Collection consists of speeches, articles, reports, subject files, and personal files pertaining to Wilson C. Riles, the first
African American to be elected as state superintendent of schools in California.
Born in Elizabeth, Louisiana in 1917, Wilson Riles was orphaned at a young age. Family friends stepped forward to act as his
foster parents. Encouraged to pursue his education byhis foster parents, teachers, and the members of his church, Riles worked
his way through J.W. Hoffman Junior High School and McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School in New Orleans by delivering milk in
the early mornings. Soon after his graduation, his foster parents relocated to Arizona. Riles joined them, enrolling in Arizona
State Teachers College (now Northern Arizona State University), in 1936. By working a number of odd jobs he was able to pay
his college expenses and graduate in 1940 with a major in education and a minor in history.
103.75 Linear feet
(79 record cartons, 6 manuscript boxes and oversize)
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For information about this collection, contact the Head of the Department of Special Collections & University Archives.