LifestyleBlack History Month


Milwaukee's first Black city attorney sees an opportunity to be a voice for the voiceless

Posted at 6:23 AM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 07:24:02-05

Milwaukee native Tearman Spencer knows the city’s challenges when it comes to race and equality.

He believes the city is moving in the right direction but could be moving faster. The first Black Milwaukee City Attorney says he plans on using his time in office to make things better for everyone.

Spencer calls his decisive 61% to 39% victory over the longtime incumbent Grant Langely, a mandate for change.

"I ran on a platform of change and the people answered they want that change,” said Spencer. He sees being the city’s first black city attorney as an opportunity.

“It’s always going to be an opportunity, any opportunity that I have to speak voices for those that don’t have a voice is a great honor. But then, too again I’m met with resistance from a lot of folks that don’t want to see that change, that don’t want to see me here,” says Spencer.

He sees Milwaukee’s long struggle with racial equality as something that has to be dealt with head-on.

Spencer says “so often no one wants to talk about race. That’s that 600-pound gorilla in the room. We have to talk about it, you have to acknowledge it if you’re going to get past it.”

He sees Black History Month as a time to remind the younger generation of what’s possible.

“As we move forward we have to resonate that image that anything is possible. So, we never give up, and when I look at Black history it’s a time to resonate with that same song, don’t give up, strive to be the best that you can be," said Spencer.

Spencer is in his first year of a four-year term.

When asked what he’d like the history books to say about the city’s first Black city attorney, Spencer says ”I want the legacy that’s left first and foremost that he fought for all people, not one race of people. That he believed in what was right, he stood up for what was right, for everybody. I understand when you help one, you help them all.”

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip