Roy Wilkins was a prominent activist in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the 1930s to the 1970s. He is most notable for his role and leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Read these other intriguing facts about prominent civil rights activist Roy Wilkins:
1. Born in 1901 in St. Louis, Missouri, the grandson of slaves. His mother died when he was five years old, and his father was unable to manage the family. Wilkins therefore grew up under the care of an aunt and uncle in St. Paul, Minnesota.
2. Enrolled at the University of Minnesota in 1919, and supported himself with odd jobs including night editor of the school newspaper, the Minnesota Daily.
3. Member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity while at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with a degree in sociology in 1923.
4. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for impacting the outcome of pivotal events, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
5. Served on the NAACP as assistant executive secretary, executive secretary and eventually, the executive director, a post he held for 22 years before retiring.
6. Succeeded W.E.B. DuBois as editor of Crisis Magazine, the NAACP’s official publication.
7. Testified before numerous congressional hearings, wrote for several publications and was an advisor to United States presidents including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
8. Instrumental in leading campaigns for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
9. Received numerous national accolades for his determined, yet peaceful efforts. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson bestowed Wilkins with the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
10. Died in 1981, leaving an incomparable legacy behind him. Under his leadership, the United States passed most of the pivotal civil rights legislation that would drive the subsequent evolution of a more just society.