A Common Bond
Marvin Pratt attended Terminal Milwaukee as the poet laureate of the evening. He treated the audience to a trip down memory lane, through the steps of a young man that emerged, from an era tainted with the trappings of fast talking, slick dressing cats just trying to survive in a time of intense depravity and a racial caste reality, to emerge as a man with political prospects. Fulfilling his ambitions in 1986, Pratt’s district elected him to a Milwaukee Common Council. A seat that he held until 2004, when he ran for Mayor against the current incumbent Tom Barrett.
Along his path to political achievement, Pratt always held close in his memory the tendency for the Barbershop to draw people of all walks of life. His appreciation for the people aspect business and politics mended a common bond with Ronnie over the years. Pratt’s fancy for a certain young woman solidified their connection, when a romance sprung into a loving and lasting marriage with Ronnie’s older sister Dianne.
Dianne treated Terminal Milwaukee to amusing tales of adventures in the Bronzeville, where she, family and friends often and innocently traveled about the City on the 23 City bus into foreign worlds barely miles away from her home. On one occasion, she and her playmates found themselves far from home at Mayfair Mall, where the only route back required a paid fare. Having no money, but in good spirits and unbegrudged after being refused a ride, she lead her fellows on foot back to her Sixth Street neighborhood.
Tying Ronnie, Marvin and Dianne’s stories together, a sown thread bearing the tremendous influence that family played in establishing and maintaining the barbering trade in their lineage, all attached to the first patch in the quilt, Ronnie’s grandfather the first Black Master Barber in Milwaukee.
Pt. 1 Shaping Influence, ExFabula, Barbershop
Pt. 2 ExFabula, John Gurda on Capital Court History
Pt. 3 ExFabula, The Sherrill’s, A Black Business Legacy
Pt. 4 ExFabula, Sunshine and Rain
Pt. 5 ExFabula, Tom Crawford, a Thankful Trim
Pt. 6 ExFabula, Monumental Integrity and Murals