Wilson A. Head was an American/Canadian sociologist and community planner known for his work in race relations, human rights and peace in the United States, Canada and other parts of the world.
Head was born on September 30, 1914, in Milner, Georgia. He “was the son of a Georgia sharecropper, Evander Head (1892–1925), and of Evelyn Whittle (1898–1981), the eldest of five children”; siblings Frank, Marvin, Glenn, and Winnie Head. He grew up in poverty in the small black community of Milner, near Atlanta. His father died when he was 11, but his mother stressed the importance of a good education.
In the 1930s, Dr. Head took part in a series of “sit-ins” on restaurants and bars, and protested against barbers, shopkeepers, and movie house owners who would not serve blacks a decade before the civil rights movement began. He also helped to desegregate a golf course in Windsor.
He worked at times with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). From 1943 to 1948, he was director of community development and community organization at Flanner House in Indianapolis, which served poor and indigent Black people. In 1981, he served as the president of the National Black Coalition of Canada.
Dr. Head moved to Windsor, Canada in 1959 “to get his children away from a racist society”. In the US, he had been director of Chicago’s Parkway Community House, and director of the State of Ohio’s Juvenile Diagnostic Center. When he came to Canada in 1959, he was the Executive Director of the Windsor Group Therapy Project. In 1965 he became the Director of Research and Planning for the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto.
On June 26, 1980, Dr. Head was assaulted while climbing the steps to the offices of UARR (Urban Alliance on Race Relations), College Street at Spadina Avenue, Toronto. He was attacked from behind with several blows to the head, resulting in a fall down the stairs. It took the police over 40 minutes to arrive at the scene after being called. The identity of his white assailant was never discovered. Dr. Head died of cancer of the prostate at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario on October 7, 1993.