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BROTHER PRESTON WILCOX - Some Remembrances  TheBlackList-Cullection
 Sep 05, 2006 01:14 PDT 

"The culture of a people is best manifested by the homage they pay to
those who led with dedication and devotion to freedom and cause.":
Carlos A. Cooks, Ideological Son of Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

-------Original Message-------

From: Kofi M. G. W. Opantiri kofije-@sbcglobal.net
Date: 09/05/06 01:12:21
To: <>
Subject: BROTHER PRESTON WILCOX - Some Remembrances


Benta’s Funeral Home, 630 St. Nicholas Avenue, Harlem,

Preston Wilcox was born in Youngstown, Ohio on
December 27, 1923 to Ida Mae Rousseau and John Wilcox.
He was the second child and the first son of five
brothers and sisters. Growing up at 736 Harlem
Street, Preston was destined to make his home in and
commit much of his life’s work to Harlem, NY.

Throughout his youth and early adult life, Preston was
an athlete, playing basketball for his Rand High
School team and later for the New York Gothams of the
Negro League which existed before the National
Basketball Association was formed.

After high school, Preston enrolled at Morehouse
College with plans to become a medical doctor. He
was, however, drafted by the U. S. Army and served in
World War II. After his discharge, he moved to
Brooklyn, NY where his mother had relocated, and
enrolled at the City College of New York. While
there, he earned a B. S. in Biology in 1949, and met
Katherine Knight who he married in 1951. They had
three children – Gwynne Alicia Wilcox, Esq., David
Preston Wilcox, and Susan Elise Wilcox, Ed.D. – though
later divorced. In 1974, Preston’s youngest daughter
Liana Amani Yangson-Wilcox, was born to him and
Marylyn Yangson.

In 1956, Preston earned a Masters of Social Work at
Columbia University and began teaching there. He also
taught at a summer program created to expose Harlem
youth to the college experience. Taking place at
Princeton University, it was the first of its kind to
be hosted by an Ivy League school. While teaching,
Preston also worked with community groups and leaders
toward helping to improve educational opportunities
for Black and Latino students and their families. He
worked with the Freedom Schools in Mississippi.
During New York City’s teacher strike in 1967, he
worked with parent activists to run the Liberation
School created to ensure their children’s education
would not be disrupted. He was an advisor on the
issue of community control of public schools,
including for two of NYC’s most contentious battles:
Ocean Hill-Brownsville (Brooklyn) and I. S. 201
(Harlem). He also served on the advisory board for
the creation of the Manhattan Country School and
facilitated programming for the Encampment for
Citizenship, both having the goal of providing
ethnically diverse and authentic settings for
learners. For the latter, he edited the
cartoon-styled though candid book “White Is,” a
compilation of the youth’s reflections on
stereotypical white behavior.

In 1968, Preston left Columbia to do educational
consulting, advising community groups, speaking
throughout the country and overseas (including in
Africa and Japan), presenting papers, organizing
national and international conferences, particularly
on issues of parent involvement and the nexus of
culture and education of Black students. He was
active in the Black Power Movement, and in 1970 helped
organize the first Black Power Conference. He
appeared on Gil Noble’s program “Like It Is” and was
active with the National Association of Black Social
Workers. During a conference in Barbados, he was
proud to have screened the miniseries “Roots” for the
first time in that country. With one of his closest
colleagues, the late Alice Kornegay, he worked with
East Harlem Triangle, a group providing housing,
services and resources to community residents. During
this period, Preston also created AFRAM Associates,
Inc., a non-profit organization researching, archiving
and sharing information about black organizations,
education, history, and resources, including an
extensive collection on Malcolm X. Recently, the
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
gathered many of AFRAM’s files to add to its own

Over the next decades, Preston continued to keep AFRAM
alive and consult. He served on Community Board 5 or
NYC’s Department of Education and on numerous other
boards. He taught at Lincoln University in
Pennsylvania. As the years went on, his day-to-day
activities slowed down a bit, but not his dedication
to his life’s work nor his love of Harlem. He could
be found in his office next door to the Apollo
Theatre, traveling from one event to another, or
hanging out at any one of his favorite haunts such as
Showman’s Bar.

Preston has been recognized by the Congresstional
Black Caucus and the New York City Council, with many
awards including the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Equal
Justice for Children Award (Abyssinian Baptist Church)
and the Living Legend Award (International African
Arts Festival), and with an honorary degree from
Lincoln University. More Importantly, he is
recognized in Harlem and among fellow community and
educational activists as being a constant and deeply
committed advocate for his people.

