Wisconsin Biographies

  • James Farmer: Co-Founder of CORE

    James Farmer was “one of the major leaders of the African American freedom struggle.”

  • Barrier Breakers – Mercile Lee

    One of the most impactful methods of nonviolent activism at UW-Madison can be found in scholarships, the Chancellor Scholarship and Powers-Knapp Scholarship, now known as the Mercile Lee Scholars Program. This program, named after Mercile Lee, a lifelong advocate for Civil Rights and racial equality, aims “to attract, support and develop the abilities and potential of academically talented and outstanding individuals from underrepresented groups.”

  • Barrier Breakers – Remembering Ada Deer

    Earlier this month, on August 15th, the esteemed Menominee leader Ada Deer passed away. Her impact on Native communities across the nation, as well as her influence at UW-Madison, was enormous and serves as inspiration to all who hear her story.

  • William Proxmire

    Wisconsin’s Class I senate seat has been filled with history in the last century... Yet between McCarthy and Herb Kohl, the man who lends his namesake to the Kohl Center here at UW, the seat was held by William Proxmire, a man who played a leading role in the anti-genocide movement in America.

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Wisconsin Protests

  • State Street Starbucks: Employees Push for Action

    The State & Lake Starbucks location has been a staple in Madison since the late 1990s, however this hub of student activity has become a beacon of unionization in the recent months as students have arrived back on campus.

  • The Gay Purges – A Brief History of Exclusion and Resilience

    The term Gay Purge is in reference to when UW-Madison “actively purged students identified as homosexuals” in 1962. However, the persecution of LGBTQ+ students at UW-Madison predated the 1960s.

  • University Failure and Student Response – Linking Today to the 1960s

    Earlier this month, a horrific, hate-filled video of a UW-Madison student spouting racist slurs, threats, and a desire to own enslaved people began circulating around the UW-Madison community. It didn’t take long for the video and responses to it to go viral online, resulting in a petition for the expulsion of the students involved with the video amassing tens of thousands of signatures.

  • Always Been Here – Wisconsin’s History of LGBTQ+ Presence and Activism

    In October of 2022, a well-known transphobic political commentator was invited to UW-Madison by a conservative student group and allowed to speak. What followed was an outraged student body, a clash of protestors and insults publicly thrown at university officials who spoke out for trans acceptance. The intensity of the event was felt throughout campus and sparked a discussion about LGBTQ+ presence and resistance throughout Wisconsin history, which this article explores.

  • Dr. Matthew Levin’s Cold War University and UW-Madison’s Legacy of Student Activism

    Dr. Matthew Levin’s Cold War University offers a look at the circumstances that surrounded UW-Madison’s burst on to the national scene in the mid 20th century as one of the most politically active campuses in America. Through an interview with Dr. Levin himself and an analysis of his book, this article discusses how Wisconsin’s politically diverse climate, combined with the blending of in-state and out-of-state students informed what would become an epicenter of anti-war and Civil Rights protests.

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