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Wed, 10.24.1877

William “Billy” Williams, served 14 Minnesota governors

William F. Williams

William F. (Billy) Williams was born on this date in 1877. He was a Black executive political assistant.

Williams was born in the Rondo Community of St. Paul, MN, a graduate of Mechanic Arts High School and Hess Business College in St. Paul. An exceptional athlete, Williams was a semi-pro baseball player. In 1904, Williams joined the staff of Governor John A. Johnson as his personal assistant. Though he wished to pursue his talents on the field, he was equally adept as an administrator. He also wanted to take care of his family, a pact he made with his mother. A skillful communicator, Williams was retained in that position through 14 governors for a total of 53 years.

Williams was active and voiced forceful opposition to racism, particularly in the military. He was chairman of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety during the World War I, retiring in 1957. Upon his departure, the state Legislature passed a special act giving him a pension for life.

William F. Williams died in 1963.

Minnesota Historical Society
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
Saint Paul, MN 55102-1906

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