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        Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams is a multimedia educational resource designed to inspire students to explore equity and civil rights. This program's 60-minute documentary tells the story of Wisconsin civil rights activist Vel Phillips and the struggles she undertook to build a better community.

        Your students will discover how Phillips, Milwaukee’s first African American and first female alderman, rose to prominence as one of Wisconsin’s great civil rights activists boasting a list of “firsts” as part of her legacy. These include the first African American judge in Wisconsin and the first woman in the nation to hold executive office in state government. 

        Full Program | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        This documentary tells the story of one remarkable woman and the struggles she undertook to build a better community. Discover the story of civil rights activist Vel Phillips, Wisconsin's first African American woman elected secretary of state.

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        Introduction | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        Watch a brief overview of Vel Phillips’ accomplishments, including fair housing in Milwaukee.

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        Early Years | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        Vel Phillips introduces herself and shares about her early life and family.

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        Howard University | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        In her early twenties, Vel Phillips experienced discrimination during college and married her husband, Dale.

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        Law School | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        Vel Phillips and her husband faced discrimination while attending law school.

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        First Campaign | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        After opening a law office with her husband, Vel Phillips was elected to Milwaukee’s Common Council.

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        Alderwoman | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        Vel Phillips had to overcome gender and race discrimination while in office.

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        Democratic National Convention | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        In 1958, Vel Phillips was the first African American woman elected to the Democratic National Committee.

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        Road to Open Housing | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        Milwaukee residents were not allowed to buy housing in certain neighborhoods because of segregation.

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        Open Housing | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        Vel Phillips was arrested while rallying for the right to live in any neighborhood.

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        Children's Court | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        Governor Patrick Lucey appointed Vel Phillips as a children’s court judge.

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        Secretary of State | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        Vel Phillips was elected Wisconsin’s first African American Secretary of State.

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        After Secretary of State | Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams

        After her political career ended, Vel Phillips continued to work for equity and justice.

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