During his lifetime Reverend Wilson did "janitor work everywhere." In 1930 he went to school in New York City and became a minister for the Church of God and Saints of Christ. 85 years old in 1983, he came to Champaign when he was sixteen "because there was work here." But he also found "restriction on where colored people could live." His wife, Ida Octavia Wilson, now deceased, was the first Black woman to run for the Champaign School Board. Mr. Wilson is both proud and thankful "that the Lord let me live this long."
Source: Raymond Bial's In All My Years: Portraits of Older Blacks In Champaign-Urbana, Champaign County Historical Museum, 1983.