Milwaukee Documentary “Remembering Bronzeville”
Between the 1900’s and the 19060s, the Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District was the economic and social heart of Milwaukee’s African American community. The community’s churches, social clubs, youth programs, and a thriving black middle class made it a stable environment for new migrants escaping the segregation and discrimination in the south. Between 1950 and 1960, the African American population in Milwaukee tripled to 62,500.
The highly anticipated film, “Remembering Bronzeville,” was produced by husband and wife documentary filmmaking team, Professor Karen Slattery and Mark Doremus.
“I think we’ve made a big effort for this to be a story that the people and community tell. It’s not our story. We’re sort of the conduit and were able to organize it,” said Slattery.
The flim brings the story of the Bronzeville community to life with special interviews with residents who lived in the community and rare archival film and images.
“We went through a lot of old material, both written and photographs, and pieced everything together,” said Doremus. “There is quite a bit of information we found on various aspects done by people who spent a lot of time researching topics like urban renewal and the jazz and blues scene.”
The film also includes two residents, Sheena Carey, who is featured telling the story of Bronzeville to a teenage boy, Kamani Graham, who is learning about Bronzeville.
Slattery and Doremus’ biggest hope for the film is that people will see it and appreciate the culture of the place and dignity of the people who lived there.
“Their stories are an important part of our collective history.”
Additional Airdates for “Remember Bronzeville” are:
WMVS Channel 10
· Thursday 10/31, 7:30 p.m.
· Friday 11/1, 2 a.m.
· Sunday 11/3, 10 a.m.
· Tuesday 11/5, 5 p.m.
WMVT Channel 36
· Sunday 11/3, 4 p.m.
· Tuesday 11/5, 6 p.m.
· Sunday 11/10 4:30 p.m.
About the filmmakers
Co-producer Karen Slattery is a professor in the Journalism and Media Studies Program at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. She has been a contributor to the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Before joining the university, she was a television news reporter and producer.
Co-producer Mark Doremus is a journalist, lawyer and multimedia storyteller. He has been a television news reporter/photographer, a producer of training films and interactive media, and a newspaper editor. Documentary projects include “Can You Hear Us Now?” and “More Precious Than Gold.”
About the cast
Sheena Carey as the griot, a West African term for storyteller. Sheena tells the story of Bronzeville to a teenage boy. She is a long-time Milwaukee resident who is recognized for her expertise in communication and the arts. She has served as an adjunct faculty member for Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin System since 1989. She is currently at work on a novel, a play, poetry and several children’s books.
Kamani Graham is the teenage boy in the story who is learning about Bronzeville. Kamani has an interest in forensics and the arts. His is an actor with Milwaukee’s First Stage and had a leading role in the First Stage play, "Welcome to Bronzeville." He also appeared in “Big Nate: The Musical.” Kamani attends high school in Milwaukee. He attended Golda Maier School, formerly the Fourth Street School that was attended by children in Bronzeville.