North Division High School Classes of ’67,’68 and ’69 host 50th Year Reunion

April 12, 2018

By: Shirley Davis Scott-Harris, DRE, PhD, Planning Committee Member 1968 North Division 50th Year Reunion

We Were There… The year 1968 has been called many things. A special Time Magazine Edition (2018) called it ‘the Year that Shaped a Generation,’ USA Today (January 15, 2018) stated, “Fifty years later, we still use 1968 to measure the progress of our efforts to address crime and violence, alleviate racism and poverty, resist war and preserve peace, and build a more perfect union and world.”

In the spring of 1968, the students at North Division were active participants in protests that erupted throughout Milwaukee. The protests, centered around racial inequality and discrimination, eventually culminated in a student walkout, from North Division High School to the MPS Central Office, organized and led by the late Father James Groppi. The students in the 1968 Class of North Division were numbered with the young people who shaped a generation and shared the title of “baby boomers” because of the large surge in population after World War II.

As the 1968 Class of North Division High School commenced on their respective journeys after graduation, some of the students were nostalgic at what they were leaving behind. Some of the students were forward- looking and expedient as they embarked on the odyssey of their lives, eager to embrace the responsibilities that would rest on their shoulders while they pursued employment opportunities, sought marriage, or attended college, often as first-generation college students.

The impact that North Division High School has had on the community has been a positive one, producing influential leaders such as Golda Meir, judge and activist Vel Phillips, Rep. Annette Polly Williams, Alderman Marlene Johnson, Singer Harvey Scales, Dr. Howard Fuller, Milwaukee’s first African American Fire Captain Donald Jackson, Police Chief Arthur Jones, Brigadier General Robert Cocroft, and Acting Mayor Marvin E. Pratt. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, who graduated in 1969, will be the keynote speaker at the 50th Year Class Reunion for 1968 (along with the classes of 1967 and 1969)

We will have a lot to talk about at our 50th Year Reunion, sharing stories of the civil rights movement that was prevalent nationwide, as we became eye-witnesses to the burning of our inner city. During our last year of high school, we lost one of our most prolific moral leaders when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. The black power movement, which demonstrated an expression of Black pride, was voiced in unison with the slogan, “We’re Black and We’re Proud.”

We will “shoot the breeze” about Robert F. Kennedy, a Democratic presidential candidate, who was killed.

The Federal Open Housing Law passed; the Green Bay Packers beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II; Aretha Franklin released her “Lady Soul” album; Wilt Chamberlain became the first National Basketball Association player to score 25,000 points; Joe Frazier TKO’d Buster Mathis for the heavyweight boxing title; Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for his song, Dock of the Bay; and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1968 Civil Rights Act.

The year 1968 had a profound impact on the American value and belief systems. Fifty years after high school, the classes of 1967, 1968 and 1969 have come full circle. We are anticipating a reunion of old friends and acquaintances. And yes, as we reminisce about 1968, we will have much to talk about as we measure the progress that has been made culturally, socially, politically and religiously from 1968 to 2018, a fifty-year span.

The North Division High School Class of 1968 (along with the classes of 1967 and 1969) will celebrate their 50th Year Reunion, October 5-6, 2018 at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.