Wisconsin Biographies

The Biographies

Justice Seekers

Meet Wisconsinites from history who stood up and fought for equal rights—even when the stakes were high.
Illustration of Walter Bresette

Walter Bresette

Treaty Rights and Sovereignty


Not afraid to stand up for what he believed in, this member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa dedicated himself to protecting the rights and lands of First Nations people in Wisconsin.

Illustration of Mildred Fish-Harnack

Mildred Fish-Harnack

Germany’s Secret Hero


This courageous justice seeker’s path would take her from Milwaukee to Germany, where belief in equal rights would lead her to join the resistance working against Hitler and the Nazis.

Illustration of Carrie Frost

Carrie Frost

Fly Fishing Boss


This fly fishing phenom didn’t let her line get tangled up in the stereotypes of women of her time. She used her passion for fly fishing to start a brilliant business that put Stevens Point on the map and gave women new work opportunities.

Illustration of Joshua Glover

Joshua Glover

And the End of Slavery


This freedom seeker traveled from St. Louis, Missouri to Racine, Wisconsin, and later to Canada, aided by abolitionists and the Underground Railroad. His story is part of a series of events that led to the declaration of the end of slavery in the United States.

Illustration of Belle Case La Follette

Belle Case La Follette

Ballots and Bloomers


This activist and advisor didn’t let limiting ideas about what women could do —or uncomfortable corsets—confine her in her quest to get access to the ballot box and foster greater peace in the world.

Illustration of Chief Oshkosh

Chief Oshkosh

Leader in Troubled Times


When the United States Government’s land grabs put his people in harm’s way, this Menominee leader pushed back and proposed a new plan to protect their homeland and way of life.

Illustration of Vel Phillips and James Groppi

Vel Phillips & James Groppi

The Fight for Fair Housing


Upon learning about the school and housing discrimination happening in their hometown, these Milwaukee movers and shakers took action, making their case on the campaign trail, in the courtroom, and on the streets of their city.

Illustration of Electa Quinney teaching in a classroom in front of a blackboard

Electa Quinney

Mohican Teacher and Mentor


This educator endured hardships and injustice to lift up Native and non-Native people through her generosity and guidance.

Illustration of Milly Zantow

Milly Zantow

Recycling Revolutionary


When this problem-solver learned that a landfill in her Sauk County community was closing much earlier than it should, she got to work. Her activism and effort ended up making big changes in plastics recycling.