Visitation held for Milwaukee civil rights leader Vel Phillips

Posted at 6:56 PM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 20:08:16-04

SHOREWOOD -- A visitation for Vel Phillips took place Friday evening at the Feerick Funeral Home in Shorewood.

Phillips, a legendary Milwaukee civil rights leader, died last month on April 17 at 94-years-old.

A woman of many firsts, Phillips was the first African American woman to graduate from UW-Madison's Law School, the first African American to be elected to Milwaukee's Common Council, the first female judge in Milwaukee, and the first African American judge in the state of Wisconsin.

“She broke down so many barriers and what was amazing even though her 90’s she was still a trailblazer, she was leading this community in so many different ways," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Phillips went on to be the first African American woman to be elected Secretary of State of Wisconsin.

“She was just a wonderful warm friend, like many people I knew her for many many years and she was just a wonderful friend," said former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle.

Governor Scott Walker ordered flags to half-staff on Saturday, May 5, 2018, in honor of former Secretary of State Vel Phillips.