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Roger Wilkins

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Information about Roger Wilkins

Profile image of Roger Wilkins

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Columnist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Rocky Mountains, Wyoming, Montana
Favorite Quote:
Mooney Fooney.

Birthplace

Born:
3/25/1932
Birth Location:
Kansas City, Missouri

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Columnist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Rocky Mountains, Wyoming, Montana
Favorite Quote:
Mooney Fooney.

Birthplace

Born:
3/25/1932
Birth Location:
Kansas City
See how Roger Wilkins is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished professor Roger Wilkins was born in 1932 in Kansas City, Missouri. His father, a business manager with a prominent black paper, The Kansas City Call, died when Wilkins was a child and the family moved to New York and then to Michigan, where Wilkins spent most of his formative years.

Wilkins attended the University of Michigan, receiving his B.A. in 1953 and his J.D. in 1956, interning with Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund. Following graduation, Wilkins worked in several capacities as an advocate for justice. Beginning his career as a caseworker in the Ohio Welfare Department, Wilkins went on to work for the U.S. Agency for International Development and then as assistant attorney general under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Wilkins' interest in legal issues and equality stems partially from his family's background. His uncle, Roy Wilkins, was executive secretary of the NAACP from 1955 to 1977.

In 1972, Wilkins began writing for the editorial page of The Washington Post just as the Watergate scandal was breaking. His critically informed editorials about the issues leading up to President Richard Nixon's resignation won him a shared Pulitzer Prize, along with reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and cartoonist Herb Block. He then moved to The New York Times, where he served as the first African American on its editorial board as well as a columnist. Subsequently, Wilkins worked for the Institute for Policy Studies, The Washington Star, National Public Radio and CBS Radio. He continues to be a major commentator and analyst on American public policy and social justice issues.

Wilkins was a history professor at George Mason University. He was also the author of several books, including A Man's Life (1982), Quiet Riots (1988) with Fred Harris, and Jefferson's Pillow (2001). In addition, Wilkins was the publisher of the NAACP's journal, The Crisis.

Wilkins passed away March 26, 2017.

See how Roger Wilkins is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roger Wilkins interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roger Wilkins's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roger Wilkins discusses his family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roger Wilkins discusses his father, uncle and aunt
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roger Wilkins discusses Marvel Cooke
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roger Wilkins shares his favorite childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roger Wilkins pays tribute to his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roger Wilkins discusses his great-grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Roger Wilkins describes his uncle
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Roger Wilkins as an integrationist
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Roger Wilkins explains his parents' socioeconomic status
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Roger Wilkins discusses his mother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roger Wilkins discusses his maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roger Wilkins discusses his mother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roger Wilkins reflects on his father's death
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roger Wilkins describes New York during his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roger Wilkins discusses his mother's strength
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roger Wilkins discusses his stepfather
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roger Wilkins discusses his mother's accomplishments
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Roger Wilkins describes childhood in Harlem, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Roger Wilkins describes adolescence in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roger Wilkins discusses the death of his stepuncle
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roger Wilkins mentions his educational attainment
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roger Wilkins describes his neighborhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roger Wilkins describes his relationship with his father and stepfather
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roger Wilkins reflects on his personal growth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roger Wilkins discusses Harriet Tubman
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Roger Wilkins discusses Jackie Robinson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Roger Wilkins discusses color prejudice among African Americans
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Roger Wilkins attends the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Roger Wilkins describes racial relations at the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Roger Wilkins attempts to enlist in the United States Air Force
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roger Wilkins describes race relations at the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roger Wilkins discusses Communists at the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roger Wilkins discusses his inclination toward civil rights
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roger Wilkins discusses his law career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roger Wilkins marries his first wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roger Wilkins mentions his introduction to the New York law firm
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Roger Wilkins discusses the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Roger Wilkins discusses the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Roger Wilkins works in the United States Justice Department
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Roger Wilkins attempts to balance government job with civil rights goals
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Roger Wilkins discusses J. Edgar Hoover
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Roger Wilkins discusses his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roger Wilkins discusses his governmental role in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Roger Wilkins discusses John F. Kennedy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Roger Wilkins discusses Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Roger Wilkins describes the Gridiron Dinner of 1970
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Roger Wilkins reflects on his ability to make change
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Roger Wilkins reflects on honor
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Roger Wilkins receives the Pulitzer Prize
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Roger Wilkins joins the 'New York Times'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Roger Wilkins reflects on his career as a journalist
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Roger Wilkins reflects on his depression
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Roger Wilkins joins discrimination lawsuit against the 'New York Times'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Roger Wilkins leaves the 'New York Times'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Roger Wilkins works with Nelson Mandela
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Roger Wilkins discusses recent career opportunities
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Roger Wilkins reflects on his commitment to the black cause
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Roger Wilkins describes his hopes and fears for the black community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Roger Wilkins reflects on making his father proud
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Roger Wilkins describes his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Roger Wilkins with students at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, 2000
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Photo - Roger Wilkins's daughter, Amy Wilkins at age six, Washington, D.C., ca. 1968
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Photo - Graduation photo of Roger Wilkins's father, Earl Wilkins, from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1926
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Photo - Roger Wilkins with his father, Earl Wilkins, Kansas City, Missouri, ca. 1939
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Photo - Roger Wilkins with mother and family members, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Photo - Roger Wilkins and his second wife, Patricia King, on their wedding day, Norfolk, Virginia, February, 1981
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Photo - Roger Wilkins is sworn in as Director of the United States Community Relations Service, Washington, D.C., January, 1966
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Photo - Roger Wilkins in a receiving line with President Lyndon B. Johnson, Thurgood Marshall and others, Washington, D.C., ca. 1960s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Photo - Newspaper photo of Roger Wilkins with Edward Kennedy, Lee Bollinger, and Tom Daschle, Washington, D.C., 2003
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Photo - Newspaper clipping announcing Roger Wilkins appointment as Director of the Community Relations Service, 1965
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Roger Wilkins discusses his son