The Assembly today backed the Legislative Black Caucus’ Black History Month resolution highlighting seven people, including the state’s first Black woman to become a major general in the U.S. Army Reserve and its first Black appeals court judge.

Legislators in a voice vote approved the measure. It is the first time since 2018 that the GOP-controlled Assembly has approved a Black History Month resolution authored by the Legislative Black Caucus after versions in past years included people that Republicans have considered controversial, such as former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, of Milwaukee, or Jacob Blake, whose shooting by a white police officer was followed by violent protests in Kenosha.

Dem Rep. Dora Drake, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, said there was no conscious decision by members to avoid listing people who have drawn GOP opposition previously. The seven people listed were all submitted by caucus members for inclusion.

Drake, who said “it’s been a long time coming” in a floor speech, specifically thanked GOP Reps. Loren Oldenburg, R-Viroqua, Ron Tusler, R-Town of Delafield, and Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, for their bipartisan work to move the measure toward the finish line.

“Even though it is the month of March, it still speaks truth that Black history is American history,” the Milwaukee Dem said. “Not just February, but every single month and every day.”

Those listed on the draft resolution are:

*Elisterine Clayton, who with her husband helped build one of the longest-standing Black middle-class neighborhoods in Milwaukee.
*Torre Johnson Sr., the founder of X-Men United, an AAU basketball program, and a longtime youth advocate.
*Gab Taylor, a community activity in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood.
*Paul Higginbotham, who was the first Black judge to serve on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
*Marcia Anderson, the first Black woman to become a major general in the U.S. Army Reserve and a native of Beloit.
*Alonzo Robinson Jr., Wisconsin’s first Black registered architect.
*Dr. William Rogers, a historian and educator who helped form the Black Radio Network.

The fight over the Legislative Black Caucus’ resolution to highlight Black history in Wisconsin has drawn national headlines on occasion.

Republicans last year instead of approving a similar measure that included Kaepernick, who was one of the first NFL players to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against Black people, approved a resolution co-authored by Wisconsin’s only Black Republican state lawmaker.

Sen. Julian Bradley’s resolution didn’t seek to honor anyone by name, but it did mention the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the first references to African descendants in Wisconsin.

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