Rev. Dr. R.R. Wilkinson is Honored!
Below are events planned for Juneteenth Weekend 2023 that will highlight or feature
REV. DR. RAYMOND R. WILKINSON
R.R. WILKINSON ONE OF 6 HONOREES at DOMINION ENERGY's 2023 "Strong Men & Strong Women in Virginia History Ceremony"
June 15, 2023
Strong Men & Women in Virginia History
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. This year's program will be held on June 15, 2023 in which much of Wilkinson's four daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews plan to attend. 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. https://edu.lva.virginia.gov/strong-men-women-in-virginia-history/
STREET RENAMED FOR ROANOKE CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER
On Friday, June 16, 2023 at 11:00 a.m., the City of Roanoke will be honoring the former pastor of Hill Street Baptist Church, Reverend Doctor Raymond R. Wilkinson by renaming Carver Avenue to R. R. Wilkinson Avenue. The unveiling will take 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 will be travelling by bus from Richmond, Virginia 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. Activities over the weekend will consist of:
Friday, June 16th - 11:00am The Street Renaming followed by a press conference and public reception at Hill Street Baptist Church.
Saturday, June 17th - Noon to 5pm
Roanoke's Juneteenth Family Reunion in Eureka Park
The Wilkinson Family will Open the Event and attend a
Dinner for Family and Invited Guests hosted by Hill Street Baptist Church.
Sunday, June 18th - 10:00am
The family will attend 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 will visit the gravesite of Rev. Wilkinson on their journey home.
Published by Nathaniel Raymond Benjamin
On March 20th, 2023, the Roanoke City Council voted on a resolution to name a street in honor of Rev. R.R. Wilkinson! The street runs through Washington Park in Roanoke, Virginia where 60 years ago in 1963, Rev. R.R. Wilkinson demanded a then all white-city council to remove a massive dump from Washington Park in the black community! Because of Rev. R.R. Wilkinson's persistence and threats of 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 will now be called R.R. Wilkinson Ave.
Below is the video of the resolution vote with guest speakers who spoke on Rev. R.R. Wilkinson's behalf in Roanoke, Virginia!
START: 17:39 seconds
ENDS: 26:42 seconds
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 on June 16th at 11:00am.
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.
The Hill Street Baptist Church would like to thank the City Council of Roanoke, Virginia for approving the resolution in renaming the former Carver Avenue in northwest Roanoke to R. R. Wilkinson Avenue on Monday, March 20, 2023. Nearly 100 years after Rev. Wilkinson was born and 60 plus years after he fought for equal rights in the City of Roanoke. This recognition is long overdue.
The Hill Street Baptist Church and Wilkinson Families look forward to the unveiling date and what a grand celebration it will be.
The excerpt below and the photo of Rev. R. R. Wilkinson was taken from the the following website:
“I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this segregated abyss. I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy. I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” by Charles Dickens in honor of REVEREND DR. RAYMOND R. WILKINSON R.I.P.
Rev. DR. R. R. Wilkinson
Born June 18, 1923 - Died June 15, 1993
You can also visit The R. R. Wilkinson Library at Hill Street Baptist Church, 111 Madison Avenue N. W. Roanoke, Virginia. Rev. Preston K. Tyler, Pastor.
HILL STREET BAPTIST CHURCH
THE STREET RENAMING IS SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY JUNE 16th, 2023, 11:00am
Details on Celebration Activities Below