(University of Michigan Law School)
The NAACP mourns the loss of civil rights defender Roger Wilkins.
The nephew of long time NAACP executive director Roy Wilkins and former publisher of The Crisis Magazine, Roger Wilkins served in several high-profiled positions in the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, including Assistant Attorney General.
“Roger was a very important member of the NAACP family and multigenerational in his impact on the continued struggle for civil and human rights, he will be missed” said NAACP Chairman Leon W. Russell.
Born into segregation, early on Roger Wilkins felt it was his duty to help shift the dynamics for communities of color. He was truly a leader and a man of servitude. Wilkins knew what it took to craft Pulitzer-Prize winning editorials that informed and enlightened the minds of many.
A well-respected intellectual, Wilkins served as intern for former NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Director, Thurgood Marshall, Jr. the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, who became a mentor for him.
“The passing of Roger Wilkins represents an incredible loss. His elegant words and the eloquence of his example in journalism, government, the academy and public service will be long remembered. He leaves behind a Renaissance body of work in civil rights. He was a self-described ‘blue chip black’ whose efforts over many decades made life better for Americans from all walks of life,” said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks. ”said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.
Wilkins later became one of the first African-American editorial board members for The Washington Post and New York Times. No, stranger to barriers, Wilkins gracefully overcame any obstacles in his path. The former chairman and publisher of The Crisis Publishing Company, Inc., which publishes The Crisis, the official publication of the NAACP, Wilkins also served as the Clarence J. Robinson professor of History and American Culture at George Mason University in Virginia.
The NAACP salutes and honors Roger Wilkins for a life well lived.