Rev. Dr. Raymond R. Wilkinson
Roanoke, Virginia's Civil Rights Pioneer
VIRGINIA UNION UNIVERSITY
Rev. Raymond R. Wilkinson graduating from Virginia Union University after receiving his Master of Divinity Degree in Theology standing with his wife Euphesenia Wilkinson in 1955.
Towards the end of World War 2, Raymond Wilkinson met Alease F. Wells in Norfolk, Virginia. Their daughter Frances Constance Wells was born on August 9th, 1946. When the war ended Raymond moved to Richmond, Virginia to stay with his older sister Susie Wilkinson Holmes and her husband Lucius Holmes Sr. Raymond's goal was to keep his promise he made to God during the Battle of Okinawa. He planned out his path towards becoming a minister however, his experiences in the war had begun to take a toll on him. He hesitated, feeling unworthy and reluctant. But as the call from God became louder; he felt the spirit of the lord gradually take hold of him, and God gave him strength. After a long talk with God, he told his sister Susie that he must do what he had promised the lord and carry on his word, so Raymond accepted the call. In the fall of 1948 Raymond Wilkinson enrolled in Virginia Union University, a historical black college in Richmond, Virginia.
Raymond R. Wilkinson in 1946
Courtesy of Virginia Union University
Virginia Union University Theological Seminary building
Around 1950, Raymond was struggling in one of his classes when he met his tutor, a beautiful highly intelligent woman named Euphesenia Massey (1932 - 2018). Euphesenia was a gifted student pursing her Bachelor's Degree in Special Religious Education. Raymond wooed her by reciting poetry as he so often liked to do. The couple dated as Euphesenia pledged and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In spring of 1951, Raymond proposes to Euphesenia and the couple married on August 13th, 1951 in Portsmouth, Virginia the hometown of the bride. On June 3rd, 1952, the married couple graduated from Virginia Union University. Raymond R. Wilkinson received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and Philosophy while his wife Euphesenia received her Bachelor Degree in Special and Religious Education with summa cum laude honors. Eleven days after their graduation while still living on Virginia Union University campus, Raymond and Euphesenia had their first child, a daughter named Cassandra on June 14th. The following year on September 17th, 1953, their second daughter Nadine was born in Richmond, Virginia.
Raymond R. Wilkinson and Euphesenia Wilkinson wedding photos on August 13th, 1951
Raymond R. Wilkinson, his mother in law Samantha, and wife Euphesenia graduating from Virginia Union University with their Bachelors Degrees on June 3rd, 1952.
Raymond R. Wilkinson his wife Euphesenia and their newborn daughter Cassandra.
Raymond R. Wilkinson continued his education at Virginia Union University's Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia earning his Master of Divinity Degree in Theology. (Called Bachelor of Divinity Degree in the 1950's) He received his Degree on May 30th, 1955 becoming Reverend Raymond R. Wilkinson.