WILLIAM PICKENS was born in Anderson County, S. C. When he was
seven years of age, his parents moved to Arkansas, where he was graduated from
the Union High School in Little Rock as the valedictorian of his class.
From the high school he entered Talladega College in Alabama and finished
the Bachelor of Arts course, after which he entered Yale University where he
received the degree of A. B., the Phi Beta Kappa Key, and rank in the Philo-
sophical Oration group, the highest ranking group in the class. In his career as a
teacher he received the following honors: A diploma from the British Esperanto
Association; the Master of Arts degree from Fisk University; the Litt. D. from
Selma University, and LL. D. from Wiley University.
After teaching foreign languages and other subjects in Talladega College
for ten years, he spent one year in Wiley University as head of the department
of Greek and Sociology. He was then elected as Dean of Morgan College in
Baltimore where he served for five years, being Vice-President in the last two
years. On February 1, 1929, he resigned from educational work to take a position
with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
He has made many trips to Europe to attend conferences and deliver lectures
in England, Scotland, Germany, Poland, Russia, Switzerland and Austria.
Mr. Pickens is the author of "The Heir of Slaves", an autobiography; "The
New Negro", a collection of essays; "The Vengeance of the Gods", short stories;
"Bursting Bonds", auto-biographical; and "American Aesop", after-dinner stories.
Co-author of "What I Owe to My Father".
He is well known as an orator and contributor to the press and leading
periodicals, and is contributing editor of the Associated Negro Press.
He was a member of the Niagara Movement which antedated the N. A. A.
C. P., and he is a member of the Omega Psi Phi.
He served as Forum Leader in the Federal Forum Projects (U. S. Department
of the Interior) during 1937 and 1938.
May 15, 1941, at request of the Treasury Department of the United States,
he began work with the Defense Savings Staff. In 1942 he was designated as
Chief of the Interracial Section, the National Organizations Division of the
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