Preston is survived by his four children,
daughter-in-law Lynn Wilcox, granddaughter Aja Cherie
Wilcox, sister Dorothy Genevieve Moyer, brother-in-law
Heybert Moyer, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins,
friends, and comrades.

The Wilcox family would like to extend their sincere
appreciation for the kind regards and support from the
many friends within the Harlem community and beyond.

The family requests that all donations be made to the
Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture
[Attention: Howard Dodson, Director] at 515 Malcolm X
Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801, 212/491-2200.

By Jitu Weusi
The New York Amsterdam News
August 24 – August 30, 2006
Page 13

When I heard that Preston Wilcox expired, it forced me
to reflect on his impact on my life and work. I
remembered back to 1965 after Malcolm X had been
exterminated by enemies of Black progress. Many young
activists like myself (25 or younger) looked for
Malcolm-like figures for guidance and direction.
People like the late CORE Chairperson Sonny Carson,
Assistant Principal Herman Ferguson, Judge William
Booth and yes, Professor Preston Wilcox were men who,
despite their titles and success within American
society were not afraid to speak truth to power.

On many occasions, Councilman Albert Vann (then
chairperson of the African American Teachers
Association) and I traveled to Harlem to huddle with
Professor Wilcox on some phase of our organizing and
directing the fledgling group of Black teachers.
Preston was a frequent speaker at forums and
conferences sponsored by the African American Teachers
Association and helped to spread the doctrine of
community control of schools that was our battle cry
during the turbulent sixties. It was this struggle
that paved the way for thousands of Black educational
administrators and supervisors in American education.

Professor Wilcox also stressed that importance of
national contacts and keeping abreast of nationwide
trends within the African American community. I
remember in June 1969 when he huddled with educational
contacts in cities like Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles
and Dallas. From these meetings, they called a
national meeting of Black educators. More than 2,000
educators came to Chicago on a late June weekend in
1968 to found the organization known as the National
Association of African American Educators (NAAAE).

As a result of NAAAE, a demand for increased high
school completion and entrance of millions of Blacks
into the nation’s colleges was accomplished.

Preston founded his own institution in the 1970s in
the form of the AFRAM library. Professor Wilcox was a
meticulous collector of information on all aspects of
African American life. He subscribed to many
newspapers, periodicals and magazines and maintained a
clipping service on all topics relating to our
progress and setbacks in American society. From
around the nation, the AFRAM Library received daily
requests for information regarding our situation.
Preston and his very capable staff would mail out
responses to requests and very often send physical
help, public speakers, workshop coordinators and
organizers to help develop and build Black
organizations and institutions all over the United

Is is also my understanding that the volumes of
research that the AFRAM Library accumulated were
donated to the Schomburg Library in Harlem before
Professor Wilcox expired.

In the twilight of his life, Professor Wilcox fought
the forces of big government (presidents, governors,
mayors) and the forces of big business (charter
schools and vouchers) taking over public education and
putting the period of community control to an end. He
ran and was elected to the District 5 (Harlem) School
Board and fought back against the forces of greed,
opportunism and self-promotion that destroyed the
gains of community control.

The struggle will continue. Long live the many
lessons taught by Professor Preston Wilcox.

By Kofi M. G. W. Opantiri
Monday, August 31, 2006

When I first met Preston Wilcox at his home in 1968, I
was just a nineteen-year-old kid born and raised in
New York City who was attending Union College in
Schenectady, NY. A Schenectady activist had put our
recently created Black Student Alliance (BSA) in touch
with Preston to possibly lead one of several workshops
to be conducted at our upcoming Black Arts Festival.
That’s why one of the other brothers in the BSA and
myself had gone to Preston’s home. Little did I know
that that meeting would be the beginning of a
life-long friendship during which Preston would see me
mature from a wet-behind-the-ears college kid to a
fifty-seven-year-old grandfather of five with a sixth
one on the way.

Almost from the very beginning, Preston was a god-send
for me. When I got to Union College in September
1967, there were only twelve black students out of a
total student body of 1200. Over the next four years,
our numbers increased, but we were still a decided
minority by the time I graduated in June 1971. Not
wanting to work “downtown,” immersed in a Eurocentric
karma, I was, thankfully, hired by Preston in
September 1971 as the Assistant to the President at
his AFRAM Associates, Inc. in Harlem. I was thus able
to stay away from “downtown” and work in a black
environment on things that mattered to our community.

