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L. Alex Wilson
*The birth of L. Alex Wilson is celebrated on this date in 1909. He was a Black teacher, school principal, journalist, activist, and editor.
Lucious Alexander Wilson was born in Florida. After being confronted by members of the Ku Klux Klan when he was younger and fleeing, he decided he would never run from racism again. As a child, he would come home from school most afternoons and disappear into his bedroom, where his mother would find him writing, writing, writing.
Wilson turned first to teaching, becoming an assistant principal, then principal, of high schools in north-central Florida. Wilson was the editor and general manager of the Tri-State Defender, an African American newspaper published in Memphis, Tennessee. The Tri-State was then part of the Chicago Defender chain. In 1955, Wilson led the Defender-chain's coverage of the murder of Emmett Till. One of the people he hired at the Tri-State Defender was Dorothy Butler Gilliam.
In 1957, Wilson covered the Little Rock Nine school desegregation crisis when a white mob beat and injured him. Wilson, an evident presence at 6'3", followed the black students to the school building until members of the racist mob started to attack him. He decided to walk, not run, away. A mob member hopped on his back and started choking him, and another hit him in the head with a brick. He recovered, but his wounds in Little Rock likely shortened his life. After the episode in Little Rock, Wilson became an editor of The Chicago Defender, but he died in 1960 (at the age of 51), possibly from the effects of the beatings he endured.
To Become a School Principal
To Become an Elementary School Teacher