The Lionel J. Collection consists of newspaper clippings, political campaign flyers, biographical sketches, photographs, and
programs documenting the political career of Oakland’s first black mayor Lionel J. Wilson. The collection is organized into
five series: biographical material, programs, photographs, political flyers, and newspaper clippings. The bulk of the collection
is newspaper clippings on Wilson’s political career, and also includes photographs of the Oakland City Council and various
mayoral events, political flyers from Wilson’s mayoral campaigns in 1977 and 1981, biographical sketches, and programs from
mayoral events including the mayor’s annual prayer breakfast and various banquets honoring Wilson.
Lawyer, judge, and politician Lionel J. Wilson (1915-1998) was born on March 14, 1915 in New Orleans, Louisiana the eldest
son of Julius J. and Louise Barrios Wilson. At the age of three, he moved with the Wilson family to Oakland, California where
he attended Clawson Elementary School and graduated from McClymonds High School in 1932. After graduating from the University
of California Berkeley in 1939 with a degree in economics, he played semi-professional baseball for four years as a pitcher
for the Oakland Larks. In 1943, he left baseball and enlisted in the United States Army and served in combat duty in Europe
for 22 months during World War II eventually reaching the rank of first sergeant.
.25 linear feet
Permission to publish from the Lionel J. Wilson collection must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at
No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.