My tenure at AFRAM lasted only a little less than
twelve months, but after my departure, I stayed in
contact with Preston over the years. As countless
people all across America know, if Preston had a
mailing address for you, you were bound to receive
photocopies of newspaper clippings, Thought
Stimulators and the like from him. I still have
ringbinders full of AFRAM materials.

Certainly, I did not spend as much time with Preston
as others did and I did not know him as well as others
but he touched my life as he did for so many people.
For me, he was a mentor, a role-model, a brother, and
a friend.

One of the things I learned from Preston is the
importance of loving and respecting the masses, the
so-called ordinary folks. He never separated himself
from the rest of us. In fact, he was energized by us.
Even if he had acquired immense wealth in his life
and become a celebrity, he would still have been “just
folks” and he would still have stayed connected with
the people he knew before attaining wealth and

Preston was ever the teacher. Although he had an
academic orientation, he did not use that as an excuse
to hide in the ivory towers of academe, far away from
the masses of his people. He was a warrior academic
who had no problem standing on the front line when
necessary. Education, for Preston, was a tool to
liberate and uplift his people. Even when you met him
for the very first time, you would leave that
encounter a bit more informed about the struggles of
our people to be free. The work of our liberation and
uplift was a 24/7 activity for Preston, not a
part-time preoccupation.

Preston was certainly a Black Nationalist, a
Pan-Africanist, and a Malcolmite. He was also a
humanist. He did not prejudge people because of their
race or ethnicity. His commitment to his people was
lifelong, unyielding, and unquestionable. Yet, that
commitment to our liberation could never be for
Preston a reason to sour him to all peoples. He was
concerned that we, as a people, not lose our humanity
as we struggle to overcome the dehumanizing evils of
white supremacy racism.

Preston’s life work was yet another source of
instruction to me that we should not automatically
accept the definitions given to us by others. While
white America branded Harlem as a cesspool of sin and
crime, Preston said it was a proud black community.
Even though the progenitors of the status quo would
have us address any mail going to a Harlem location as
“New York, NY,” Preston always addressed such mail as
“Harlem, NY.” When I worked at AFRAM, Preston
questioned the absence of a section on “White Racism”
in the card catalogues of libraries throughout America
since white racism has had such a devastating impact
on the world and figures so greatly in the history of
America. The progenitors of the status quo don’t want
us to study white racism but Preston said we should.

God only knows how much information Preston mailed all
across America and abroad without charge to the
recipients. He once commented to me how so many
people would receive his mailings and not even
acknowledge that they had received them, let alone
send in a small donation to help defray the cost of
the mailings. Lesson leaned: we must support our own
institutions and businesses. Like so many of our
visionaries, Preston understood that (and a host of
other things) decades ago while we, the masses, still
don’t get it even today.

The name Preston Wilcox is not nearly as well known in
households across the land as are the names of the
likes of Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka, Charles
Rangel, Dr. Yosef ben-Jochanan, Maulana Karenga, and
many, many others. But mention his name to such
leaders, luminaries, and visionaries and they know the
name Preston Wilcox because they know the work he has
done on behalf of our liberation and uplift.

When I realized that I would not be able to attend
Preston’s funeral, I decided to send flowers. Almost
immediately, I could hear his voice lovingly
ridiculing the idea. Ooops, sorry Preston, I forgot
for a moment. Flowers and all that are nice, but
there is still a lot of work to be done; scratch the
flowers, do something useful with the money.

I decided to send a donation in Preston’s name to an
organization that is sending books to a school in
Ghana but then I learned that Preston’s family has
asked that we send donations to the Schomburg Center.
That makes a lot of sense because one of the many
hats Preston wore was that of “archivist.” The
moneyorder was put in the mail before I finished
writing this remembrance. It was made out to the
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and
addressed to: Howard Dodson, Director, Schomburg
Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X
Boulevard, Harlem, NY 10037-1801). Across the top of
the moneyorder was written “In memory of Brother
Preston Wilcox.”

Sure would be impressive – and very much in order - if
everyone who ever received a mailing or two from
Preston sent a donation in any amount to the
Schomburg. As appropriate as they may be, our words
praising Preston are insufficient because Brother
Preston Wilcox backed up his words with action.

