NAACP Mourns the Passing of Helen Jackson Wilkins Claytor

Mother of Roger Wilkins, Chairman and Publisher, The Crisis Publishing Co., Inc., dies at 98

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) mourns the death of Helen Jackson Wilkins Claytor, a dedicated civil rights leader and the first African American president of the National Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). Claytor's first husband was the brother of Roy Wilkins, former executive director of the NAACP.

Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors, said: "The world has lost a great advocate for social justice with the death of Helen Jackson Wilkins Claytor, she was one of the millions of relatively unknown fighters for freedom who opened doors for many. That most of them never heard of her only adds to our loss."

Claytor, who died May 10, 2005, played a central role in the racial desegregation of the YWCA. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1928, she worked at a YWCA branch in Kansas City, Mo. designated for "Negro" members. She went on to serve for several years as a secretary for interracial education at the national YWCA's race relations office, and used this platform to campaign across the South to integrate YWCA branches. Claytor became the YWCA's national president in 1967, and oversaw the adoption of an amendment to the YWCA constitution that supported her vision for a racially unified organization.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

CONTACT: NAACP Office of Communications 410.580.5125

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