In Memoriam: Reginald Wilson, 1927-2020

Reginald Wilson, a psychologist, civil rights activist, educator, and the founding director of the Office of Minority Concerns and senior scholar emeritus at the American Council on Education, died suddenly at his home in Bradenton, Florida on Sunday, December 13. He was 93 years old.

A native of Detroit, Wilson joined the Army at the outset of the Second World War and was recruited to be to one of the 1,000 Tuskegee Airmen. He flew combat missions in Italy during the war. Taking advantage of the GI Bill, Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a Ph.D. in psychology, all from Wayne State University in Detroit.

Dr. Wilson taught and was a psychologist for the Detroit public school system. He later taught and was director of the Upward Bound program at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. From 1967 to 1970, Dr. Wilson was dean at Oakland Community College in Orchard Lake, Michigan. He later founded and directed the Black studies program at the University of Detroit Mercy. He also served as a visiting professor of the L.B. Johnson School of Public Policy at the University of Texas. In 1971, Dr. Wilson became president of Wayne County Community College in Detroit. He served in that role for 10 years.

Dr. Wilson was the author of Think About Our Rights: Civil Liberties and the United States (1988)

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  1. Dr. Wilson was an inspirational role model for many young scholars, administrators, and faculty members. He was a class act as a man and as a professional. He also took strong
    political positions when he defended diversity, access, and the accountability assigned to each campus to adopt those values and implement them.
    I am honored to say that I was mentored by Dr. Wilson and I learned so much from him. He truly was a man for all seasons who God gave to us for a reason.

    Dr. James A. Anderson
    Former Chancellor and Professor of Psychology
    Fayetteville State University

  2. Thank you for this article honoring Reggie. Thank you for the comments on how he influenced you and others. He also influenced me greatly as a professor, friend, anti-racist colleague (he taught me how to be), encouraged me to obtain my doctorate, and eventually my beloved husband.
    Dianne K. Perry-Wilson, Ph.D.

  3. The entire Wilson family ( late wife Arlene Wilson , former Wife Deloras Wilson, daughter Kafi Wison , grandkids, as well as myself) would formally like to thank the Journal of Blacks in Higer Education for remembering the life and achievements of our father and husband Dr Reginald Wilson. He has touched so many in this world with his kindness and intellect. He was a leader in the field for blacks in higher education but most importantly he was the leader of the Wilson family . Thank you for your thoughts and consideration in this matter

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