Press Releases

Punching In Examines Inner City

February 20, 2008


A new documentary, Punching In, will be the next presentation in the MPTV Community Cinema series at Discovery World, 500 N. Harbor Drive, Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. The monthly film series, sponsored by Milwaukee Public Television, is free and open to the public.

The Milwaukee Public Television production examines the challenging transition of Milwaukee's African-American community from manufacturing jobs to employment in a global marketplace. A discussion of related issues will follow the film.

The one-hour program premieres on MPTV-10 Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 9 p.m. and will be repeated on MPTV-10 Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 10 p.m.

When major manufacturers began to reduce their operations in Milwaukee in the 1980s, they eliminated many of the best-paying blue collar jobs for African Americans in the city. The documentary looks at the inner city's rising unemployment rate, its waning black middle class and other developments that can be traced to the loss of manufacturing jobs in a changing economy.

Communications specialist Patricia Diggs created the documentary in memory of her father, Watson Diggs, Jr., who worked for Milwaukee's Ladish Company for 35 years.

Appearing in the film are sociologist Frank H. Wilson and historian Marc V. Levine, both from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; local labor leader Sheila D. Cochran; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter John Schmid, Michael Rosen, an economics professor at Milwaukee Area Technical College, and others.

Schmid and Rosen also will participate in the Community Cinema discussion, along with Don Sykes, chief executive officer of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, and Frank Cumberbatch, president of Trinidad Group. Cumberbatch was previously the senior assistant in charge of economic development for the Milwaukee mayor's office.

The documentary was produced by MPTV's Liddie Collins. Co-producers are Ivory Abena Black, Faithe Colas and Patricia Diggs, members of The Publishers Group which produced the 2005 book, "Bronzeville: A Milwaukee Lifestyle."

MPTV Community Cinema is one of a number of new programs, special events and services commemorating Milwaukee Public Television's 50th anniversary. MPTV is a viewer-supported service of Milwaukee Area Technical College.