By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
What does it mean to be a hero? To be a hero is to have determination and spirit and grit, it’s the ability to lead the crowd through triumphs and losses and the capability to inspire and ignite hope. The city of Milwaukee was graced with such a hero in the form of Lee Holloway.
Holloway passed away last month, on March 14, at the age of 71. While his spirit lives on through his family members and friends, his character will live forever ingrained in Milwaukee.
Born on December 4, 1946, according to Legacy.com, Holloway grew up in Milwaukee. He graduated high school from Lincoln High School, obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas before returning to his home state of Wisconsin.
He went on to attend UW-Milwaukee where he received his Master of Science in developmental disabilities, according to an article on JSOnline. While Holloway was busy putting his degrees to good use as a high school counselor, he knew he wanted to do more for his city.
In 1992, he joined the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, as a representative of the Fifth District. He remained on the board until 2012, for a total of 20 consecutive years according to a video tribute by Black Nouveau.
While that fact alone is impressive enough, Holloway’s efforts to contribute to the city don’t end there. Between the years of 2004 through 2012, Holloway served as the County Board Chairman. Additionally, he was the Acting County Executive from 2010 to 2011.
Holloway was the first African American to become County Board Chairman and Acting County Executive.
As chairman, Holloway worked closely with several influential leaders and groups throughout the city. According to Honorable Marvin Pratt in the Black Nouveau video, Holloway was often referred to as the Chairman.
“It’s kind of interesting to know that when I talk to people about Lee after he passed, they would always say the Chairman,” Pratt said. “He wore that title well.”
Pratt went on to say that Lee represented both the county and the inner city well.
Although an influential member of the political side of things, Holloway was also known for his immeasurable presence within the community.
Victor Barnett of the Running Rebels spoke during the video of Holloway within the context of the community.
“When there was events he would be there,” Barnett said, alluding to the impression that not all politicians make an effort to engage the community.
While Holloway will be missed, the efforts and contributions he made to the city will remain not just a part of his legacy but a part of the foundation of Milwaukee.
As Honorable Russell Stamper Sr. commented during Black Nouveau’s tribute, Holloway brought, “strength, power, commitment, love…”
“I saw him as a man with a mission in life to bring truth and justice to the planet,” Stamper said.
Holloway remains an inspiration and example to young people everywhere that no matter one’s background or zip code, they can achieve what they set their sights on.