March 28, 2017

Dr. Roger Wilkins, Robinson Professor Emeritus of History and American Culture, passed away at the age of 85

The Robinson Professors office is saddened by the news that Dr. Roger Wilkins has passed away on March 26 at the age of 85.

“Roger W. Wilkins, a ranking Justice Department official during the 1960s who later composed Pulitzer Prize-winning editorials about the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post and wrote unsparingly about the conflicts and burdens he experienced as a black man in positions of influence, died March 26 at a nursing home in Kensington, Md. He was 85.

The cause was complications from dementia, said his daughter Elizabeth Wilkins.

In a career that traversed law, journalism and education, Mr. Wilkins made matters of race and poverty central to his work as an assistant attorney general in the Johnson administration and later as one of the first black editorial board members at The Post and the New York Times.

By kinship or friendship, he was linked to many black leaders of the civil rights era. Roy Wilkins, who led the NAACP from 1955 to 1977, was an uncle. In law school, Roger Wilkins was an intern for Thurgood Marshall, then director-counsel of the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund and later a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

He left the Times in 1979 and remained involved in public affairs as a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, a professor of history and American culture at George Mason University, a commentator in print and broadcast media, and a publisher of the NAACP’s journal, the Crisis, from 1998 to 2010.”

Taken from the Washington Post.