The neighborhood called Sherman Park had its beginning in 1965 when members of St. Catherine’s Social Concern Committee supported the Groppi movement for open housing. In 1969 they took a position opposing the Park West Freeway that removed a swath of houses in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

The low cost, well built homes located on tree lined streets, attracted families of every hue wishing to live in a diverse neighborhood. In early autumn of 1970 a handful of residents formed the Sherman Park Community Association (SPCA), covering an area bounded by 35th to 60th Street, North Avenue to Keefe.

Over the next ten years SPCA got the Park West Freeway demapped, won a racial steering lawsuit against five local real estate companies and played a role in the development of MPS’s magnet schools for integration. In 1970 the first Sherman Park Kickers soccer leagues were formed. Soccer was a great vehicle for bonding neighborhood families whose kids went to different schools. Parents and coaches balanced rosters to integrate teams by race, gender, economics and skill.

Sherman Park had an active social life. Block clubs flourished, jazz concerts brought the community together in the park, and the Interlude was the community pub. Residents worked on making Sherman Park a better place to live by improving the schools, repairing homes, and advocating for diversity.

Sherman Park:A Legacy of Diversity in Milwaukee

by Paul Geenen

AuthorHistory PressAmazonBoswell

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