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Dr. Sondra Kathryn Wilson

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Dr. Sondra Kathryn Wilson, formerly of Wilmington, NC, of Oak Bluffs, MA, died Sunday, July 11, 2010, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. Memorial services were held 2:00 PM on Saturday, July 17, 2010, at Saint Mark Catholic Church, Wilmington, NC.

She was born in Columbia, SC, to Laura Clemmons Powell and William Wilson, Sr. As a child she was always very studious. She graduated from Williston Senior High School in Wilmington, NC. Sondra obtained her undergraduate degree from Elizabeth City State University, in Elizabeth City, NC. Prior to residing on Martha's Vineyard (Oak Bluffs) MA, she was a long time resident of New York City where she earned two masters degrees and a PhD from Columbia University. Sondra was an active member of St. Thomas Catholic Church in New York City. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and many other professional and civic organizations. Sondra was a senior associate at the W.E.B. Dubois Institute at Harvard University, founder and president of the James Weldon Johnson Foundation, Inc., and executor of James Weldon Johnson's literary estate. She also worked as director of research in the national office of the NAACP. Sondra was a passionate student of history and an advocate of education. As executor of the Johnson literary estate, she worked tirelessly to get Johnson's literary works reprinted. She was successful in obtaining the reprint of Johnson's work which includes: Along This Way: An Autobiography of James Weldon Johnson and Black Manhattan. Sondra also authored: The Crisis Reader: Stories, Poetry, and Essays from the N.A.A.C.P.'s Crisis Magazine, Complete Poems by James Weldon Johnson, The Opportunity Reader, The Messenger Reader, Lift Every Voice and Sing, Lift Every Voice and Sing: Selected Poems, In Search of Democracy: The N.A.A.C.P. Writings of James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and Roy Wilkins (1920-1977), Saint Peter Relates an Incident: Selected Poems, The Selected Writings of James Weldon Johnson: New York Age Editorials (1914-1923), The Selected Writings of James Weldon Johnson: Social, Political, and Literary Essays and Meet Me at the Theresa: The Story of Harlem's Most Famous Hotel.

She is survived by her mother, Laura Clemmons Powell of Wilmington, NC; two sisters, Dianne Jackson of Centreville, MD, and Patricia Pleasant of Princeton, NC; four brothers, William Wilson, Jr. (Lillie) of Garner, NC, Michael Wilson (Janet) of Burke, VA, Craig Wilson (Denise) of Austell, GA, and Dennis Wilson of Wilmington, NC; two uncles, George Clemmons of Leland, NC, and Levander Kennedy of Wilmington, NC; three aunts, Virginia Thurman, Mary McKay and Joyce Clemmons of Wilmington, NC; seven nieces, three nephews, two grandnieces, five grandnephews, a host of relatives, friends and colleagues and her Godmother, Mrs. Velma Merrick of Castle Hayne, NC.

We deeply appreciate the many expressions of friendship extended to us during this time. Your concern, love and numerous acts of kindness are most sustaining and shall be remembered. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in honor of Dr. Sondra Kathryn Wilson to the James Weldon Johnson Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Suite 412S, 1256 Briarcliff Road, EMORY UNIVERSITY, Atlanta, GA 30306 or by Website: www.jamesweldonjohnson.emory.edu

A Service of John H. Shaw's Son Funeral Home

Online condolences at StarNewsOnline.com

Published in the Wilmington Star-News on July 18, 2010
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