He afterwards helped institute voting rights for black citizens in his county and was elected the very first African American mayor of Roper in the mid-1970s. The recipient of numerous awards, Wilkins expired on June 2, 2002, at age 90. There, he met his future partner, fellow teacher Elizabeth Witherspoon. E.V. Wilkins became principal of Clemmons High in the early 1940s and held the place for more than three decades, until 1974. His care for his pupils transcended preexisting bureaucracy as he actively raised money to give a school bus for African American kids starting in 1946, whereas formerly only white pupils had transport services.
In the next years, Wilkins worked together with the neighborhood chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to file a suit and institute voting rights for African American citizens in his community of Washington County which was made a reality in the mid-1950s.
Wilkins formally entered politics when he won a seat on Roper’s town council in 1967, thereby becoming the very first African American elected official in the area considering that the times of Reconstruction. After helming the town’s Industrialization Center from 1974 to ’75, Wilkins won the region’s mayoral election, thereby becoming the very first African American mayor of Roper a seat that he’d hold for the next 20 years.
Wilkins was involved in politics on a national level at the same time, being a delegate to the Democratic National Convention throughout the 1970s and ’80s. He was therefore section of the nominating procedure for presidential nominees including Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. He was likewise active on boards to get numerous civic organizations and educational institutions, including East Carolina University’s Rural Education Institute and North Carolina’s instruction and railway services.
The recipient of numerous awards and commitments, including posthumous honours, E.V. Wilkins expired in Roper on June 2, 2002, at 90 years old. He was survived by his daughters, Delight Price and Bunny Sanders, with Bunny after serving as mayor of Roper at the same time.