MILWAUKEE—Two days before the oldest and best-known U.S. civil rights group holds its yearly convention in Milwaukee, black leaders in the city say their community is being torn apart from the inside.
Civil rights leaders like 57-year-old Prentice McKinney, who fought to free Milwaukee’s blacks from the ghetto, say gangs, drugs and violence have left those who still live in the nation’s urban cores in fear of the next generation.
“Back then, the enemy was clear, it was white racists, and racist police officers,” said McKinney, who was a black teen-age “commando” in the 1960s and now runs a tavern once frequented by fellow activists.
“It was a legalized system of segregation. And so, the challenge was between the white establishment and the African-American population. Today, the African-American population is being destroyed by its own youth . . . an enemy from within.”
“You have a population of older African-Americans . . . who are now afraid of the children in their neighborhoods,” McKinney said.