Eugene Parks was found dead at his home early Monday morning. The Dane County Coroner says he died of natural causes.
Eugene Parks was an historic figure in Madison politics. He would speak his mind and wasn't afraid to verbally "mix it up" with city leaders if he felt there was an injustice being done.
Parks was Madison's first African-American alderperson, and later became the first director of the city's Affirmative Action office.
He was fired from his city job in 1988 and took the city to court in a high profile case. Parks won and was reinstated to a different department.
Eugene Parks made two unsuccessful bids for mayor in 1988 and 1999.
Madison's current head of the Affirmative Action Department, Enis Ragland, says Parks was very passionate about his city.
Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz released a statement saying, "Whether you agreed with him or not, Gene Parks made a lasting contribution to our city. His voice in Madison's civic debate will be missed."
Friends said Parks had been sick recently. Eugene Parks was 57.
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