Andrew Wilson
Civil Rights

Andrew was born in the Allendale neighborhood of Shreveport as one of eleven children to Roosevelt and Fannie Mae Wilson. He remembers his parents as "very hardworking people." His mother was a housekeeper, his father a landscaper who also sold scrap metal. As a young teenager Andrew made deliveries for the first African-American grocers in the community, James and Pat Bennett. He contributed half of his weekly earnings of $15 to his Mom to help with family expenses. When he graduated from high school in 1973, he worked for TJL Construction Company. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and entered service in December of 1973, taking basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He was later sent to Fort Jackson near Columbia, South Carolina, for clerical school. He was stationed first at Fort Benjamin Harrison near Indianapolis as a payroll specialist. In the summer of 1974, he was sent to South Korea to Camp Humphrey as part of 8th Army. There he and fellow African-American soldiers formed a group called "Black Unification." It's purpose he says, "was about, `Hey, we've got to stick together.'" After 13 months overseas he was sent to Fort Hood, Texas, where he met his wife, Leonora Davis, who was also serving in the military. They married on December 23, 1978, and would have three children and two grandchildren. Andrew was discharged in 1975 at a specialist 4 rank. Back in Shreveport he earned an associate degree from Southern University and a bachelor's in general studies at LSU-Shreveport. He and Lenora moved to New Orleans and worked for the welfare department for about ten years before moving to her hometown, New York City. They returned to Shreveport "seven or eight years" later. Andrew says he loves his job as a social worker for Louisiana Office of Community Service. "It's not a lot of money involved but the reward comes from seeing families united, seeing children returning back to safe and loving homes," he says. Andrew states he went into the military for economic reasons. "The job opportunities just weren't available for me or people like me," he says. "If I had to do it all over again I still would join the military. It was an experience that I cherish, that I hold dear."