Against the Wind: African Americans and the Schools in Milwaukee, 1963-2002

By Bill Dahlk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
THE CRUSADE ENGAGES AN
ICEBERG, 1963–66

People who are really educated know the value of being a welladjusted human being. To do that, you must have mutual contact and mutual respect with other people. And you don’t get that when you segregate yourself, either by choice or by someone else’s doing.

—Attorney Lloyd Barbee1

That white iceberg on Vliet Street.

—Attorney Lloyd Barbee’s description of the
Milwaukee Public School authorities2


THE NATURE OF THE CRUSADER

In September 1962, attorney Lloyd Barbee moved from Madison to Milwaukee. It was geographically a relocation of just ninety miles, but this shift led to events that significantly changed the course of Milwaukee history. Barbee was a knight leading a crusade that stirred black and white Milwaukee. There might have been a local school integration movement without Barbee, but it would not have started as early, it would not have been as fervently committed to large-scale desegregation, and it most likely would not have come to fruition in the form of court-ordered desegregation. Barbee initiated the school integration movement in Milwaukee and he, more than anyone else, carried it through to January 1976 (when Federal Judge John Reynolds declared MPS unconstitutionally segregated). He was relatively alone in July 1963 when he began the crusade and “[a]t the end I was the only one left,” recalled Barbee, referring to the fact that nearly all the other lawyers and many of his

1 MJS February 6, 2000.

2 MC September 7, 1974.

-54-

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