Eric Jefferson walks down a lonely stretch of North Richards Street, just south of Capitol Drive, in Williamsburg Heights. The ends of his untucked, short-sleeved collared button-up flutter in the wind on a warm September day. “My mother … she moved here, I was probably one or two when she moved here because her father, my grandfather, lived here and he was a minister,” says Jefferson. “She moved here to get better jobs.”
Laura Marshall sits in the dining room of her pristine north side ranch-style home. Hardwood floors and chandeliers grace the house’s welcoming interior; but, less than three years ago, no one could have imagined what it would become. The space, which Marshall and her husband Greg nicknamed ‘Mold Palace,’ was in disrepair — there was no heat, no plumbing, plants protruded from the gutters and it needed a new roof. “We basically bought a brick shell,” says Marshall. “The house was so bad — the only place it could go was up.”
Brandi Elam walks down a quiet, sunlit stretch of West McKinley Boulevard in Cold Spring Park, earbuds in, music playing. Elam, who was born in Milwaukee, grew up near 76th and Hampton. “It was kind of dangerous. Every now and again, my grandma would get robbed in the alley or something,” she says.
A Wednesday court hearing will determine the fate of UWM student M. Samir Siddique, who has been legally entangled with the university since January because of a dispute over student government and rights at the UW-System school. Siddique, who was an elected senator in UWM’s previous student government body until May 2013, has clashed with university officials over the appointment of a Board of Trustees to oversee the installation of a new school constitution as well as the events surrounding that constitution’s approval. Much of the dispute stems from whether students will have a say in how a large sum of money, designated as segregated students fees, is spent, including the projected $160 million cost of a new student union.
Bashir Malik walks down the sidewalk at Bay View Bash, backpack on, art in hand, to meet some friends at a vendor tent. Malik grew up in a part of Milwaukee you might not be as familiar with, these days. “Before the expressway was here, I was on Lloyd and 9th,” he says. “Now, the expressway goes right through there.”
Philip Chinn stands with his pedicab near the corner of Jackson and Kilbourn during Jazz in the Park waiting for riders. Chinn grew up on the north side of Milwaukee near 55th and Mill Road before his family moved to Columbus, Ohio, when he was 8 years old. What does he remember from his time there? “Mostly, it was pretty chill. Our neighborhood was ‘bad’ but there wasn’t too many drugs, there, and there wasn’t a lot of shootings and stuff like that,” said Chinn. “It wasn’t the worst part of the north side, by any means.”
Robert Kebschull works on the yard of the house where he grew up in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood. The 63-year-old Kebschull said he decided to re-do the home he’s lived in off-and-on for 40 years after his parents passed away around 2007. “I’ve been working on it, doing a lot of stuff inside, outside… we’ll see what happens when I retire – whether I stay here or whether I move on.”