200 Nights and One Day
Excerpt from a review by Wendy Vardaman in Verse Wisconsin
"200 Nights tells the history of the struggle for a fair housing law in Milwaukee, and the 200 days of marching and demonstrating that in 1967 culminated in the law's passage. Detailing the efforts of the NAACP's Youth Council, Vel Phillips (the first African American and first woman elected to Milwaukee's Common Council), and Fr. James Groppi (advisor to the Youth Council and, later, Rozga's husband), the book opens with a chronology that maps, but doesn't restrict, the poetry, which is both personal and communal, and above all, purposeful."
Excerpt from the book cover review by Martha Vertreace-Doody
"As Margaret Rozga says in her opening poem, "History remembers the dream, forgets the nightmare." These poems speak of Milwaukee activists, including her, who marched for months to bring about fair housing. Each voice speaks with immediacy impossible to ignore. I have my memories of the sixties—the meetings, the marches, the demonstrations—Chicago, Washington, DC. These poems unearth Milwaukee's story, the story of so many cities in turmoil during that time. Thanks to the poet-as-witness, the reader knows that these stories will not disappear."
Sample poem from 200 Nights and One Day
R E S P EC T
Ronald and Norma Britton December 1966
It was a well-built brick house, but Norma,
Norma seemed uneasy. She checked
and rechecked the ad, the address.
Okay. But I wonder why there's no for rent sign up here.
What worried her now? I survived Vietnam.
Our daughter is healthy, ten pounds already. We have
Money for rent. We'll be able to save for a down payment.
Doesn't look like any Negroes on the block.
Hey, it's winter. Folks are inside.
We have laws now. Martin Luther King.
Norma, Norma, I fought for my country
Things have changed.