2011 Assembly Joint Resolution 17
Relating to: recognizing Black History Month.
Whereas, Americans have recognized Black history annually since 1926, first as "Negro History Week" and later as "Black History Month," and the Wisconsin legislature has commemorated February as Black History Month to honor the lives and contributions of Wisconsin African American citizens; and
Whereas, Annette Polly Williams saw a need that was not being fulfilled in her community so she ran for state assembly in 1979, beginning a storied political career that would last 30 years, making her the longest-serving woman legislator in the state's history. Ms. Williams devoted her political career to ensuring all children received access to a good education. Out of her passion and commitment for education, she became the author and mother of the nation's first true educational parental choice legislation; and
Whereas, Antonio Riley is the first African American to be appointed the executive director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. Mr. Riley is known for his creative and strong leadership under which WHEDA focused its energies on trying to capture the inherent relationship between housing and economic development by creating new strategies that increase jobs and make housing more affordable and promoting policies to renew and invigorate depressed neighborhoods. President Obama recently appointed Mr. Riley as the regional administrator for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for six midwestern states, including Wisconsin; and
Whereas, Hattie Daniels-Rush has dedicated her life to service, working for Milwaukee Public Schools for 25 years and serving as an advisor to President George W. Bush's faith-based initiative, as a commissioner on the National Commission on Presidential Scholars, and as the community relations director for Milwaukee County. Her guidance as program director for the Holy Redeemer Schools and social service institutions has touched many lives; and
Whereas, James Hall Jr. was elected president of the NAACP Milwaukee chapter in November 2010. Mr. Hall has been a greatly respected attorney in the Milwaukee area for many years, focusing on employment and civil rights law. He has represented individuals and groups of employees in connection with employment issues and has negotiated several comprehensive settlements in those matters. Mr. Hall has also represented clients in labor relations matters. He was a founder of 100 Black Men of Milwaukee and is on the board of directors for the ACLU of Wisconsin; and
Whereas, Fannie Frazier Hicklin was a theatre department faculty member at UW-Whitewater from 1964 to 1988. As the first African American faculty member on campus, she directed over 50 theatre productions, and helped to establish Summer Theatre in the Park and the Touring Children's Theatre programs. In 1996 the UW-Whitewater named the campus theatre/dance building the "Hicklin Studio Theatre." Ms. Hicklin received her bachelor's degree from Talladega College. She later taught in Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina and South Carolina before moving to Michigan where she earned her master's degree in speech and theatre from the University of Michigan. Ms. Hicklin has been an active member of Zeta Phi Eta and with the Wisconsin State Historical Society. She has also been an active member of First Congregational Church. She has long been dedicated to her city, state, and community; and
Whereas, Reverend Mark Fossie and Sheila Fossie have for years volunteered consulting and mentoring African Americans interested in pursuing careers in the areas of mental health and alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) treatment. Reverend Fossie is the president, co-founder, and CEO of M&S Clinical Services, a nonprofit mental health AODA facility providing central intake and mental health and AODA treatment in the African American community for the past 11 years; and
Whereas, many African Americans have served in the legislature, including former senators Monroe Swan, Gwendolynne Moore, and Gary George and former representatives Lucien Palmer, Le Roy Simmons, Isaac Coggs, Cecil B. Brown, Walton Bryan Stewart, Raymond Lee Lathan, Lloyd Barbee, Walter L. Ward, Marcia P. Coggs, Johnnie Morris-Tatum, and Antonio Riley; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the assembly, the senate concurring, That the legislature of the state of Wisconsin recognizes the month of February 2011 as "Black History Month," and extends thanks and praise to the above-named persons for their contributions to the state of Wisconsin and their fellow citizens.