African-American history has played an integral role in the shaping of politics, economics, and culture in the United States. Growing up, how did you learn about the accomplishments and struggles of African Americans? Were you in a classroom? Reading a book? Talking with relatives or friends? How has your understanding or knowledge of African-American history changed and/or developed over time? What do you think is the most effective way to pass along this rich and growing history to future generations?

Charles Wilson

David Wilson, son of a slave, was the 7th of 11 children, born in South Carolina. He completed 8th grade and came to New York in 1935. Dovetta, the daughter of a Baptist minister and the 10th of 14 children, came to New York in 1940. David and Dovetta met and married in New York and reared their family of nine —five boys, four girls–in the Lincoln Houses, a public housing project, in Harlem, New York City.

Though denied a formal education in the segregated south, and a de facto segregated North both David, a WWII U.S. Army veteran, and Dovetta infused the passion for learning to their children and that education was crucial in their lives. Faith, family and community were early values established in the home. The Wilsons were named the 1991 “Family of the Year” by USA Today for establishing a scholarship fund in 1990 as a legacy to their parents and reminder of the preceding family members denied equal opportunities in our nation.The family was featured in an AT&T special on NBC entitled “Images and Reality: The African American Family “ and most recently, the PBS documentary HOMEGOINGS. Since the inception of the fund, over 207 non-family recipients received scholarships for college. The legacy continues in creating leaders for the future and connecting to a global community. This is a family story, an African-American story, an American story, a global story.