Boys & Girls Club President proposes naming Fitchburg City Hall after former mayor

Huntley-Cooper, who served as Fitchburg mayor from 1991 to 1993, is the first and only African-American woman elected to lead a Wisconsin city.
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 5:33 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2021 at 5:50 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Michael Johnson, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Dane County and former Fitchburg resident wrote a letter to Fitchburg Mayor Aaron Richardson Monday proposing the Fitchburg City Hall be named after former Fitchburg mayor Frances Huntley-Cooper.

According to Johnson, Huntley-Cooper, who served as Fitchburg mayor from 1991 to 1993, is the first and only African-American woman elected to lead a Wisconsin city. Johnson said he has seen the impact that Huntley-Cooper has made on the Fitchburg community and recommends the City Council take a vote to name the municipal building in Huntley-Cooper’s honor.

“I believe if approved she would become the first Black woman in Wisconsin to have a municipal building named after her and will probably be one of only a few in the country,” Johnson said. “It’s important for her work to be acknowledged and celebrated by the city.”

According to Johnson, Huntley-Cooper accomplishments include:

  • Frances Huntley-Cooper served as District 1 Alderwoman in Fitchburg for four years beginning in 1987, during which time she chaired the finance and personnel committees.
  • She was elected as a Barack Obama delegate to the 2008 Democratic Convention. In January 2009, she attended the inauguration of the US 44th President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.
  • Huntley-Cooper is actively involved in community organizations in Dane County, Wisconsin. She is a charter member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority – Kappa Psi Omega chapter – and served as president from 2009 to 2012. She is on the board for the Capital City Hues newspaper. She has been honored as a YWCA Women of Distinction. Huntley-Cooper is also a recipient of Wisconsin Women in Government, Inc. - Woman of Achievement.
  • Huntley-Cooper served five years as president of the Madison branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as Chair of Madison College for six years and as the Past President of TEMPO Madison. The Urban League of Greater Madison recently recognized Huntley-Cooper with the Impact Award from Young Professionals (2015) and the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award (2017).
  • Huntley-Cooper had a 28-year career in social services as a social work supervisor for the Dane County Department of Human Services working with children, youth and families across the county including the City of Fitchburg.

Johnson said that with recent and past civil unrest happening in Wisconsin, recognizing Huntley-Cooper’s contributions as a representative of the African-American community is even more prevalent.

“There is an abundance of stories and written materials about Frances Huntley-Cooper’s contributions to your city. I hope you will consider passing a resolution naming your City Hall after her as she is a beloved trailblazer, role model and leader in our region. Furthermore, I don’t believe there are any buildings named after African Americans in your city and this is an opportunity to change that!”

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