Preston, thank you for everything you have done for


8/29 | Activists, scholars, family and friends
gathered on Wednesday to honor Preston Wilcox.
By Phyllis M. Bowdwin

They dressed in their best - some humble, some proud,
some silver haired, some silver tongued. Politicians,
clergy, artists, elders, activists, scholars, family
and friends gathered on Wednesday, at Benta's Funeral
Home, to honor Preston Wilcox -
activist/scholar/educator - who passed away in Harlem,
on August 12, 2006, at the age of 82.

... "Preston had "a high intellect, undaunted courage,
sterling character, unquestioned committment to our
struggle, and a consistent militancy, Reverend Herbert
Daughtry said. ..."He was unbossed and unbought - that
was Preston Wilcox." Reverend Daughtry, pastor at the
House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, delivered the
eulogy with the passion and skill of a griot. The
mourners, some standing three deep, listened intently,
occasionally offering a "That's right!", a smile and a
nod of recognition.

" Preston personified the academician and activist,"
Reverend Daughtry observed. In 1956, Preston earned a
Masters of Social Work at Columbia University, and
taught there until 1968. "He was a scholar, but was
not confined to the ivory tower... All across New York
he could be seen carrying pickett signs, boycotting,
demonstrating, preaching, and rapping," said Reverend
Daughtry. At the same time, "He was always the
professor.... the world was his university, and
everybody was his student," he continued. Jitu Weusi,
New York City Chapter Chairperson of the National
Black United Front, remembers: "Professor Wilcox was
one of the men a young activist could turn to for
guidance, and who, despite his title and success
within Amercian society was not afraid to speak truth
to power."

In the 1970's, Preston nearly died in an auto accident
- suffering a broken back, and painful rehabilitation.
The 1970's was also when he gave birth to Afram. Jitu
Weusi explained: "He was a meticulous collector of
information on African American life... clipping all
topics relating to our progress and setbacks in
American Society... he founded the Afram Library...
which received daily requests for information... By
sending mail, public speakers, workshop coordinators
and organizers, Afram played a vigorous role in
helping to create and develop many Black institutions
and organizations throughout the United States," Part
of Afram's files were recently donated to the
Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture.

Preston's legacy is his struggles. Reverend Daughtry
said: "Preston will be remembered for many struggles,
including community control of schools, Black
leadership for the Schomburg Center for Research in
Black Culture, Freedom schools, Liberation Schools,
Charter Schools and vouchers , the fight to save the
African Burial Ground and police abuse of power."
Juanita Thomas, a mourner, said: "If everybody would
take just one thing Preston stood for, that touched
their lives, and implement it, he will not die. Jitu
Weusi agreed: "The struggle will continue. Long Live
the many lessons taught by Professor Preston Wilcox."

As the mourners dispersed, a lone xylophonist pierced
the murmur of their voices and the din of traffic with
a tributary medley of "Lift Every Voice and Sing",
"Unforgettable", "Always", "Rock of Ages", "Oh Johnny
Boy", and "I'll Be Seeing You".

NYC Indymedia: Free Media for Free People


Aug 31, 2006 05:00AM EDT
Ron Gross

I first met Prof/Bro. Preston in 1968. I was also
fortunate enough to have served as a Research
Associate with Afram Associates in "The Village of
Harlem" for a number of years, after which I
maintained a close relationship with him until his
untimely passing. I cannot enumerate the deep insight
I gained concerning the state of the African-American
and the African community worldwide from his teaching
and activism. He has left a blazing trail for anyone
who is interested in learning more about his work and
contribution to African Americans and to America. He
will surely be missed but definitely not forgotton.
??May God Bless Bro. Preston with a mighty Blessing.
??Bro. Ron Gross.

NYC Indymedia: Free Media for Free People


    Posted by: "Kenneth King" nnam-@yahoo.com
    Date: Sat Aug 19, 2006 2:31 am (PDT)

I appreciate GAP member Babaasurya (hope I didn't
misspell) for alerting us of the passing of Bro.
Preston Wilcox. I am in Youngstown, Ohio and remember
Bro. Wilcox. I was an avid reader of the AFRAM
newsletters. Many of us remember Preston Wilcox as a
committed Pan Africanist and Malcolmite.


Harlem Legend, Preston Wilcox, Passes
Friday, 18 August 2006
By Herb Boyd
Managing Editor, The Black World Today (TBWT)

Preston Wilcox was born on Harlem Street in
Youngstown, Ohio and died last week in his apartment
in the village of Harlem. Between the two Harlems,
Wilcox established an enviable reputation as an
athlete, activist, educator and historian.

