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Black Nite tavern becomes first LGBTQ+ landmark in Milwaukee County

The former tavern was home to Wisconsin's LGBTQ+ uprising in 1961
Posted at 6:56 AM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 18:53:37-05

MILWAUKEE — What looks to be an empty lot on 400 N. Plankinton Ave. holds deep history for Milwaukee’s LGBTQ+ community.

The spot near the Third Ward once carried the Black Nite tavern, home to Wisconsin’s LGBTQ+ uprising, and now the future site of the county’s first-ever LGBTQ+ official landmark.

The first chapter in reaching that storied designation began in 1961.

The Black Nite tavern in Milwaukee is home to Wisconsin’s LGBTQ+ uprising and is now the site of the county’s first-ever LGBTQ+ official landmark.

"A group of Navy trainees went to the Black Nite on a dare, they knew it was a gay bar. The sailors started a fight because they were denied entrance into the tavern,” explained author Diane Buck.

Josie Carter, a black trans woman, forced the men away from one of the few gay bars in Milwaukee, but the men promised to come back later that night.

Carter rallied the LGBTQ+ community to come defend the Black Nite against them, which led to what’s now known as the Black Nite Brawl.

Michail Takach, co-curator of The Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project, wrote the application to get landmark status from the Milwaukee County Historical Society. It gained final approval on Monday, Nov 14.

Advocates for the site told TMJ4 they are working with Foxtown Brewing, which is set to open on the same grounds, to create a permanent fixture to commemorate the site’s landmark status.

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