Table of Contents
Roger Wilkins papers C0212
Published by George Mason University Libraries
Born in 1932 in Kansas City, Missouri, Roger Wilkins attended the University of Michigan and earned his Bachelor's degree in 1953 and his J.D. in 1956. He interned with Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund during his studies and his uncle, Roy Wilkins, served as the executive secretary of the NAACP from 1955 to 1977. In his early career, Roger Wilkins worked with the Ohio Welfare Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and as the assistant attorney general under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Following this, Wilkins pursued a successful career in journalism writing for The New York Times, The Washington Times, and editing The Washington Star. In 1972, as a member of The Washington Post's editorial staff, Wilkins along with Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and Herbert Block earned the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Watergate Scandal that led to President Nixon's resignation. A widely published author, Wilkins wrote "A Man's Life," his autobiography, published first in 1982 and reprinted in 1991. In addition, Wilkins co-authored "Quiet Riots: Race and Poverty in the United States" with Fred Harris in 1988 and published "Jefferson's Pillow: the Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism" in 2001. In 1986 he joined George Mason University as the Clarence Robinson Professor of History and American Culture and retired in 2007. Wilkins passed away in 2017. George Mason University named the Roger Wilkins Plaza after him that same year.
The papers document Wilkins' career while he was a professor at George Mason University. The documents include correspondence, publications, and speeches. There are also 14 videotape cassettes with lectures by other Robinson professors and media appearances by Wilkins.
Series 1 contains the publications of Roger Wilkins and the various conferences, lecture series, and symposiums he attended and contributed to. The series includes articles he wrote organized by general subject, two of the books he published with various book reviews of the works, and the various flyers and papers of the conferences. The series is organized alphabetically by folder and then chronologically.
Series 2 contains Wilkins' general correspondence during his time as a Robinson professor. This series is organized chronologically by folder.
Series 3 contains the papers on the various organizations in which Wilkins was involved such as the African American Institute, the MacArthur Foundation, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The series is organized alphabetically by folder and then chronologically.
Series 4 is made up of biographical material on Roger Wilkins. It includes articles he wrote describing himself as a father as well as other documents discussing his mother's and uncle's work for civil rights. There are also several transcribed interviews, one of which was conducted by one of his daughters. The series is arranged alphabetically by folder and then chronologically.
Series 5 contains various syllabi and notes from the classes Wilkins taught while at George Mason from 1990 through 2006. In addition there is information about the provost search in the spring of 1990. The series is organized alphabetically by folder and then chronologically.
Series 6 contains photographs, two cassette tapes of speeches, and 14 VHS tapes of lectures by Wilkins and other professors from 1995 through 2004. The series includes a funeral speech for George N. Lindsay given by Roger Wilkins as well as a letter from Lindsay's widow. This series is organized by medium and then chronologically.
Organized into 6 series
There are no access restrictions.
There are no restrictions on personal use. Permission to publish material from the Roger Wilkins papers must be obtained from Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
The Special Collections Research Center also holds the papers of other Robinson professors.
Wilkins, Roger W., 1932-2017
George Mason University.
United States--Politics and government.
African Americans--Civil rights--History--20th century.
Roger Wilkins papers, C0212, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
Donated by Roger Wilkins in 2012.
Processed by Stephanie Washburn in 2012. EAD markup completed by Stephanie Washburn in 2012. Finding aid updated by Amanda Brent in February 2021.