Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Friday, July 24, 2020

Huntley-Cooper leads off Women Who Inspire

Frances Huntley-Cooper Frances Huntley-Cooper

The Committee to Celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of Wisconsin’s Ratification of the 19th Amendment selected Frances Huntley-Cooper (MA, 1994) for its inaugural Women Who Inspire award.

Huntley-Cooper was the first African American elected as a mayor in Wisconsin, leading the Madison suburb of Fitchburg from 1991 to 1993. She remains the only African American mayor elected in the state. She serves as chair for the NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, is a lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., is chair of Madison College Board of Trustees and is a founding member of the NAACP of Dane County.

The Women Who Inspire initiative celebrates the 100th anniversary of Wisconsin’s ratification of the 19th amendment in 1919, becoming the first state to approve national women’s suffrage.

“As we celebrate women’s vote, we recognize there is work still to be done,” said Committee Chair and Wisconsin First Lady Kathy Evers. “That’s why the Committee chose to recognize women who are working today for social change and increasing parity for women and girls in Wisconsin.”

Throughout her career Huntley-Cooper has been enjoyed giving back. Her passions include youth and promoting equal opportunity. In her Women Who Inspire profile, she said “My degree and profession were in social work so I saw gaps in various systems. Youth without support and guidance or various systems that didn’t work for people of color.”

In a recent interview with Spectrum News 1, Huntley-Cooper said she has been proud to serve Dane County.

“I have to give Fitchburg a shoutout, I have to give Dane County a shoutout, and all the friends who supported me,” she said. “I had people who didn’t really know me, it just surprised me that I had so much support. That’s why I’m still so active in the community, I believe in giving back.”

Huntley-Cooper received her master’s degree in social work from UW–Madison in 1974.

- written by Peter Mosher