2019 Assembly Joint Resolution 8
Relating to: proclaiming February 2019 as Black History Month.
Whereas, Black History Month provides a deliberate opportunity to reflect on the common humanity underlying all people and to raise awareness and foster respect for the heritage and contributions of people of African descent; and
Whereas, this year marks 400 years since the arrival of enslaved Africans in Virginia. The existence of Africans in North America can be traced back to 1525, and through 1866 the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade is estimated to have ensnared more than 12 million African people, with an estimated 10 million surviving the unconscionable Middle Passage, landing in North America, the Caribbean, and South America; and
Whereas, Wisconsin history first references African descendants in a speech given in 1725 by a chief of the Illinois Indians, in which he said “a negro belonging to Monsieur de Boisbriant" at Green Bay; and
Whereas, the United States has recognized black history annually since February 12, 1926, first as “Negro History Week" and later as “Black History Month," by noted Harvard scholar and historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, celebrating the ethnic and racial diversity that enriches and strengthens our nation; and
Whereas, both enslaved and free people of African descent have participated in every aspect of America's effort to secure, protect, and advance the cause of freedom and civil rights and have stories that are an inspiration to all citizens, that reflect the triumph of the human spirit and offer the hopes of everyday people to rise above both prejudice and circumstance and to build lives of dignity; and
Whereas, people of African descent or African Americans have made measurable differences in their respective industries, people such as:
Lucien H. Palmer — Wisconsin's first black legislator, elected in 1906 to the state Assembly;
Le Roy J. Simmons — Wisconsin's second black legislator, elected in 1944 to the state Assembly;
George Edwin Taylor — Former Wisconsin resident and African American who ran for the office of President of the United States in 1904, as a candidate of the National Negro Liberty Party;
James “Jim” Caldwell — Beloit native, NFL coach (Indianapolis Colts from 2009 to 2011 leading the team to the playoffs four times, Detroit Lions 2014-17);
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams — African American cardiologist that performed the first successful open heart surgery in the world, founded Provident Hospital, the first nonsegregated hospital in the United States, set up the first nursing school for blacks, born a free black person in 1856;
Violette Neatly Anderson — First black woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1926;
Milele Chikasa Anana — Publisher, UMOJA Magazine, a monthly journal of positive, encouraging news about African American people and opportunities in Madison, a civil rights activist, business leader, and former city of Madison affirmative action officer, and the first African American elected to the Madison school board;
The Oshkosh 94 — November 21, 1968, 94 African American students at the then Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh engaged in dramatic demonstrations directed toward campus administrators when their requests for equal rights on campus were ignored;
Eric Von — Long serving and influential former voice of black talk radio, journalist and broadcaster for Radio One, WNOV-AM (860), WMCS-AM (1290), and WISN Channel 12, and the founder of the online men's health magazine Brain, Brawn & Body;
Arthur Jones — Milwaukee's 16th Chief of Police and the first African American to serve in this capacity;
Reggie Jackson — Head Griot of America's Black Holocaust Museum, historian and researcher on Milwaukee's history of institutional segregation, the effects of systemic racism, and the reality of modern segregation;
Milele Coggs — Attorney, City of Milwaukee Alderwoman, youngest woman ever elected to Milwaukee's Common Council and the first African American female to ever serve as chair of the powerful Finance and Personnel Committee;
Gerard Randall — Executive Director of the Milwaukee Education Partnership, former CEO of the Private Industry Council, former member and Vice President of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, and currently board member of Cardinal Stritch University, the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, VISIT Milwaukee, and the Wisconsin Arts Board;
Lisa Peyton Caire — Founded The Foundation for Black Women's Wellness, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit organization committed to eliminating health disparities and other barriers impacting the lives of African American women and girls;
James Causey — Editorial writer, columnist, and reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel;
Carolyn Stanford Taylor — Wisconsin's first African American State Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction;
Curtiss Harris — Business leadership, served the African American Chamber of Commerce, the Minority Business Opportunity Committee, The Milwaukee Forum, Milwaukee's Minority Business Enterprise Committee, and Milwaukee Black Business;
Dr. Alex Gee — Pastor, author, pioneered the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, developing and mobilizing emerging African American leaders;
Satchel Paige — First African American pitcher to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame;
Condoleezza Rice — First and only female National Security Advisor and first African American female Secretary of State;
Reuben Harpole Jr. — Civil rights activist, community educator, launched the Freedom Schools to keep students of color engaged in education during the boycotts to protest racial segregation in Milwaukee Public Schools;
Mark Wade Sr. — Business leadership (General Mitchell International Airport concessionaire, All-Star Honda dealership, restaurateur), board chair – African World Festival, philanthropist;
Chandra Cooper — Founder and CEO of Grateful Girls, a nonprofit that provides services and housing for young women who have been sex-trafficked, business owner of a communications and entertainment company, a childcare center, and a retail store;
Kevin Newell — CEO of Royal Capital Group, prior roles in public finance led to an allocation of over $200 million in federal and state resources as the senior underwriter and to the deployment of the largest single allocation of federal tax credits in U.S. history, and in a separate transaction led the deployment of the first pairing of the low-income housing tax credit and new markets tax credit in Wisconsin state's history;
Rev. Greg Lewis — Chair of Pastors United, a diverse cross section of stakeholders from the faith community, civil rights activist;
Marques Johnson — Seven-season veteran of the Milwaukee Bucks, five-time NBA All-Star, and whose jersey was recently retired;
Marcia Anderson — First African American woman to rise to the rank of Major General in the U.S. Army Reserve; and
Phil Cockroft — Milwaukee Fire Department, heavy equipment operator and emergency medical technician; and
Whereas, while acknowledging the work of these leaders, it is equally critical to appreciate, both past and present, the long list of contributions of our fellow citizens, Black History Month gives Wisconsinites an occasion to recognize the significant influence people of African heritage have made, and continue to make, in the areas of medicine, art, politics, human rights, education, sports, and economic development; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the assembly, the senate concurring, That the Wisconsin Legislature proclaims February 2019 as Black History Month and extends appreciation to the above-named persons for their contributions to the state of Wisconsin and the country and their fellow citizens.