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

By Bill Dahlk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
FROM WASHINGTON HIGH
SCHOOL TO
CLIFFORD MCKISSICK
COMMUNITY SCHOOL:
A SELF-DETERMINIST TALE

I’m 17, but I feel like 100. I’ve lived in New York and New Jersey
and Milwaukee. My mother had me march on picket lines; I’ve
cried and I’ve prayed. Now I’m teaching black propaganda to
make black people proud that they’re black
…. I would not tell
blacks to change the government. I don’t think they can. We’ll just
build our own
.

—Marcia Waiss, student activist and participant at the McKissick school1


FATHER BENEFEE, TEJUMOLA OLOGBONI, AND
THE PANTHER’S DEN

Milwaukee’s 1969–74 experiment with an Afrocentric school was brief and on a small-scale but quite an alternative compared to MPS’ mainstream education. The developments that led to the Panther’s Den and Clifford McKissick Community School illuminated trends within the community and MPS, providing another window into the story of educational self-determinism.

The tale of the Clifford McKissick Community School and its predecessor, the Panther’s Den, is foremost the story of the convergence of a charismatic black Episcopal priest from Oklahoma via Tennessee, a Pan-Africanist from South Carolina via New Jersey, and national-

1 MJ November 24, 1969.

-187-

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