Marcia Coggs, the first black woman state representative of Wisconsin, died on Dec. 9. Cause of death was not released. She was 75.
Coggs graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and spent 13 years working for the former Milwaukee County Children’s Home. She was elected to the 18th Assembly District in Milwaukee in 1977.
During her 16 years in the state legislature, Coggs focused on housing, education and integration issues. She was also the first black person to sit on the state legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. The 4-foot-10 Democrat retired in the early 1990s.
The Coggs family have long served the people of Wisconsin. Her husband, Isaac, served in the Assembly from 1953 to 1963. Her nephew, Leon Young, has been a Democratic state representative since 1992; her other nephew, G. Spencer Coggs, won a seat in the state Senate in November after serving as a state representative since 1983.
The human services building in Milwaukee County will be renamed in her honor in 2004.