Vel Phillips Papers, 1951-2009
The Vel Phillips papers, 1951-2009, document the life and career of Milwaukee’s Vel Phillips, whose work as a lawyer, city alder, civil rights leader, judge, and Secretary of State profoundly influenced Wisconsin’s civil rights history throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Of particular prominence is Ms. Phillips years-long campaign to pass an open housing ordinance in Milwaukee in the 1960s.
The Vel Phillips papers provide a state-specific context for the history of African-Americans’ civil rights struggle. This topic is also documented in the Freedom Summer Digital Collection. Researchers can find further information about the Milwaukee civil rights marches at the March on Milwaukee – Civil Rights History Project, available through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Digital Collections.
How to Use the Digital Collection
For this digital collection, we have scanned entire archives boxes of material; each text item in the collection represents one full box of archival material, which can include hundreds of pages of documents.
The boxes have limited transcription of printed text, and therefore a search for keywords will return most printed text, though it will not return handwritten text.
Major project funding was provided through an endowment established by retired UW-Madison historians Allan G. Bogue and Margaret Beattie Bogue and generous grants from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation's Caroline Draves Fund and Robert J. Stark and Fredric A. Thompson Fund.