1881 – He was born in Anderson County, South Carolina to parents who were liberated slaves and tenant farmers. William Pickens was a well-known educator and advocate for civil rights.
1902 – He went to Yale and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
1904 – He graduated with a degree in classics and became a professor at Talladega College in Alabama.
1910 – Pickens was involved with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from its inception, and his leadership helped ensure its growth over the next thirty years, particularly in Southern states.
1911 – William Pickens published the first edition of his autobiography, The Heir of Slaves, in which he recounts the experiences that led him into public life and the importance of his education.
1923 – His book, The New Negro was published the next year, followed by Bursting Bonds, Heir of Slaves.