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Renovated building in Harambee named after community activists Reuben and Mildred Harpole

October 12, 2021
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Melissa Zygowicz - CBS 58

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) –   A building in the heart of Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood was given a new name Tuesday, Oct. 12.

The newly renovated building on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive near Concordia is now known as the “Harpole Building.” It is named after Reuben Harpole and his late wife Mildred. They were both pioneers and big activists in Milwaukee. Reuben continues that fight today.

“Mildred and Reuben are such tremendous assets to our community,” Daniel Bader said.

The Harpoles fought for justice in Milwaukee for decades and lived in the Harambee neighborhood.

“One of the things they believed more than anything else was that every person is important, and that every person is beautiful and every person has value,” Bader said.

Daniel Bader is the president and owner of Bader Philanthropies. He purchased the building back in 2017 and transformed it through rehabilitation. He said he knew immediately this building should be dedicated to the Harpoles and the work they have done for the African American community.

“This building represents that. It represents a place where we can all get together and get to know each other and realize that we are all beautiful,” Bader said.

The building was formally a church. Inside now holds a coffee shop and jazz café, wellness center and a Chinese medicine shop.

“This place is about community and health,” Bader said.

Reuben Harpole said it is an honor to have a building dedicated to him and his wife. He wants this to be a place where people in the Harambee neighborhood can come together.

“And then work to help build a greater Milwaukee,” he said. “My wife was a fantastic person. She motivated me.”