Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right Dear Milwaukee: A love letter to one of four cities that saved America
Love Letter Milwaukee
Image: Time Out

Dear Milwaukee: A love letter to one of four cities that saved America

Milwaukee finally steps into the national spotlight: Check out these Black-owned spots in the city and show them some love.

By Sojourner White
Advertising

Dear Milwaukee,

From Missouri to Spain, I’ve called many places my temporary home. But I always come back to you, my forever home. We grew up together. I can still hear the sounds of basketballs rattling aluminum on the sidewalk as I played “cans” with my brothers. I can still see the dance battles at block parties, sweet 16s, and basketball games. I can still smell the barbecue from Speed Queen on my bus ride home. And I can still feel the nerves in my stomach as I moved away from you for the first time at 17. 

People always told me “you gotta get out of Milwaukee,” but the truth is, you never left me. No matter in a backpack, suitcase, or in my heart, I carry our memories and our struggles everywhere I go. You shaped me to be the Black woman and the traveler I am today. We are not perfect, and our flaws normally make national headlines. Yet, we’re still here. Every day straddling the lines of grinding, surviving, and thriving. I think our resilience is unmatched. 

Now, it seems as if the country wants to love us for that resilience. Kind of. Due to Black voters and community organizing done by Black Leaders Organizing Communities and Leaders Igniting Transformation, we're being thanked for saving America from four more years of you know who. It’s a conflicting feeling: to be celebrated for saving a country from itself. To save a country that conveniently only remembers there are Black people in battleground states every four years. To save a country that has not always felt like the most welcoming home. But we did. We can celebrate today, because we know you are our forever home, Milwaukee, and the real work has only just begun.

With love,

Sojourner

Photograph: Courtesy Sojourner White

Black-owned businesses shaping Milwaukee right now

Kujichagulia Producers Cooperative, milwaukee
Kujichagulia Producers Cooperative, milwaukee
Photograph: Courtesy Kujichagulia Producers Cooperative

1. Kujichagulia Producers Cooperative

Created by Venice Williams, the Kujichagulia Producers Cooperative is a collective of entrepreneurs who live the definition of Kujichagulia, "defining ourselves, speaking for ourselves, and creating for ourselves." Browse hot sauce, teas, soaps, candles, seasonings, t-shirts, and more things you didn't know you needed. 

2. Funky Fresh Spring Rolls

TrueMan McGee is the owner and healthy community hypeman behind Funky Fresh Spring Rolls. Originally created for his personal training clients, TrueMan now cooks for us all. With a mix of speciality and core rolls, guests can choose from community-favorites such as chicken club, buffalo cauliflower, and sweet potato black bean. 

Advertising
Niche book bar milwaukee
Niche book bar milwaukee
Photograph: Courtesy Niche

3. Niche Book Bar

Opening in spring 2021, Niche Book Bar is a book bike turned bookstore committed to showcasing Black books and perspectives. Niche was founded by Cetonia Weston-Roy, a life-long reader who wondered why it was so hard to find Black literature in a wide variety of genres. Now, she has them and she wants you to read them.  

4. Mi Casa Su Cafe

Owned by Paul Whigham, and also located in the Bronzeville neighborhood, is Mi Casa Su CafeWhigham treats his customers as if they were eating dinner at his house, hence the name. On their menu you can find gourmet burgers, pasta, salads, smoothies, and other items from brunch to dinner.

Advertising
Bronzeville Collective, Milwaukee
Bronzeville Collective, Milwaukee
Photograph: Courtesy Bronzeville Collective

5. Bronzeville Collective

Located in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood is the Bronzeville Collective, a shopping hub of local makers. At the collective, you can shop for handmade jewelry, journals, body products, books, clothing, and other local goods. Founders Tiffany Miller and Lilo Allen brought 25 local creators together to create the collaboration.   

Read all the letters

Love letter Philadelphia
Image: Time Out

Dear Philly

Things to do

Celebrating the grit and take-no-mess tenacity that makes the Black community in Philadelphia so great.

Love letter to Atlanta
Image: Time Out

Dear Atlanta

Things to do

Commonly referred to as the southern Black mecca, Atlanta is rich in Black history, art, cuisine and culture.

Advertising
Love Letter Detroit
Image: Time Out

Dear Detroit

Things to do

Motown, Motor City, The D. Whatever you call it, we're celebrating Detroit in all its glory.

Recommended

    More on Black History Month

      You may also like

        Best selling Time Out Offers
          Advertising