Attorney Vel Phillips and former Common Council President Willie L. Hines, Jr. were recognized Tuesday during the regular meeting of the full Council at City Hall. Phillips celebrated her 90th birthday on February 18, and Hines vacated his seat on the Council, resigning as 15th District Alderman and Common Council President, effective February 1 to become assistant director of the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee. In 1956 Philips became the first alderwoman in Milwaukee’s history and the first African American on the Council. In 1971, she became the first African American woman to serve as a judge in Wisconsin and the first woman to serve as a judge in Milwaukee. In 1978 she made history as the first woman and African American elected to a constitutional office as the Secretary of State for Wisconsin. Hines was elected 15th District Alderman in 1996, and in 2004 was elected by his peers as Common Council President, the top Council leadership position. A former longtime chair of the Housing Authority board, Hines’ leadership approach has championed equality, inclusiveness and diversity.
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