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African American Civil Rights movement - Archives Dept.: Researching Civil Rights in the Archives Department

This guide provides information on using the Archives Department for your research on the local black civil rights movement. It outlines the strengths of our collections, recommends a few sources, and offers tips on effective searching.


Search the library catalog to locate archival and manuscript collections which pertain to civil rights in Milwaukee. In the box below, search by keyword/s. This search box is already limited to the Archives Department's holdings. Note that these results will include some books that are available in the Archives, but most of the results will describe archival or manuscript collections.

Here are three examples of simple keyword searches. Note that the boolean operator and is not necessary between keywords.

1. civil rights African Americans Milwaukee

2. African Americans Wisconsin

3. segregation

Find: in keywords

If your search doesn't produce relevant results, try again with different keywords, or contact us for help.

A general search hint: when reading any catalog record, follow the links found at "Subjects" to locate other material in the UWM Libraries on that same subject.

Watch an introductory video on conducting searches at Search for and locate materials at UWM Libraries' Archives.

Recommendations for Civil Rights Topics

In the Archives Dept., we have a significant amount of primary sources for your study of local civil rights. Topical strengths of our collections include the history of school de/segregation, the fair housing movement (especially the marches and disturbances of 1967) and community and civic response to these struggles.

A list of pertinent collections follows. We have many other collections on the general topic, which you may explore by using the search strategies described elsewhere in this guide, or by asking an archivist.

Search Finding Aids

We write finding aids, or guides, for most of our collections. These guides explain the creator, contents and dates of the collection. This information is important to you when deciding if something is useful to your research. A finding aid also provides the information you will need to request and use a collection when you visit the Archives Dept.
All of our finding aids are included in Archival Resources in Wisconsin, a database of over 4,000 finding aids of collections held in seventeen repositories statewide. The database is located on the web at

Search in finding aids for material located here at UWM by using the search boxes below. Be sure to select an operator (and, or or not) as appropriate, and then click on "Search." Then explore the links in the grey band that appears with each result. Note: this search is limited to our holdings at the Archives Department, UWM Libraries, which is also known as the Milwaukee Area Research Center.

Watch our video about searching in and understanding finding aids at What is a finding aid and how does it help me?

Subject Guide

Archives Department
UWM Libraries
Room W250
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