Today, Congresswoman Gwen Moore’s (WI-04) bill to designate the facility of the US Post Office located at 2650 North Doctor Martin Luther King Drive in Milwaukee as the “Vel R. Phillips Post Office Building” passed the US House of Representatives. Last night, Congresswomen Moore delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of her bill:
Congresswoman Moore. Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the House is going to take up and, hopefully, pass legislation that I’ve introduced to honor a Wisconsin hero and one of my sheros Vel. R. Phillips. The bill would designate a post office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in her honor.
Vel was the first of so many things: the first African American and the first woman to become an Alderman in the City of Milwaukee; the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School; the first African-American judge in Milwaukee County; the first and only African American to win election statewide in Wisconsin. But her life and contributions cannot simply be summed up by adding up her many firsts. Such an approach gives short shrift of her local and national impact. For you see, Mr. Speaker, she was a soldier for social justice in the national movement for desegregation in housing and the open housing movement.
I first met Vel when I was 16 years old and she was the judge in an oratorical contest, that encounter has had a lifelong impact on me. Vel passed away earlier this year in her 90s but her legacy of love, service, and commitment lives on, and thank you so much, Mr. Speaker, for your indulgence. I yield by the balance of my time.