Harrington came to Milwaukee in 1940 from her native Dyersburg, TN, where she immediately became involved in numerous religious and charitable causes. She graduated from Bruce High School, and later, at the youthful age of 54, graduated from Marquette University.
Harrington’s entrepreneurial spirit enabled her to advocate for and create various programs to uplift and empower the community which have benefitted the elderly, disabled, and other vulnerable populations. She was instrumental in creating The Good Neighbor Listening Post (Mental Health Counseling), and was co-founder of the DOLL (Daughters of Luke, Ltd) Program, an historic community agency which provided homemaking and other support services for inner-city residents. Harrington was also one of the first Interfaith Neighborhood Outreach Program Directors.
A longtime resident of Brewer’s Hill, she advised elderly residents of their rights to remain in the community and wrote a booklet, “You Don’t Have To Move”, targeting these residents 62 and older, letting them know about the Property Tax Deferral Loan Program and Reverse Mortgages as resources to keep them from losing their homes which, in many cases, were mortgage-free, but at risk of loss because of high real estate taxes.
In addition to her community work, Harrington was deeply involved with the faith community. In 1950 she co-founded Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, along with her late husband, Rev. C.V. Harrington. Pilgrim Rest was Milwaukee’s first Black Baptist Church designed, built, and financed by African-Americans. Harrington authored another book entitled, “Are You Building Or Buying A Church?” which details the plan of starting a church investment club to finance its purchase or construction.Susie’s innovative, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to individual and community self-sufficiency has received broad local, state, and national recognition.
She was honored as One of Wisconsin’s Ten Most Admired Senior Citizens in 1991; Milwaukee County Senior Citizen Hall of Fame Awardee – 1998; other local recognition awards include Black Women’s Network, Inc., and Community Recognition and Appreciation Celebration, “Gathering Flowers For The Master’s Bouquet”, given March 28, 2003. Harrington passed away in September of 2010, but her many legacies live on, in the form of books she authored, organizations she helped found and a church she helped build.