Roy Wilkins (August 30, 1901 – September 8, 1981) was a prominent civil rights activist in the United States from the 1930s to the 1970s. Wilkins’ most notable role was in his leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Wilkins was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1901. His mother died when he was four years old, after which Wilkins and his siblings were raised by an aunt and uncle in St. Paul, Minnesota. Wilkins graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in sociology in 1923. In 1929, he married social worker Aminda “Minnie” Badeau; the couple had no children of their own. The couple did raise the two children of Hazel Wilkins-Colton, a writer out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
After graduation, Wilkins worked as a journalist at The Minnesota Daily and became editor of The Appeal, an African-American newspaper. After he graduated he became the editor of the The Call.
Between 1931 and 1934, Wilkins was assistant NAACP secretary under Walter Francis White. When W. E. B. Du Bois left the organization in 1934, he replaced him as editor of The Crisis, the official magazine of the NAACP. From 1949 to 1950 Wilkins chaired the National Emergency Civil Rights Mobilization, which comprised more than 100 local and national groups.