- Michael James
educator, community and civil rights activist, was born Doxey Alphonse Wilkerson in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, the son of a Methodist minister and a civic-minded mother. As was the case with many Jim Crow–era black families looking for avenues to further their children's education, Wilkerson's father moved his family from Excelsior Springs thirty miles west to Kansas City, so his son could benefit from a larger public educational system. Ironically, the year of Wilkerson's birth, the Kansas legislature enacted statutes that created segregated schools in Kansas City. After graduating from Sumner High School, Wilkerson attended the University of Kansas where he received a bachelor's degree in English in 1926 and his master's in Education in 1927 That same year he was hired as an assistant professor of English and secondary education at Virginia State College in Petersburg Virginia He quickly became known as a quiet but forceful advocate for ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.