Born Dec. 27, 1923, Wilcox left his hometown where he
was a noted athlete to attend Morehouse College in
Atlanta. He left college and enlisted in the U.S.
Army. It was while he was in the military that he
first came to Harlem to pick up a soldier who had been
detained. “I made myself a promise then that one day
when I was no longer in the service I would return to
Harlem and make it my home,” he said in an interview.

Two years later, in 1946, Wilcox kept his promise. He
also fulfilled a longing to return to college,
enrolling at City College where he earned a bachelor’s
degree and later a Master’s of Social Work from
Columbia University. Along with these educational
pursuits, he retained more than a passing interest in
his love for basketball, eventually becoming the first
Black player to sign a professional contract. “He was
just as good on the court as he was in his community
activism,” remembered John Isaacs, who played with

In the late fifties and early sixties, Wilcox gained
prominence for his activism in Harlem, most notably
through his association with Malcolm X. By the late
sixties he was teaching at Columbia University when
turmoil swept the campus; he was among the outspoken
leaders demanding community control. “He was a strong
advocate and leader in the controversial IS 201
struggle of the 1960’s resulting in the
decentralization of public schools in Central Harlem,”
recalled his friend Bill Foster, who is also working
on a biography of Wilcox.

Wilcox was instrumental in the founding of the
National Association of Afro-American Educators. He
was actively involved in the leadership of major
international conferences including the Congress of
African People, the National Black Political Assembly,
and the National Council of Black Studies among
others. He has received numerous awards from a host
of community and civic organizations including special
recognition by the Congressional Black Caucus and the
New York City Council. Wilcox was also a founding
participant in the creation of Medgar Evers College in
Brooklyn, New York and the Manhattan Country School.
He also served as an elected board member of Community
School District No. 5 in Harlem and served on many
boards of community organizations in Harlem and around
the country.

Many people were kept abreast of local, national and
international activities via Wilcox’s newsletter
published by his organization Afram Associates. And
it was gratifying to learn that portions of his vast
collection were recently acquired by the Schomburg

Though somewhat debilitated by osteoporosis, Wilcox
remained active to his final days, appearing at
rallies, demonstrations and social events where he was
often called on to lend his considerably learned
impressions.   Those impressions will be sorely missed
in the Harlems of the world.

He is survived by one sister and brother in law, four
children, a daughter in law, a granddaughter and a
host of cousins, nieces and nephews.

    Posted by: "Kenneth King" nnam-@yahoo.com
    Date: Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:30 am (PDT)

Thanks so much for the rich Bio for Preston Wilcox.
Many of us who live in Harlem or who just come to
Harlem on a regular basis to connect and to stay
connected to the Black Mecca of the world would find
Preston Wilcox always there to engage us in relevant
dialogue, like Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell would
do. He had an extensive collection of materials,
posters, handbills, etc. I use to hear so much about
his collection. I also remember him talking about his
farm land upstate New York where inner-city community
folks could go and get in touch with - and be a part
of the soil.

Many of us saw Preston as the real Mayor of Harlem
always there for us. He was such a kind and thoughtful
person. To many of you who do not know Harlem - do
not know the richness of Harlem's elders. Preston was
one of them, a walking active icon. Harlem is so full
of special elders. Our great Elders that we are so
blessed to have and to know. There are no seniors on
this Earth like the Harlem revolutionary elders with
their rich histories and their lifestyles of
commitment to Us in solidarity.

I must go outside now and walk and feel the outside
air like people in Harlem like to do. It is a
tradition of gathering and walking up and down 125th
Street meeting and greeting one another as we mingle
on 125th Street or at festivities like the 135th
Street Block party or the drumming circle on Saturdays
at Marcus Garvey Park.


Linda Fletcher


by Michael Flowers

Culled from:
Harlem Live - http://www.harlemlive.org/
Harlem Youth Internet Publication

Nestled on the west side of the world famous APOLLO
theater lies a small office filled with artifacts,
books, photographs, newspaper articles, and
memorabilia of Black life in America. Dr. Preston
Wilcox is an urban archaeologist who has been
collecting, documenting and preserving one of the
largest bodies of information concerning African
American Society for over thirty years.

