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At this virtual event, Jenny DeRocher will conduct a short presentation on sundown towns and how La Crosse qualifies as one. After, she will join panelists in an open discussion on the nuanced history of sundown towns and anti-Black racism in our community, state, and country.

Panelists include:

  • Jenny DeRocher (she/her): Public historian, Archives librarian, and original researcher of La Crosse's sundown town history. Her research was the catalyst for Mayor Tim Kabat's 2016 proclamation that acknowledged and apologized for La Crosse's sundown town status. Her research was largely made possible thanks to the support and labor of Black community members—both historically and presently—including but not limited to Shaundel Spivey, Thomas Harris, Gretchen Lockett, and Robbie Moss.
  • Dr. Richard Breaux (he/him): UWL Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies professor, he researches the cultural and social histories of African Americans in the Midwest including occupational racism and residential segregation in Midwest college towns during the Jim Cow and Civil Rights eras.
  • Riley Sebena (he/him): UWL Social Studies Education student who recently completed research on the local and state political climate that helped create sundown towns.
  • Dr. Sabrina Robins (she/her): Public historian and board member of African Heritage Inc. in Appleton, WI. She was a co-researcher of Appleton's sundown town designation.
  • Nicholas Hoffman (he/him): Administrator of Museums and Historic sites at Wisconsin Historical Society. In 2015, the History Museum at the Castle, African Heritage, Inc, and several other community partners, launched a research and community engagement project to document and share sundown town practices in Appleton, WI. Dr. Robins and Hoffman continue to research and share their process and history they helped bring to light. This work has received national accolades from the American Association for State and Local History and as a key participant in a National Leadership Grant on de facto and de jure segregation from the Institute of Museums and Library Services. Hoffman’s work in public history has received numerous regional and national accolades for exhibitions, programs, and community engagement, as well as his co-authored book with Jesse J. Gant: Wheel Fever: How Wisconsin Became a Great Bicycling State.