Today, as part of the sixth annual Bronzeville Week, City of Milwaukee officials and residents gathered on 4th Street and North Avenue to celebrate the late Vel Phillips by renaming North 4th Street, from St. Paul Avenue to Capitol Drive, in her honor.
Phillips – a trailblazing lawyer, judge, politician and civil rights activist – died in April at age 95.
Among those on hand to pay tribute were Mayor Tom Barrett and Alds. Milele Coggs, Russell Stamper, II and Mark Borkowski, and U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore. Phillips' son Michael was also present.
"The street’s renaming will serve as a memorial to Vel R. Phillips’ advocacy for social justice, fair housing and civil rights," said Coggs in a statement issued Tuesday morning.
Prior to unveiling of N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. street sign @alderwomancoggs delivered eloquent remarks about the positive impact Ms. Phillips has had on MKE pic.twitter.com/aBCNZpycYc — MKE Common Council (@MKE_CC) August 7, 2018
Vel Phillips was a giant. She was unwavering in her fight for civil rights and she inspired decades of change in our city. Today we renamed Fourth Street to Vel Phillips Avenue so that her name and legacy are remembered by generations to come. pic.twitter.com/JYHdjxyPyK — Mayor Tom Barrett (@MayorOfMKE) August 7, 2018
@alderwomancoggs joined by @MayorOfMKE , Ald. Stamper, Ald. Borkowski, and Micheal Phillips for historic street renaming for Vel R. Phillips an iconic MKE leader and fighter. pic.twitter.com/wZEVEsA5mD — City of Milwaukee (@cityofmilwaukee) August 7, 2018
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.