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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

James Groppi papers

Repository: Wisconsin Historical Society. Library-Archives

Collection Description (Extant): Papers of James Groppi (1930-1985), a Roman Catholic priest and prominent Milwaukee civil rights activist. Over 14 boxes consist of correspondence, but because the majority are unsolicited responses, mainly 1967-1968, to Father Groppi's civil right activities, the collection tends to be more useful for research on public attitudes toward civil rights activism than for a study of Groppi's life and work. About half the correspondence is criticism and hate mail. The remainder of the collection consists of an unfinished manuscript of a proposed autobiography; two 1969 sermons; appointment books and calendars; legal materials, which offer more information about his civil rights work than any other file in the collection; and scrapbooks and newspaper clippings. The two undated tapes are speeches concerning his views on the church and its role in racial and social issues.
The processed portion of this collection is summarized above, dates 1964-1978, and is described in the register.

Additional accessions date 1956-1989 and consist principally of personal correspondence relating to Groppi's marriage and final illness as well as the voting rights activities of his wife, Peggy Rozga, in Midway (Ala.). Also included is correspondence and other material related to Groppi's activities as president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 998, two drafts of his autobiography, papers on memorial activities, and a large number of news clippings. There are also photographs which include snapshots taken by Peggy Rozga in Midway (Ala.), family photographs, and photos of civil rights activities; audio tapes which include several talks and sermons by Groppi, a speech by Father Philip Berrigan, and several unidentified activities; and one unidentified film. See box list with accession form.

The tape recordings consist of recordings of some of Groppi's sermons, monologues, and speeches. Most of the content touches upon themes of racism, poverty, social justice, and civil rights in relation to society and religion. There are also recordings of other speakers and activities including interviews, discussions, songs, and television shows.

Access Copy Note: Box 7 in accession M2001-085 and sound recordings assigned Tape 704A/3-13 are closed until January 1, 2014. This collection is managed jointly by the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Milwaukee Area Research Center, and housed at the latter.

Date(s): 1956-1989

Existing IDs: Milwaukee Mss EX; Tape 704A; PH 4983; M2001-085; M2004-254

Extent: 7.7 c.f. (18 archives boxes) and 13 tape recordings; plus
additions of 5.2 c.f., and photographs.

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Physical Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Related Archival Items: See the James Groppi Interviews and Sermons at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


Amalgamated Transit Union
Catholic Church--Social aspects
Civil rights demonstrations--Wisconsin
Civil rights movements--Alabama
Civil rights movements--Wisconsin
Civil rights--Religious aspects--Catholic Church
Groppi, James, 1930-1985
Voter registration


Sound recordings


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   September 26, 2018
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