Ardie Clark Halyard

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Ardie Clark Halyard
Photo portrait African American woman wearing pink ruffled blouse and glasses with short cropped black hair.
Halyard in 1982
Born1896 (1896)
Died1989 (aged 92–93)
EducationAtlanta University
OccupationBusinesswoman, banker
Employer(s)Goodwill Industries, Columbia Savings and Loan
OrganizationNational Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Ardie A. Clark Halyard (1896  – 1989) was a banker, activist and first woman president of the Milwaukee chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Early life[edit]

Halyard was born in Covington, Georgia.[1] She was the daughter of a sharecropper.[2] Halyard graduated with a degree in education from Atlanta University.[2] She married Wilbur Halyard in 1920.[1] She and her husband lived in Beloit for some time, where they started a NAACP branch there.[3] In 1923, she and her husband moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[2] At the time when they had moved to Milwaukee, they discovered white realtors "openly discussed strategies to restrict the city's black population" to certain areas of town.[4]


In 1925, she and her husband co-founded the first black-owned savings and loan in Milwaukee, Columbia Savings and Loan Association.[1] The couple opened the savings and loan with a single ten-dollar bill.[5] This bank allowed black people to apply for loans without facing racial discrimination.[5] It was "virtually impossible for blacks to obtain a mortgage so they could purchase a home" at the time.[3] To make the savings and loan a success, neither she nor Wilbur Halyard "drew a salary" for the first 10 years.[2] Halyard worked as a director at Goodwill Industries for 20 years, while at the same time acting as "bookkeeper and secretary for Columbia."[3] By the late 1960s, their Columbia's assets were valued at $4 million.[6]

Halyard became the first woman president of the Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP in 1951.[5] During her time as president, she "increased dues-paying membership from 39 to 1,416 people."[4] She remained active in the NAACP in other capacities, often as treasurer.[7][8][9] She was also a member of the Wisconsin Governor's Commission on the Status of Women.[10][11]


In 1983 she was awarded the Public Service Recognition Award from the United Negro College Fund.[12]

As part of her legacy, there is a park, city street and neighborhood, Halyard Park, named after her and her husband in Milwaukee.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b c "Historical Figures". The Making of Milwaukee. Milwaukee Public Television. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Resler, Jerry (17 February 1989). "Ardie Halyard Was a True Pioneer". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Blackwell, Edward H. (25 September 1974). "Columbia S&L: A Black Success". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b Dougherty, Jack (2004). More Than One Struggle: The Evolution of Black School Reform in Milwaukee. The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 42–43. ISBN 9780807863466. Columbia Savings and Loan Association halyard.
  5. ^ a b c "Ardie Clark Halyard". Wisconsin Women Making History. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  6. ^ Thompson, William F. (2013). Continuity and Change, 1940-1965: History of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Historical Society Press. p. 316. ISBN 9780870206337.
  7. ^ "State NAACP Renames Young As President". Madison Capital Times. 29 May 1965. Retrieved 15 February 2016 – via Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "Racine Official NAACP Chief". Madison Wisconsin State Journal. 24 May 1973. Retrieved 15 February 2016 – via Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "State NAACP Re-Elects White". Racine Journal Times. 24 May 1977. Retrieved 15 February 2016 – via Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "10 Wisconsin Women Overlooked by History". Wisconsin Historical Society. 2020-02-27. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  11. ^ "Senator Tammy Baldwin, former Israel Prime Minister Golda Meir among influential women on Wisconsin list". Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  12. ^ "People of Milwaukee". Milwaukee PBS. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  13. ^ "Project Discovery: The life, legacy of Ardie Clark Halyard". TMJ4. 2021-02-26. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  14. ^ "These Are the Women Who Made Milwaukee". Milwaukee Magazine. 2019-10-28. Retrieved 2021-04-12.

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