Son of legendary columnist Wilson revives Against the Grain

By Vaughn Wilson

Special to the Outlook

By now, most of you have seen a rebirth of sorts of the “Against the Grain” column made famous by my father Roosevelt Wilson from the 1980s to the 2000s. 

He was an avid writer and professional journalist who had a passion for Black equality and informing the minds of the readers.

His column was syndicated and ran in many National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) publications weekly.  He was awarded the “Black Pulitzer,” the A. Phillip Randolph Award by the NNPA for his insightful offerings.

After his retirement from the Capital Outlook and inherent sale to Live Communications, he put down his “pen” and retired the column.  Upon his passing in October of 2018, by most accounts the column went with him.

While attaining a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida A&M University, I did not have the journalistic experience to write a column.  In 1998, that all changed when I became the sales director and sports editor for the Capital Outlook under my father’s direction.

As a professor at FAMU, he was used to teaching the profession to students over one or two semesters. I would have the opportunity to enjoy the experience for 10 years.  

One thing that really stuck out about my father’s columns is that he always made a clear definition between facts and his opinion.  He emphasized the importance of good journalistic integrity, though it seemed the world was moving away from it.

Finally, the most important thing he taught me was to research.  He believed a column full of anyone’s opinion is not worth the paper it is written on.  There needed to be facts to support an opinion.  My brother, mother, interns and the entire staff would find ourselves researching subjects to assist his writings.

There was only one and never will be another Roosevelt Wilson.  At the urging of the Rev. Dr. RB Holmes and St. Clair Murraine, I have embarked on a journey to continue a legacy of columns for the betterment of Black people.  It is not a decision that we as a family came about lightly, but when momma says to do it, you don’t ask questions. 

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