History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Organizations - Social






Formed in 1993, the Sherman Park Rainbow Association (SPRA) was the first LGBT neighborhood organization in Wisconsin. It existed primarily to provide a social network for gays and lesbians living in this West Side Milwaukee neighborhood, although it occasionally became involved in civil rights issues. SPRA held monthly meetings and social events such as picnics, potlucks, and holiday parties. The group worked with other local LGBT organizations, including PrideFest, the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, and the Domestic Partnership Task Force. SPRA also collaborated with its mainstream counterpart, the Sherman Park Community Association (SPCA). SPRA members sat on the SPCA Board of Directors, provided leadership for the Neighborhood Watch and the Neighborhood Housing Survey, and volunteered for ShermanFest. The group dissolved in 2002 due to declining membership participation.

The UWM Archives LGBT Collection holds a considerable amount of the Sherman Park Rainbow Association's papers. UWM Archives has this description of their collection of SPRA materials:

    Information about the formation of the SPRA in 1993 is found in the articles of incorporation, a grant application to the Cream City Foundation, and early newsletters. The newsletters and meeting minutes provide the most comprehensive information about SPRA, although the minutes span only a three-year period. The collection includes scant documentation of SPRA's work with the Sherman Park Community Association and local LGBT organizations. A press release, ca. 2002, describes the end of the organization.


Last updated: July-2006.