History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Wisconsin - Events - Community



June 2023
Milwaukee County Courthouse
Event Type:

Pride Month Display


In May 2023, the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project was approached by the staff of the County Board of Supervisors about creating an historical diplay in the main rotunda of the Milwaukee County Courthouse. We were honored to be asked and pleased to create a display.

The Milwaukee County Courthouse is a huge building, and although the display featured 10 different historical panels, along with accompanying Pride-colored 'fan flags' below each panel, the display was noticeable but still somewhat swallowed up in the expanse of the building. However the display will hopefully lead to future displays by the Project at other locations. (The only permanent location for History Project panels is in 'This Is It' bar downtown Milwaukee.)

The display in the Court House was made possible by a grant from the Cream City Foundation, a gift from 'This Is It' bar, and a donation by Supervisor Peter Burgelis.

The following panels were displayed in the Courthouse:

  • Introductory panel
  • Info panel about the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project
  • Story of the 'Black Nite Brawl, August 5, 1961' (perhaps the earliest documented LGBT uprising against harassment in the U.S.)
  • 'First Annual Pride March & Rally, June 17, 1989'
  • History of 'LGBT Pride Celebrations in Milwaukee', 2 panels
  • 'Passing Gay Rights in Wisconsin'
  • Info panel about the Cream City Foundation
  • Info panel about the Brady East STD Clinic
  • Bio of Joe Brehm, long-time owner of 'This Is It' bar (longest continually operating LGBT bar in Wisconsin)

    Pride flag shown flying at County Courthouse (through the efforts of Supervisor Peter Burgelis)
    View of center of Courthouse Rotunda (first floor center)
    'LGBTQ Pride Month' Introductory Panel
    Additional views of Courthouse first floor lobby
    Black Nite uprising, August 1961
    First pride Parade & Rally, June 1989
    A history of Pride Celebrations in Milwaukee (2 panels)
    Passing Gay Rights in Wisconsin
    About Brady East STD Clinic (BESTD Clinic)
    About Cream City Foundation

Pride flag shown flying at County Courthouse
(through the efforts of Supervisor Peter Burgelis)

'LGBTQ Pride Month' Introductory Panel

'Pride Celebrations in Milwaukee' panels

Sponsored by Cream City Foundation...

...'This Is It' bar in downtown Milwauke...

...and County Supervisor Peter Burgelis

Website concept, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: June-2023.

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