Frank Zeidler transformed Milwaukee during his three terms as mayor of the Wisconsin city.
However, the kind of change that Zeidler, a member of the Socialist Party of America, brought to Milwaukee was not well met by everyone. Mid-century conservatives were unhappy with the New Deal policies that had taken hold in Milwaukee. Those conservatives saw the progressive policies as the source of the nation’s undoing.
In Conservative Counterrevolution: Challenging Liberalism in 1950s Milwaukee, Tula A. Connell writes about the battles between Zeidler and the business and political forces that challenged his initiatives in public housing, integration, and other areas.
On April 10th, 2016, Connell delivered the Frank P. Zeidler Memorial Lecture at the Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall. During the lecture she discussed the anti-progressives whom opposed Zeidler such as William Grede who believed government overreach was a problem.
“To Grede and other conservatives like him,” Connell said. “The biggest threat to the United States was socialism from within, not communism from without.”
In the video below, you can view Connell’s talk and also see a panel discussion with the author, Mike Nichols and State Representative Fred Kessler, moderated by Joanne Williams.