Rhetoric, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965

By Davis W. Houck; David E. Dixon | Go to book overview
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§14 Roy Wilkins

Roy Wilkins was born August 30, 1901 in St. Louis, Missouri. Throughout his childhood, Wilkins lived in a largely integrated section of St. Paul, Minnesota; most of his playmates, close friends, and teachers were white. His experiences growing up in an integrated society allowed him to see the positive effects of integration. While attending the University of Minnesota, Wilkins’s interest in advocacy led him to pursue an education in journalism and community affairs. While matriculating, Wilkins served as a secretary with a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1923, Wilkins began his career as a reporter and editor, first with Minnesota papers and later with the Kansas City Call.

Not long after marrying Aminda Badeau in 1934, he was appointed editor of the NAACP’s national magazine, The Crisis; he replaced the legendary W. E. B. DuBois. While working with the NAACP, Wilkins organized a boycott of segregated theaters and advocated nonviolent political action to achieve equal rights for

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