Crisis in Watertown
The Polarization of an American Community
On May 19, 1968, the minister of the Congregational Church of Watertown, Wisconsin, was fired.
Alan Kromholz was 29 when he came to Watertown with his wife and two small boys. Kromholz began his ministerial duties in February 1967, seven months before Father James Groppi began marching in Milwaukee.
In the middle of September Watertown's city attorney received a model fair housing ordinance from the state, with a recommendation that it be adopted. Thus the polarization began. It was sharpened by the publication of an underground newspaper and the establishment of a coffee house, by feelings that Kromholz was neglecting his pastoral duties and providing a subversive example for the young, by rumors of a black invasion.
On May 19, 1968, Reverend Kromholz was fired. Visiting Watertown two years later, Lynn Eden captured the voices of protest and approval —voices that you have heard in your own town, in your own neighborhood, in yourself. The result is Crisis in Watertown: a true and remarkable document of our times.
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