As you may know, there was a famous and pivotal event in Madison and University of Wisconsin history of May 1969 known by some as the Mifflin Street Riot and by others as The Battle of Miffland, which spread to the UW campus and went on for three days and nights. This was during the Vietnam War era when the UW was rocked by numerous student protests and, although a Saturday afternoon neighborhood block party was an ostensibly non-political event, it was very much part of that larger youth upheaval. Many if not most UW students will likely know very little about the origins of an event which in later years became a totally non-political pretext to get drunk.
A May 4th symposium on the Miffland event features a number of speakers including:
- Madison historian Stu Levitan whose new book on Madison in the Sixties has just been published
- Several former UW students (now alumni) who played leading roles in the Battle of Miffland
- Former Madison police chief David Couper who was appointed in 1973 during Mayor Soglin’s first administration in an effort to reform and reshape Madison police-community relations
This Access Hour features a discussion of those times 50 years ago. As University of Wisconsin-Madison freshman, David Williams was a central participant in the community uprising stemming from the First Mifflin Block Party (aka Mifflin Street Riot aka Battle of Miffland May 3-5th 1969). To commemorate its 50th anniversary he talks about his own experience there and also brings in Francesca Rheannon of East Hampton, NY, who was there… plus Molly Dwyer Devore, who has written on the subject in the local press, and John Peck, who speaks of developments and reactions over the years since that time.
Patrick Quinn and David first met on the big truck-barricade that first night of the Battle of Miffland. WORT celebrity Stu Levitan has written about this episode in his book on Madison in the Sixties.