Mr. Wilcox said he is "IDENTIFYING THE PROPER

Dr. Wilcox began collecting information on February
21,1965, the day Malcolm X was assassinated. Malcolm
was a good friend of Preston and his death really took
a toll on him. Dr. Wilcox first became acquainted with
Malcolm while teaching a Community Organization
seminar at Columbia University. Malcolm spoke to a
group of students and falculty and after that first
visit Malcolm and Preston shared a ride uptown.

Malcolm X attended eight years of school. He basically
educated himself and although Preston has met a lot
of great educators in his life, he found Malcolm to be
the most knowledgeable. Therefore, none were
considered his peer according to Preston.

Preston also admired Martin Luther King for his
nonviolent struggles for the good of all man kind.



From my perspective, Preston implied that Malcolm X
wanted blacks to stand up and fight like the men they
are. However, Martin wanted all people to rise above
that. He wanted blacks and whites to reach
a new level of existence.

Preston recalled how Martin was disliked by a lot of
people in Harlem. He was booed off of stages during
speeches in Harlem. He remembered the time when Martin
was stabbed with a letter opener while in a department
store on 125th Street. Martin refused to let anyone
remove the letter opener from his body. When he
arrived at the hospital, the doctor informed him that
if the weapon had been removed, he would have died

Although Dr. King was distrusted by some in the Harlem
Preston said his death had an even greater impact on
Harlemites than
when Malcolm was killed. He remembers much weeping in
the streets
at that time.

JOHN HENRY CLARKE were all powerful residents of
Harlem whose
achievements and history influenced Preston greatly.

There are many others who hold a place in Preston's

Preston met Libian President Mumar Quadafi and served
in the army with Jazz musician James Moody.

Preston spoke of how 'back in the day', residents in
the neighborhood took an active role in raising the
youth. He also told me how painful it is for him to
have watched Harlem deteriorate over the years.
states. "People from around the world want to visit
Harlem before they die.

OUT IN HARLEM." Preston recalls Fidel Castro visiting
Harlem and talking to the residents in order to get a
sense of this democracy and whether it actually takes

Dr. Wilcox is currently working with the Malcolm X
Memorial Museum.
He wants some sort of institution to display his as
well as others' work.
He concluded the interview by saying, "I'm of the
notion of sharing
information and not hoarding it. Spreading it around,
not necessarily telling people what to think, but have
them exposed to [the knowledge]."

Special to the New York Amsterdam News
Originally posted 8/24/2006

Preston Wilcox was born on Harlem Street in
Youngstown, Ohio, and he made his transition August
12, succumbing in his apartment in Harlem. Family,
friends, and associates assembled Wednesday at Benta’s
Funeral Home to recall the prestige and honor he
brought to both these Harlems.

“I knew Preston for more than 45 years,” Percy Sutton,
the chairman emeritus of Inner City Broadcasting
Corporation, told an overflow crowd. “He was a
challenger, a multifaceted person whom I liked very
much. I didn’t know him in his athletic days, but I
knew him in his angry days. I will always remember his
bringing me clippings, clippings, and more clippings.”

The latter remark produced a wave of recognition from
the audience, many of whom had been served clippings
from newspapers and magazines that Wilcox had
collected, duplicated, and distributed. “He was one of
the most important people in this community,” Sutton
concluded to prolonged ovation.

A crowd of notables, including Congressman Charles
Rangel, Viola Plummer, Councilmen Bill Perkins and Al
Vann, Assemblyman Roger Green, Roger Wareham, St.
Clair Bourne, Howard Dodson, Ron Daniels, Jitu Weusi,
Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan, Esther Walker, Tutmosis
Powell, Kermit Eady, Dr. Donald Smith, Dr. Leonard
Jeffries, Lloyd Williams, Dr. Deloris Blakely, and
Coltrane Chimurenga, listened as the Rev. Herbert
Daughtry delivered a sterling eulogy to the fallen

Rev. Daughtry, senior pastor at the House of the Lord
Church in Brooklyn, was emblematic of Wilcox’s
democratic appeal, his desire to bring often disparate
elements together, his “ability to lead and to
follow,” the minister noted. “He was an imposing
physical person, impressive in his intellectual
capacity, intense in his pursuit of his
purposes…insightful in his analysis, and incredibly
effective in his enterprises.” And these were just a
few of the superlatives the reverend evoked to define
the significance of Wilcox’s stay among us.

