Civil Rights

Mildred Bond Roxborough

NAACP executive Mildred Bond Roxborough was born on June 30, 1926, in Brownsville, Tennessee, one of three daughters of college sweethearts Ollie and Mattye Tollette Bond. Roxborough’s family background included a tradition of African American empowerment; her mother’s family founded Tollette, Arkansas, which was a post-Reconstruction, all-African-American town, while her own parents chartered Brownsville, Tennesee’s first chapter of the NAACP. At the age of nine, Roxborough began selling subscriptions to The Crisis, the official publication of the NAACP.

Judge Henry Smith, Marion Bond Jordon, Daisy Lampkin, Mildred Bond (Roxborough), and Bishop Charles Foggie, standing in the interior

Roxborough and her family moved to Kansas City after her father’s involvement in civil rights activities forced her family to leave Tennessee; it was there that she graduated from Charles Sumner High School in 1943. Roxborough worked towards her college undergraduate degree at Howard University and Washington Square College of New York University, finishing in 1947; she received her M.A degree from Columbia University in 1953 and attended the University of Paris extension at Marseilles and the University of Mexico at Cuernavaca.

Mildred Bond, Robert Lee, Louis E. Waller, Coretta Ogburn, and Lucille Black holding NAACP award plaques

Roxborough’s career at the NAACP began with her position as national staff field secretary in 1954; she became the executive assistant and the administrative assistant to the executive director in 1963, and in 1975, she became assistant director. Between 1978 and 1984, Roxborough became director of operations for the NAACP. Between 1984 and 1986, Roxborough moved up to become director of programs; she was the first woman to serve the organization in that role. Roxborough served as director of development from 1986 until her retirement in 1997. Despite her retirement, Roxborough, a mainstay of the organization, remained intimately involved with the planning and core operations of the annual NAACP National Convention and the organization’s New York Bureau.

In addition to her service to and lifetime membership in the NAACP, Roxborough served as vice chairman of Intergroup Corporation, and on the boards of America’s Charities and Morningside Retirement and Health, Incorporated. Roxborough’s honors and awards included the James Weldon Johnson Medal; the Medgar Wiley Evers Award; and America’s Charities Distinguished Service Award.

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