1961 civil rights sit-in

1961: A group of protesters in the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda protests in favor of civil rights for African-Americans.

Dear Students, Teachers and Parents: 

I am writing this letter with the hope that you will not only celebrate Black History Month this February, but also read the history and many accomplishments of Blacks right here in the Madison and Greater Madison community. Sometimes we focus so much on slavery and the civil rights movement that we forget to share accomplishments achieved by African Americans in our own backyard. 

Here are some indicators on how the black community has influenced the Greater Madison region and Wisconsin for more than 175 years. Attached is a timeline created by the Cap Times, Madison 365, myself and leaders from the African-American community.

One additional note: this is not a list of every black Madisonian who has done or is doing great things. There are far too many people doing great work than we could possibly recognize. This is simply our best attempt to outline the rich history of our community, the important moments, the firsts and the pioneers for those who might not know these important stories. 

I hope this helps you as you celebrate Black History Month.  For those schools that don’t celebrate black history month, I hope this gives you a guide to start planning.

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Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Jason Joyce has lived in Madison for over 30 years, starting as a student at UW-Madison. After working at Isthmus for 15 years, where he oversaw digital operations and wrote a sports column, he took over as news editor at The Capital Times in 2013.