Honoring Alumni Vel Phillips

We bring you another installment profiling an African-American with a Wisconsin history that made their mark.

The first African-American female to earn a Law degree from UW-Madison was Vel Phillips. Ms. Phillips would go on to have a highly successful career in electoral politics, being elected to the Milwaukee Common Council and as Wisconsin’s Secretary of State. Active in the Civil Rights movement, Phillips would propose a Milwaukee ordinance in 1962 to outlaw discrimination in housing. In addition to her careers in law and politics, Ms. Phillips served as a lecturer at UW-Milwaukee and as a visiting professor at Carroll College as well as UW-Madison Law School. In 2011, a UW-Madison Residence Hall was named in her honor.

To learn more about African-American history, please click here.