Vel Phillips, Board Director Emeritus at Community Shares.
The career of Vel Phillips, civil rights and community pioneer, provides a pathway to justice through gracious persistence. Active in the women’s movement and the civil rights movement, Vel Phillips built a career full of “firsts” as both a woman and an African American in Wisconsin.
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Vel Phillips blazed a trail for minorities and women as the first black woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin law school. She was also the first woman and first African-American elected to the Milwaukee Common Council, where she kept introducing an ordinance to outlaw housing discrimination every 90 days for seven years until it was finally adopted in 1968. After leaving the.
The Milwaukee Common Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to make Vel Phillips' legacy permanent by renaming a downtown street after her. Phillips died last month at age 95.
Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams is funded in part by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Helen Bader Foundation, Evjue Foundation, the Charitable Arm of the Capital Times, Wisconsin Humanities.
Vel Phillips (1924-2018), Milwaukee’s first alderwoman and the first African American on its Common Council, was born Velvalea Rodgers on the South Side of Milwaukee.While she was a child, her family moved to Bronzeville, where she later established her political career. She graduated from Howard University in 1946, returned to Wisconsin to attend law school in Madison, and became the first.
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