday, Sept. 14, 2012

Fair Housing March of '67 in Dramatic Form

By Russ Bickerstaff
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I had not been at all familiar with Urban Anthropology Inc. prior to gutting the press release. Operating out of the Old South Side Settlement Museum (a residential-looking buiding on 707 West Lincoln,) the organization looks to make contributions to Milwaukee through applying anthropological skills. The group sponsors a number of resources and programs that help to tie together the vivid tapestry of life in Milwaukee. Sounds fascinating . . . 


The press release in question was announcing a play that UrbAn will be producing. In 1967, the civil rights movement was resonating throughout the United States. The play focusses on the stories of two fictionalized families dealing with displacement due to freeway construction: A Polish-American family on the South Side and an African American family on the North Side. Both families were trying to decide whether or not they should be a part of the upcoming fair housing march on Kosciuszko Park. . . a public demonstration which could quite possibly have turned violent. The events of the play are narrated by the character of General Thaddeus Kosciuszko--the man for whom the park was named after.


This sounds like a really complex product of Urban Anthropology . . . they are endeavoring to challenge traditionally held ideas about race and culture. 


Also--this is one of those rare opportunities for us non-Christians to have a valid excuse to visit  St. Josaphat's Basilica--that's where the play is being staged. I was there once before to see an MSO performance of Handel's Messiah. It's staggeringly beautiful in there . . . an impressive work of architecture from the turn of the last century that was built with bricks from an old, demolished Chicago federal building. UrbAn invites local residents to visit the Basilica in observance of a time when the structure was only a little over 65 years old. 


Urban Anthropology's production of The March to Kosciuszko will be performed November 3rd at 8pm at the Basilica of St. Josaphat. For ticket reservations, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/271935



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