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Wed, 02.04.1948

Frank Wills, Security Guard born

Frank Wills

*Frank Wills was born on this date in 1948. He was a Black Security guard at the Watergate office complex in Washington D. C.

From Savannah Georgia, he was a principal player in the resignation of president Richard M. Nixon. On duty on the night of June 17, 1972, he noticed a strip of tape holding a door unlocked. He removed the tape and when he later saw another piece of tape in its place, he became suspicious and called the District of Columbia police. The unlocked door led to the offices of the Democratic National Committee. Inside, police found a group of burglars, some with electronic bugging equipment. The burglars had ties to the Committee to Reelect the President (Nixon) and thus began the Watergate scandal that 22 months later forced President Nixon to resign.

Though Wills played himself in the movie "All The President's Men" that told the story of the Watergate scandal, Wills never recovered from his moments of fame. After his part in history, he quit his job as a security guard because he did not receive a raise for his role in discovering the burglary.

Wills worked for the comedian / activist Dick Gregory, lived in the Bahamas, and had a Harry Nilsson album dedicated to him. He made some money on the talk show circuit, but was unable to hold down a steady job. He returned home to South Carolina in the mid 70s and cared for his stroke victim mother for several years.

He was convicted of shoplifting in 1983. After her death in 1993, he was so destitute that he was washing his clothes in a bucket until James Kilby founded an organization, Treat Every American Right (TEAR) to raise money for Wills.  Frank Wills died penniless from a brain tumor on September 27th, 2000.

Reference:
Ebony Magazine
Johnson Publishing
820 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago IL 60605

Reference:

Black Past.org

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