“Whenever I saw him, he always had a smile and kiss
for me,” said radio hostess Daa’iya Lomax Sanusi. “He
was a warm and compassionate human being who meant a
lot to our community here and elsewhere.”

Part of Wilcox’s universal reputation is derived from
the versatility that first came to prominence during
his athletic career at Morehouse College, where he was
star basketball player and often went head-to-head
with such all-time greats as Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton,
the first Black player for the New York Knicks. Many
people are not aware that Wilcox was the first Black
basketball player to sign a professional contract.
Those who ventured to his office in the building next
to the Apollo could see a duplicate of that contract,
along with stacks of other memorabilia-the “clippings”
that Sutton mentioned.

But it was as an educator and activist, particularly
through his close association with Malcolm X, that
Wilcox earned his widest celebrity. When the Black
studies movement was sweeping the land back in the
late 1960s, Wilcox was among the pioneers. “That’s
when I first met Preston,” recalled Howard Dodson,
whose tenure as the chief at the Schomburg Center is
to some degree due to Wilcox’s resoluteness. “He
worked with us at the Institute of the Black World,
helping us develop Black studies. I’m proud to say
that some of his papers have been placed with us at
the Center.”

To cite his many accomplishments-the steadfast
political involvement at Columbia, the central role he
played in the community control of education, the many
organizations and institutions that thrived from his
innovative thinking-would be far too much for this

“He was my mentor,” said Dr. Ron Daniels, who lived a
block or so from Wilcox and his family in Youngstown.
“His father and my father worked in the steel mills
together. I really didn’t get to know him until the
Black liberation struggle was underway, a movement in
which he was a pivotal figure.” Daniels said that he
had been in touch with a councilmember in Youngstown,
and a proclamation is being prepared in honor of
Wilcox. A similar move has been launched in Harlem
under the aegis of Bill Perkins.

Praise for Wilcox has reached the Amsterdam News from
all over the country and much of it rings with the
same love and longing emitted at Benta’s through the
heartfelt music and the moving reflections. “So long
as he lives in our memory, Preston will never be
dead,” Daughtry declared. And to that, there was a
loud, collective “amen.”

Preston Wilcox is survived by his four children;
daughter-in-law Lynn Wilcox; granddaughter Aja Cherie
Wilcox, who read the obituary; his sister Dorothy
Genevieve Moyer, brother-in-law Heybert Moyer, and
numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and
comrades. The family requests that all donations be
made to the Schomburg Center.


BROOKLYN, New York (August 24, 2006) – The Medgar
Evers College faculty, staff and students extend their
deepest sympathy to the family of Professor Preston
Wilcox (1923-2006), one of the founders of the

Professor Wilcox, or "Brother Wilcox" as he was often
known, was a community leader, activist, historian,
journalist, and educator based in Harlem. He founded
AFRAM Associates, Inc. in 1968, as a public service
communication agency dedicated to the compilation,
preservation and authentication of the history of
African-Americans. AFRAM Associates Inc. is considered
to have the largest informational archive on
African-American society, with its documents on
Malcolm X being one of its most distinguished
collections. The assassination of Malcolm X, a long
time friend and confidant, is said to have fuelled the
creation of AFRAM.

Brother Wilcox was widely recognized for his
dedication to public school education, in addition to
African-American and community causes. His memberships
included The National Association for African American
Education (defunct), of which he was founding
chairman; Congress of African People (defunct), of
which he was a founding corporate member; National
Association of Black Social Workers, of which he was a
founding member; Harlem Commonwealth Council, of which
he was a founding board member; Manhattan Country
School, of which he was founding board member; College
of Human Services, of which he was chairman as well as
a founding board member; J Raymond Jones Democratic
Club; African Americans United for Political Power;
African Americans to Honor the Cuban People, co-chair;
Borough President's Task Force on Education and
Decentralization; New York State Task Force on Youth
Gangs, New York State Division of Youth; Black Fashion
Museum, Harlem, Advisory Committee; Shawn A Lambert
Scholarship Fund, consultant; National Malcolm X
Commemoration Commission, 1990, 1991; and the
Committee to Preserve the Works and Images of Malcolm

Along with other community advocates, Brother Wilcox
played an instrumental role in the establishment of
Medgar Evers College. His involvement with and
contribution to the College’s existence is invaluable.

"The culture of a people is best manifested by the homage they pay to
those who led with dedication and devotion to freedom and cause.":
Carlos A. Cooks, Ideological Son of Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
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