Reaction to death of local civil rights leader
MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee civil rights legend has died. Felmers Chaney was 94 years old. He led the local branch of the N-A-C-C-P and the Urban League.
Felmers Chaney was a guy who always stood out in a crowd. Whether it was walking the streets as the city's first black police sergeant or standing up for justice as the long time leader of Milwaukee's N-A-A-C-P.
"We want to make sure this is not a cover up," Felmers said back in 1994 after a young black male was killed by police.
He retired from the Milwaukee Police Department after more than 30 years of service.
Well known community activist Ann Wilson said if there was a civil rights issue concerning police, housing or education, Felmers Chaney was the go to guy to speak out.
"He's going to be so sorely missed in this community because down through the years he has been a bedrock of our African American community," said Wilson, manager of the Hillside Terrace Resource Center.
Even when racial tensions were high, Wilson says Chaney won over the respect of blacks and whites. 20 years ago he talked about some of those battles for equality.
"There are times when you can't tell if you're in Wisconsin or Mississippi. Justice has to be fought." said Chaney.
Chaney was a founder and president of North Milwaukee State Bank, Wisconsin's first black bank.
Governor Tommy Thompson also named a men's correctional center on North 30th after Chaney in 2000.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett remembers a man who was passionate about the city.
"A great guy,' said Barrett. "Not a shrinking violet, he would always let you know what was on your mind. and that was one of the things I appreciated most about him."