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Longtime Milwaukee education and equal rights activist dies at 84

Posted at 8:33 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-30 21:33:46-04

MILWAUKEE — Mildred Harpole was a longtime Milwaukee education and equal rights activist. She passed away on Oct. 24.

Harpole went to Marquette University and received a law degree from Western Reserve Law School. She worked at Milwaukee Public Schools as a reading specialist and protested often against segregation and lack of resources at predominantly African American schools.

She helped created two schools called "Freedom Schools" that worked to educate African American students who migrated to Milwaukee, according to our partners at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.

Harpole's husband told NNS:

“She was a super lady who certainly had a way with words. I was so impressed by her. She was overwhelming, and I didn’t know if I had the vocabulary to keep up with her." -Reuben Harpole Jr.

Harpole also worked as the director of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for the Milwaukee office of the U.s. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before retiring in 2002, she fought about issues regarding fair housing and homelessness.

She also had founding positions in numerous non-profits and Milwaukee organizations. In addition, Harpole served on many boards in the Milwaukee area.

According to NNS, Mayor Tom Barrett called Harpole "a powerhouse and civil rights champion in our community."