Wilson Fitzpatrick is an African American
who grew up in Marshall, Missouri. He was born in Kansas City, Kansas during the
Great Depression. While still an infant, the Fitzpatrick family moved to
Marshall to be close to family.
Wilson spent his entire adolescence in Marshall. His family was one of
just a handful of black families living in the white part of Marshall.
His father was a janitor at Missouri Valley College and his mother repaired
drapes from her home.
There were many hardships for blacks in Marshall during the 1940’s and
1950’s. Wilson attended the all-black Lincoln School in Marshall until
tenth grade. During his last three years of high school, Wilson was
bused to Sedalia. Wilson excelled in athletics at C.C. Hubbard High
School and earned an athletic scholarship to Wilberforce University in Ohio.
Forced to return home his sophomore year, Wilson helped care for his sick
mother until her death. Unable to return to Wilberforce, Wilson joined
the Air Force. His military experience took him took him to Japan and the
Far East. He was in Lincoln, Neb. when his military obligation ended.
Recruited to play basketball at Nebraska, Wilson helped break color barriers on
the basketball team. He led the Cornhuskers in one of the most memorable
seasons in Nebraska history.
After graduation, Wilson found racial roadblocks trying to begin a career in
education. He finally found acceptance in a small, rural, all white
community in Southeast Nebraska. It was at Lewiston, Neb that Wilson left
an indelible mark on his students.
Now, over 50 years later, his grateful students are still honoring
Wilson. The book chronicles this remarkable individual’s journey
through turbulent times in America’s history.