Page 1

BVHS All-Class Reunion, page 7

Aggie’s Cakes & Pastries, page 15

Volume 4 • Issue 8

August 2007

Father Groppi

By Michael Timm hen, during the open housing demonstrations, I marched on Milwaukee’s white south side, just a few blocks from my father’s store, some of my Italian buddies, with whom I used to run and play ball, threw rocks and shouted racist remarks. Yet there is hope. Some are able to remember. Some of my friends did not forget. They defended me courageously.” Father James Edward Groppi wrote these words in an autobiography that was never published, reflecting at once on the most remembered action of his life—leading marchers with the NAACP Youth Council to call for a Milwaukee open housing ordinance on 200 consecutive nights from August 1967 to March 1968—and his childhood home of Bay View, where he was born, raised, and worked in his father’s grocery store on Russell and Wentworth avenues. What some of his childhood friends remembered and some forgot was how Italian Americans had been treated as second-class


Father Groppi and other freedom fighters on the steps of the Milwaukee Federal Building on Wisconsin Avenue. Jeannetta Simpson-Robinson, standing off to Groppi’s right, is identifiable by her distinctive updo. ~courtesy Charles L. Walton, Career Youth Development, Inc.

“Jesus Christ was a civil rights worker. The greatest civil rights worker, greater than anyone here. No one here has ever been nailed to a cross.” —Groppi, as quoted by Aukofer citizens or made the butt of ethnic jokes. Groppi’s father Giocondo ensured his son never forgot. Groppi wrote that his father rejected racial slurs like nigger—“That is like calling an Italian a Dago.” And though he did not like to directly compare his ethnic minority background with the struggle of black Americans because he saw the hatred and prejudice they faced as orders of magnitude worse, Groppi did not forget where he came from. White Priest, Black Constituency While Groppi worked to advance many civil rights causes before and after 1967, his leadership on the open housing issue represents him SEE PAGE 4

Citizen heroes chase KK robber, assist arrest By Michael Timm


hristine Cruz, owner of Babe’s Ice Cream, 2264 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., thanks God for the vigilance and persistence of two women from Broad Vocabulary, 2241 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Amy Daroszeski and Jen Clark observed a suspicious man casing Kinnickinnic Avenue businesses and then repeatedly called police to report him early evening on July 3. But before police responded, the suspect robbed Babe’s, knocking Cruz’s head against her stainless steel refrigerator, and running away with $600-700 from the register, Cruz said. Following her instinct, Cruz picked herself up and ran out after the man, who simply walked out the front door with cash stuffed in his pants, Cruz said. Later police and her husband chided her actions.

“I thought, I’m not going to let the scumbag get away. I ran out and I just started shouting and yelling at the top of my lungs, Help!” she said. “I notice people running toward the parking lot at Lulu’s. I hear people yelling, Police are on their way!” She said she thought, “How in the hell can that be?”

“I don’t know what got into me but I decided to chase this man—in flip-flops, with a purse, and in a skirt...I wish I had been the one to tackle him.” —Amy Daroszeski It was Daroszeski and Clark who yelled to Cruz that police were on their way because the two had already called 911. Cruz didn’t discover why and how they fit into the ensuing chase until the following day. On July 4, despite the usually busy holiday, Cruz closed up her shop to go downtown to identify the robbery suspect in a police line-up. That was when she learned the man she identified as her assailant, Raymond L. Morrison, had also been identified as the man who robbed Broad Vocabulary a week and a half earlier. The evening of June 21, Broad volunteer Sarah Bare was confronted by a tanned white man who threatened her with a box cutter while he robbed the register of about

$320 in cash, including rolls of quarters, Daroszeski said. He got away. The Chase On July 3, Daroszeski, co-founder and co-owner of Broad Vocabulary, was closing down her store between 7 and 8pm. When she saw a man, “kind of creepy,” matching Bare’s description looking in the windows of Broad Vocabulary, Board Game Barrister, and other KK businesses, the alarm bells went off in her head. She kept tabs on him as he walked up and down the street between Lincoln and Ward, locked up, went in to warn to the manager at Board Game Barrister, then kept close to Clark and her 44-pound Belgian Shepherd, Creole. Outside on Clark’s cell phone, Daroszeski and Clark called the police non-emergency number to report the man. When there was no squad after about 10 minutes, they called again. By this time he had crossed to the east side of the street by the Boulevard Theatre. When he removed his bandana and moved toward Babe’s, Daroszeski said she knew he was going to rob it. He entered. Clark told the police switchboard he was robbing Babe’s. She was transferred to the 911 switchboard and had to restate what she was witnessing, as Daroszeski dragged Clark and Creole toward the ice cream shop. When he emerged from Babe’s, Daroszeski said he was walking fast. Daroszeski said she yelled, “He’s robbed the store!” Then Cruz emerged. The man ran across the street to the west. “I don’t know what got into me but I decided to chase this man—in flip-flops, with a purse, and in a skirt,” Daroszeski said. She wanted to be able to tell police which way he fled. She said she also persuaded some bikers at Lulu’s for Two Wheel Tuesdays to join in the chase. Clark and Daroszeski split up, attempting to outflank the fleeing robber: a group headed west on Lincoln while Daroszeski went down the alley west of Howell. Daroszeski said she lost him in the alley, but a group above the alley, on their upper back balcony, told her he’d gone south toward Lincoln. Wes Orloff, a Two Wheel Tuesday regular, was walking east on Lincoln to Lulu’s when he said he saw a man with no shirt stuff some-

Wes Orloff jumped fences and cut through yards before catching up with suspect Morrison in the alley between Smith and Austin streets. ~photo Katherine Keller

thing under a car in an alley. He didn’t think anything of it until people started running his way asking if he’d seen a man with no shirt. One of those outside was Cameron Roberts, Lulu’s owner and his friend, Orloff said, and he thought someone had been mugged. Bay View’s robberies earlier this year were still in his mind and pumped his adrenaline to defend the neighborhood, he said. At least six or seven people were “scouring the neighborhood” for the suspect, Orloff said, but as he ran down the alley he happened upon two groups of people outside who told him which way the man had run. Jumping fences and cutting through yards, Orloff caught up with the suspect in the Lincoln Court apartment tower parking lot, didn’t know what to do so he yelled at him, at which point the man took off again. “I chased him down to Smith Street, jumped on his legs and half-tackled him,” Orloff said. Morrison then allegedly told Orloff, “I’m going to cut you,” causing the Orloff to let him go, though he continued shadowing him about 10 feet behind.

Now winded, Orloff said he joined two other men to finally surround Morrison, who headed into an alley behind Klement’s Sausage, east of Burrell and west of Austin, north of Lincoln and south of Smith. There, a police squad was coming down the alley. An officer got out, drew his sidearm, and arrested him, Orloff said. When police patted him down, Orloff said he saw they


INSIDE Pg 2 Pg 3 Pg 4 Pg 6 Pg 6 Pg 7 Pg 8 Pg 10 Pg 11 Pg 12 Pg 13 Pg 15 Pg 15

Poetry Picks 3,257 Butts on Beach Milw. Open Housing Timeline Back-to-School Kits Spanish Collection at Library BVHS Alumni Reunion Bay View Paper Doc Tippecanoe Lake? Climate Change Shifts Winds Assault on Family Planning NEW: Terry Falk Column Meet Aggie Purcell Avalon Funding Delays

August 2007  

August 2007 Issue

August 2007  

August 2007 Issue