We are saddened to learn of the passing of Milele Chikasa Anana, a prominent leader in Madison’s Black community and mentor to so many, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 86.
For three decades, Ms. Milele was publisher and editor of UMOJA, a monthly magazine highlighting achievements and positive stories in Madison’s Black community. She transformed the two-page newsletter created in 1990 into a 52-page monthly publication–the oldest Black-owned magazine in Wisconsin. Through UMOJA, Milele told the positive stories of so many in the community.
She was a trailblazer: a City of Madison Affirmative Action Officer and the first African American elected to the Madison school board. In later years, she helped create a directory of Black-owned businesses with the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce.
In 2009, she was awarded the City of Madison’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, preferring to miss the celebration in order to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
We dug into the WORT archive, to hear Ms. Milele in conversation with former Tuesday 8 O’Clock Buzz host Aaron Perry about the vision and legacy of UMOJA Magazine.
(Cover photo courtesy UMOJA Magazine)