Friday, October 4, 2013

Father Groppi...the White Dr. King

Milwaukee beckons.....

This was 1967 and marches and protests were going on almost everywhere you looked.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin was no different.   Primarily because a white Catholic priest named James Groppi ...who had marched with Dr. King... looked around at the city and didn’t like what he saw.
He was on my new talk program on WOKY the first week I arrived...and the fireworks began.
The Next day I found a note on my car windshield.
It was in red....
“Next time Major...this will be your blood”.
Oh boy...welcome to Milwaukee, Stan.
In St. Louis (see earlier post) the guy with a gun looking for this.
And the thing about it was I really wasn’t that liberal in my views on or off the air. I described myself as a moderate. I had voted for both Republicans and Democrats and some independents.
But because Father Groppi was on my show I was pigeon-holed into the protest camp.
Actually, I didn’t mind as I was already thinking about returning to my home base at the family farm near Rockford to possibly run for office myself.  
The 1968 election was just around the corner and I had my eye on the Congressional race where the incumbent Republican John B. Anderson (later an independent candidate for President) had no visible opposition. 
So I played the talk host thing for several more months...watched the tanks going down the street outside my apartment window and then “flew the coop” so to speak.  
That’s right...APC’s and tanks manned by the Wisconsin National Guard marching into town to stem the unrest...much of it caused by my new friend Father James Groppi...(later to be nicknamed the “white MLK”). 
    I liked Milwaukee and WOKY...but duty called and I was offered a TV anchor spot at WREX 13 in Rockford...the big station there and I took it.  
     I'd be paying Milwaukee a return visit in a few years.

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