Dante Navarro left Mexico for Chicago in the 1940s, then ended up in a place where the Latino population was – and still is – scarce: Milwaukee.

As one of the first Latinos to call the city home, he wanted to unify the small but growing Hispanic community that ended in the city in search of manufacturing or agricultural jobs.

"When he first arrived in Milwaukee, he said there didn't seem to be too much here for Latinos, so he started thinking someone should take the lead and get a group together," Lupe Martinez of the United Migrant Opportunity Services Inc. told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Navarro, who died last Thursday at the age of 93, became a prominent community activist in the city.

He helped form the Mexican-American political and education committee, a social committee to create change and opportunity within the Latino community.  He also helped form the League of United Latin American Citizens in Wisconsin, started a Hispanic Credit Union and the Latin American Chamber of Commerce

When it came to migrant farmworker rights or bilingual programs or the police department’s treatment of Latinos, Navarro’s presence was there supporting Latino rights.

He was the first Latino to run for state Assembly and inspired other minorities to run for political office.

"He was adventuresome," his wife of 63 years, Ines, told the Journal-Sentinel. "Everyone talked about the United States. He wanted to see what it was all about."

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