2013 Black Excellence Awards Law Honoree Atty. Roy B. Evans

March 15, 2013
Attorney Roy B. Evans

Attorney Roy B. Evan

Attorney Roy B. Evans is a lover. He loves his community. He loves his wife of 45 years, Georgia. He loves the work he does. He loves life. Roy believes in his community and his generous philanthropic way is how he expresses his support. Roy also sits on the board of Northcott Neighborhood House, the City of Milwaukee Board of Review-Property Tax Assessor Appeals, the USA Boxing Association, and Repairers of the Breach homeless shelter. He teaches civics to young people so that “they learn how to use the system instead of being used by the system.” A lifelong educator and attorney, Roy’s attention currently is turned to a book he is writing about the things his grandmother from Mississippi, Maude Harris, used to tell him but he didn’t listen to; in other words, little nuggets of influence. “Do not do things for awards, do them for the rewarding experiences,” she would say. And these are words Roy Bradford Evans has lived by his entire life.

Born in a trailer camp for Black G.I.’s, Roy’s dad was in the Navy after WWII and they lived in Lapham Park (as the camp was known) until a home opened up in an “appropriate neighborhood.” They lived on 13th and Vine Streets and growing up in Bronzeville was one of the greatest experiences for Roy. There they had a strong social life, a vibrant economic life, people spoke to each other everywhere-from the porch to the store and on the streets. That was until the interstate highway came through and broke the cohesiveness of the community apart. “And that connected feeling has never been recovered,” Roy says.

Roy attended North Division High School where he received his diploma, then went on to study at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, and Mt. St. Paul College in Waukesha; received his BA in secondary education – English from Dominican College in Racine; his MS in educational supervision and instruction from UW-Milwaukee (‘76); and his Juris Doctor of Law from the UW-Madison (‘79). He has spent his career dedicated to teaching, including being an academic advisor; has taught in more than 50 MPS schools; and practicing law, from an associate to partner and practicing privately, all while staying involved heavily in his hometown. He’s been recognized by the Board of Governors, is a Who’s Who Among America’s University Students, was noted as one of the 100 most influential Blacks in Milwaukee, received the Ray and Ethel Brown Law Prize and was honored by both CYD and Men We Love.

A man who knows how to balance work and life, Roy is a devoted father to Jeri, Lonrae, and Roi; and cherishes his three grandchildren Antoine, Auriel and Myles; and he enjoys writing, golf, the arts, community empowerment activities, and traveling in his spare time. He has visited throughout the US and as far as Japan, Finland, and Russia. One of the clearest memories of travel that made the biggest impact on Roy when he was younger, were the times he was sent down south for the summer. Roy’s grandmother Maude Harris would toil the land and his grandfather Oscar Harris, Jr. was a math teacher but could not teach math because he was Black, and the only work he could get was as a janitor in the white church—a church he could not enter through the front door. When Roy became old enough to vote and he’d enter the voting booth and see that there was no one on the ballot he wanted, Roy proudly wrote in “Oscar Harris, Jr.” and “Maude Harris.”

“I balance it all selfishly,” Roy says. “I am the center of my universe and I have to be in control. At 65, I am ever evolving and I love life.”