Ray A. Alexander Papers, 1972-1988


Ray A. Alexander began work as the executive director of the Afro Urban Institute, Inc. in 1970. Prior to that time, Alexander was employed in various capacities in the city of Milwaukee after obtaining a B.A. in Sociology (1950) at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, and an M.A. in Urban Affairs (1969) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His occupations included Employment Interviewer (1955-1964), Housing and Sanitation Inspector I (1955-1964), and Community Relations Director (1965-1969), where he participated in the planning of the National Black Economic Development Conference, the Milwaukee Economic Development Institute, and helped organize and develop the Afro Urban Institute. Alexander's role extended beyond the financial and educational support of minority business owners. He also helped design and implement the Career Opportunity Preparation program, aimed at children between seventh and ninth grade, to create awareness of career opportunities for African Americans, and was a part-time lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Business Administration beginning in 1973. The Afro Urban Institute continues to exist in Milwaukee. During the 1970s the Afro Urban Institute's goals included promoting positive economic development of Milwaukee's inner city north to expand economic opportunities and employment. They did this through assisting minority entrepreneurial development and coordinating services with the Small Business Administration and the Office of Minority Business Enterprises, and its two Milwaukee affiliates, the Economic Development Center and the Northside Community Design Center. In addition, they supported funding for northern Milwaukee redevelopment groups including Third and North Coalition, Halyard Park, Misericordia Community Hospital, the Southeastern Minority Purchasing Council, and Tal-N-Art, an advocacy group for African American artists.