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The Wauwatosa Historical Society is hosting an exhibit through July 23 that explores a piece of Milwaukee history.

The event is taking place at the Little Red Store, 7720 Harwood Ave., and is titled “Crossing the Line.” It takes a look back at Milwaukee’s open housing marches that took place 50 years ago.

The first weekend of the exhibit saw more than 200 people viewing the free display during the July 7 weekend. The displays were prepared by the Wisconsin Historical Society but the exhibit is being hosted by the Wauwatosa Historical Society.

At a reception kicking off the exhibit Thursday, July 6, Peggy Rozga, author and widow of civil rights activist James Groppi spoke to attendees. Rozga wrote a book about the marches titled “200 Nights and One Day.”

The Tosa Historical Society said that for 200 consecutive days, beginning Aug. 28, 1967, the Milwaukee NAACP Youth Council and its advisor, Father James Groppi, joined other civil rights activists in a series of marches across Milwaukee’s 16th Street viaduct.

The marches were demanding that Milwaukee’s common council adopt an ordinance prohibiting landlords from discriminating based on race. Wauwatosa’s common council adopted its own open housing ordinance in 1968.

“We’re pleased to host this exhibit on the anniversary of a historic movement that also had a significant impact in Wauwatosa,” Natalie Wysong, Wauwatosa Historical Society executive director said. "This display is a good opportunity to inform younger generations." 

For the next two weeks the exhibit is open 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and 12:30 to 2 p.m. Sundays.

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