Voyageur Magazine will host an event tonight highlighting African American entrepreneurship in the Fox Valley during the Civil Rights Era at Fifth Ward Brewing, 1009 S Main Street, in Oshkosh at 7 pm on Thursday, September 12.
John Harry, a graduate student in history at UW-Milwaukee, will speak about his article in the most recent edition of Voyageur. Harry’s article tells the story of Peoples’ Brewing, an Oshkosh brewery that was owned for several years by Ted Mack, a Black investor who had worked at Pabst Brewing in Milwaukee.
“This is a story that many people will not be familiar with and it should illuminate the importance of African Americans to the early history of craft brewing in Northeast Wisconsin,” said said Voyageur editor-in-chief Eric Morgan, who is also an assistant professor of history at UW-Green Bay. “And I’m hoping people will learn about the contributions of African Americans to that industry and perhaps inspire people to learn a bit more about the contributions African Americans have made to our community.”
The current issue of Voyageur, published in July, focuses on the African American experience in Northeast Wisconsin, going all the way back to the arrival of the first European explorers. In addition to Harry’s article on People’s Brewing, the issue contains articles on the “Black Thursday” protest that took place at UW-Oshkosh in 1969, experiences of professional African American football players in Green Bay, the story of Oshkosh abolitionist Byrd Parker, and more.
“We decided that it was long overdue to focus on African Americans in Northeast Wisconsin,” Morgan said. “While the number of percentage of African Americans has always been small, their experiences and stories certainly need to be told.”
The decision to host the event at Fifth Ward Brewing was no coincidence.
“I’m hoping we get a good crowd and we all raise a pint and have a good evening,” Morgan said.
The event is the first author talk hosted by Voyageur, but Morgan said he intends to host one such event to go with each issue of the magazine, which comes out twice per year.