Leon Williams Celebrates His 100th Birthday and Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

| August 9, 2022 | 0 Comments

Local elected officials and community leaders honored longtime political and equal rights leader Leon L. Williams with special awards this past month to help celebrate his 100th birthday. Williams was awarded a Life Achievement Award by the County.

Williams was elected San Diego’s first Black city councilman in 1969 and first Black county supervisor in 1982. He was also the president of the California Association of Counties in 1993 and board member of the National Association of Counties. Williams is the namesake of the County’s Leon L. Williams Human Relations Commission.

Williams was born in Oklahoma and came to San Diego in 1941, serving in the Army Corps of Engineers.

In his public career of advancement and opening doors, Williams helped start the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation as well as Centre City Development Corp. and chaired the Metropolitan Transit District for 13 years. In 2020 the Board of Supervisors established the Leon L. Williams San Diego County Human Relations Commission “to promote positive human relations, respect, and the integrity of every individual regardless of gender, religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or citizenship status.”

Williams bought his home in San Diego in 1947, a purchase that made him the first Black homeowner in his neighborhood in defiance of a whites-only restriction. Seventy years later in 2017, that block of E street was renamed “Leon Williams Drive” in honor of his contributions to the San Diego community. Leon Williams’s life is chronicled in his memoir, “Together We Can Do More: The Leon Williams Story,” written by Lynne Carrier and published in 2015.

Community leaders and officials who know and worked with Williams wanted to honor his continued commitment and historic contributions to our County.

While receiving the award, Williams thanked the community that he served for so many years.

“I didn’t know that people appreciated the struggles that we all had to make, not just me, I wasn’t the only one struggling in those days to create more fairness amongst human beings,” said Williams.

The award celebration was held at the San Diego County Administration Center and was accompanied by a resource fair featuring numerous County services and programs.

Leon Williams has lived a very long and fruitful life in San Diego County.


Category: Events, Government, Local News, Seniors

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