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Dominion Energy's PEGGY FOX interviews Wilkinson daughters, Cassandra, Danita & grandson Nathaniel.

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It was as President of Roanoke’s NAACP that the Reverend Dr. R.R. Wilkinson worked on a secret, biracial committee.

With support from this committee, he strategized integration of Roanoke’s schools, lunch counters and water fountains.  In the next episode of the Hometown Stories podcast, we're diving into the past to see how the Reverend's efforts are still visible in Roanoke today.

You can listen to that episode here:

Strong Men & Women 2023 Honoree

JUNE 15, 2023
One of Six 2023 Honorees for Strong Men & Women Program

Below are events that were held in June 2023 that highlighted or featured REV. DR. RAYMOND R. WILKINSON

Strong Men & Women in Virginia History

Richmond, VA - June 15, 2023

People of African descent have been a part of Virginia’s — and America’s — story since European colonization of the North American continent began. Yet the contributions of African Americans often have been ignored, obscured, or underappreciated by those who recorded history. The Library of Virginia and Dominion Energy honor distinguished Virginians, past and present, as Strong Men & Women in Virginia History for their important contributions to the state, the nation, or their professions. 

These men and women offer powerful examples of individuals who refused to be defined by their circumstances. Their biographies are a testament to the determination and perseverance displayed by extraordinary people during challenging times. These individuals demonstrate how African Americans have actively campaigned through education and advocacy for better lives for themselves and all Americans. 

This program, which combined Dominion’s Strong Men & Women: Excellence in Leadership series and the Library of Virginia’s African American Trailblazers in Virginia History, operates in Virginia only, and was inaugurated in January 2013.  With this program is an annual student contest with awards to students and their schools. On this date, Rev. Wilkinson will be one of six African American Trailblazers 2023 honorees at the annual Dominion Energy and the Library of Virginia's Strong Men & Women in Virginia History Program in Richmond, Va. for 2023.  Past and present posters of these  Virginia Changemakers are available for viewing at libraries throughout the state.




Street Renaming

JUNE 16 - 18TH, 2023

On March 20, 2023 the Roanoke, VA City Council officially voted on a resolution to name a street after Rev. Raymond R. Wilkinson! The street runs through Washington Park in Roanoke, VA where 60 years ago, in 1963, Rev. Wilkinson demanded an all white city council to remove a massive dump from Washington Park in the black community! Because of his persistence and threats of extreme demonstrations, the city council voted to close the dump in Washington Park on June 1st, 1963. This has been a long time coming! The street name will be called R.R. Wilkinson Ave.  Linked below is the video of the resolution vote with guests who spoke on Rev. Wilkinson's behalf!


Starts:  17.39 Seconds       Ends:  26:42 Seconds


JUNE 16 - 18th, 2023


On Friday, June 16, 2023 at 11:00 a.m., the City of Roanoke honored the former pastor of Hill Street Baptist Church, Reverend Doctor Raymond R. Wilkinson by renaming Carver Avenue to R. R. Wilkinson Avenue. The unveiling took place at the corner of 5th Street N. W. and Carver Avenue N. W. (East side of Lucy Addison Middle School). Reverend  Wilkinson was a champion for change who diligently stood for equal rights and justice throughout his lifetime.

The family travelied by bus from Richmond, VA after attending the Dominion Energy and the Library of Virginia's "Strong Men & Strong Women in Virginia History Program" on Thursday in which Reverend  Wilkinson was one of the honorees. Weekend activities will consist of:

Friday, JUNE 16th  -  11:00am                                                                

The Street Renaming was followed by a press conference and public reception at Hill Street Baptist Church, 111 Madison Avenue, NW, Roanoke, Va.

Saturday, JUNE 17th  -  Noon to 5pm


The Wilkinson Family participated in the Event and attended a Reception following for Family and Invited Guests hosted by Hill Street Baptist Church.  The family started their day with a trip to the Mill Mountain Star.   R.R. Wilkinson Foundation T-Shirts were worn and can be purchased as donations.

Sunday, JUNE 18th  - 10:00am

The family attended church service at Hill Street Baptist Church in a Tribute Service and Celebration of what would have been Rev. Wilkinson's 100th Birthday!  The family visited the gravesite of Rev. Wilkinson on their journey home.



Newspaper Articles, Shared Links



The Roanoke Rambler

Mar 21, 2023 • 3 min read

Courtesy of  Henri Gendreau, Editor-in-Chief

Roanoke has renamed a street through Washington Park after a local civil rights leader who helped shutter a nearby dump in a mostly Black neighborhood. Rev. Raymond R. Wilkinson, a pastor at Hill Street Baptist Church for 33 years, served as president of the Roanoke branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), from 1959 to 1968. 

In that role, he convinced city government to close the Washington Park dump in 1963.

City Council on Monday decided to rename Carver Avenue Northwest, between Lucy Addison Middle School and Interstate 581, to R.R. Wilkinson Avenue Northwest. A street sign unveiling will take place in June at the earliest.

In 1960, Wilkinson organized a biracial committee that met secretly with local store owners. In that way, he helped integrate a dozen downtown lunch counters, including at Woolworth Co, according to an online biography. He also helped integrate Victory Stadium, the city’s fire department and Roanoke Memorial Hospital, according to a city report.

Born in 1923, Wilkinson grew up in Amelia County, served in World War II and moved to Roanoke in 1958. Wilkinson died in 1993.

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