Wilkins, Roy

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Wilkins, Roy

Roy Wilkins, 1901–81, American social reformer and civil-rights leader, b. St. Louis, Mo.; grad. Univ. of Minnesota (B.A., 1923). While a student, Wilkins served as secretary of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Upon graduation, he joined the Kansas City (Mo.) Call, a black weekly newspaper, and was its managing editor until 1931, when he became assistant executive secretary of the NAACP and editor of its official magazine, The Crisis. In 1955 he became executive secretary of the NAACP and in 1965, when the title of the position was changed, executive director, a position he held until 1977. In 1963 he helped organize the historic civil-rights march on Washington, D.C. Devoted to the principle of nonviolence, Wilkins came under increasing attack in the 1960s and early 70s from more militant blacks.

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