Milton Coleman named Inaugural UWM Alumni Fellow
By Lynda L. Jones
What a way to highlight the celebration of Black History Month as UW-Milwaukee bestowed its Inaugural Alumni Fellow Award to Milwaukee’s own Milton Coleman. Coleman, currently senior editor of the Washington Post came to the city this week to not only accept this honor, but also share his journalism expertise with UW-Milwaukee Journalism students, and the local press. He participated in a panel discussion regarding Education, with Milwaukee journalists at the Milwaukee Press Club. And he later visited classrooms at UWM to speak with students.
Coleman went out of his way to include The Milwaukee Courier Newspaper when talking about his start in journalism. He stated often, “Jerrel Jones and The Milwaukee Courier took a chance on me, and gave me my jump start into this field.”
Coleman graduated from UWM in 1968 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music History and Literature. At the suggestion of a friend he came to The Courier to inquire about writing. He says that he actually approached a young lady working at The Milwaukee Star (a sister paper to The Courier), and she told him that she had to cover a concert. She was nervous about doing it, so to get a date Coleman said that he would write it on her behalf. Once the review was written, the editor a very serious Walter Jones praised the young lady on her writing. She ended up coming clean, and admitted that Coleman had written it. Jones hired him on the spot.
Coleman said that he learned a lot under the direction of various Milwaukee Courier legends that included in addition to the two Joneses (Jerrel, publisher, Walter, editor); Carole Malone, managing editor, Dave Novak, city editor and photographer Kenneth Lumpkin.
He shared that when President Obama was elected, he was placed in charge of the front page of The Washington Post, and as he made his photo selection he literally thought about Kenneth Lumpkin and what went into making that selection. The paper sold out.
Coleman’s wife Dr. Faye E. Coleman joined him in Milwaukee for his honor, the two met either in Atlanta or North Carolina depending on who is telling the story. But whoever is right, they are still together and live in Washington, D.C.