Bronzeville district street named for black pioneer William Finlayson

The Milwaukee road between West Capitol Drive and West Walnut Street — formerly North 5th Street — will now be known as Dr. William Finlayson Street.

Finlayson, a beloved obstetrician and gynecologist who has practiced for nearly 40 years, has welcomed thousands of infants worldwide. The Florida-born doctor became the first black OB-GYN to work at St. Joseph’s Hospital, now Ascension Southeast Wisconsin Hospital – St. Joseph.

Along with delivering thousands of babies, Finlayson was a champion for ending housing discrimination, financial literacy, and preserving black history.

In light of his indelible impact on the community, Common Council voted on Tuesday to rename the street in honor of Finlayson, where Alderman Russell Stamper III described Finlayson as a legend in the city, county and country. .

Dr William Finlayson, shown in 1964.

Alderman Milele Coggs echoed that sentiment, saying, “Dr. Finlayson’s impact and influence are felt through the lives and works of so many in the city of Milwaukee, and I am honored to have a street in Bronzeville named after him.

Early influences shaped Finlayson’s path

Although he was born in 1924, at a time when overt racism hampered the advancement of many African Americans, Finlayson’s success was in many ways predictable due to his personal drive and early influences, according to an oral history he gave in 2008.

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