Dane County Board Recognizes Black History Month

February 22, 2019
Supervisor Shelia Stubbs 608.345-6961
County Board

At their meeting Thursday evening, the Dane County Board of Supervisors recognized Black History Month with a resolution celebrating the achievements of notable people of African descent from Dane County and Wisconsin.


Black History Month provides a deliberate opportunity to reflect on the common humanity underlying all people and to raise awareness and foster respect for the heritage and contributions of people of African descent.


“I am honored to have been able to share this resolution with the Dane County Board, and to shine a light on the contributions of people of African descent or African Americans,” said Supervisor Shelia Stubbs, who also serves as the Dane County’s first black lawmaker in the Wisconsin Legislature.


“As I worked on this resolution, and on a list of key individuals in our history, I was struck by how many “first” and “only” examples continue to happen, even though we are now well in to the 21st century,” said Stubbs.  “For example:


  • Judge Paul Higginbotham – Former Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, who retired in 2017, is the first and only African American to serve on the court;

  • Vanessa McDowell – First African American President/CEO of the YWCA Madison;
  • District Attorney Ismael Ozanne – First African American District Attorney in Wisconsin, currently serving as Dane County’s District Attorney; and
  • Carolyn Stanford Taylor — Wisconsin's first African American State Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction.”

Among other Dane County people recognized were:

  • Milele Chikasa Anana — Publisher, UMOJA Magazine, a monthly journal of positive, encouraging news about African American people and opportunities in Madison, a civil rights activist, business leader, and former city of Madison affirmative action officer, and the first African American elected to the Madison school board;

  • Clifton Lareece Gaines - former professional basketball player, who played at Madison West High School, and is current assistant coach at Eastern Kentucky University;

The resolution also drew attention to notable people who had a connection to Wisconsin, in general.  Among those recognized in the Dane County Black History Month resolution was Colin Kaepernick, American football player and activist who knelt during the playing of the national anthem prior to games as a protest against  racial injustice and systematic oppression in the country.