~Kicha~

~Kicha~

Posted on 03/03/2009


Photo taken on July 11, 1916



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Keywords

1916
Recreation
Bicyclist
African Americans
Blacks
Social issues
Civil Rights Activist
NAACP
Desegregation
Roy Wilkins
Civil Rights Act
Human rights
St. Louis
Americans
Group
People
Missouri
Males
Whites
Student
Bicycle
Vehicle
Teenager
Transportation
The Crisis Magazine


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Future Civil Rights Activist with Friends

Future Civil Rights Activist with Friends
Roy Wilkins (center) and four boyhood friends pose with their bicycles.

[b.1901 - d.1981]


Roy Wilkins, one of the most prominent leaders of the Civil Rights movement, began his career in St. Paul, Minnesota editing a small Black newspaper called the Northwest Bulletin. Before long, a larger Black weekly in Kansas City—The Call—hired him first as a reporter and columnist and later as managing editor. By 1931 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the most prominent civil rights organization at the time, took notice of the young Wilkins and brought him on board. He was made an assistant secretary and began working for The Crisis, the NAACP's monthly journal, where he quickly rose to the rank of editor.

After serving in various high administrative positions with the NAACP for twenty-four years, he was made its leader in 1955. From that post he fought for such important legislation as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act. He also held various important leadership and consulting positions outside of his NAACP duties as an advisor to the War Department (1945), a consultant to the American delegation to the U.N. Conference in San Francisco (1945), Chair of the American Delegation to the International Conference on Human Rights in Teheran (1968), and President of the Leadership Conference of Civil Rights (1969). For his work in civil rights, the NAACP awarded him the Spingarn Medal in 1964, and President Lyndon B. Johnson bestowed upon him the country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Wilkins retired in 1977 and died in 1981 at the age 80. Minnesota has several memorials in his honor: the St. Paul Civic Center Auditorium was renamed the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in 1984, and a memorial to him was erected on the Minnesota State Capitol mall in 1995.

Bio: Minnesota Historical Society

Image: © CORBIS

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