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Wilson Riles


Picture of Wilson Riles
CA Blue Book (1975)
Date Party Office Votes Result
11-03-1970 Nonpartisan Superintendent of Public Instruction 3254365 Win
06-04-1974 Nonpartisan Superintendent of Public Instruction 2997884 Win
06-06-1978 Nonpartisan Superintendent of Public Instruction 2818913 Win
11-02-1982 Nonpartisan Superintendent of Public Instruction 3114964 Loss

Candidate Biography:

Born: June 27, 1917 near Alexandria, Louisiana
Married: Mary Louise Phillips
Children: Includes Wilson Riles Jr.*
Died: April 1, 1999 in Sacramento, CA

1958-1965: Educational Consultant, California Department of Education
1965-1969: Associate State Superintendent, Compensatory Education Program
1969-1971: Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction

  • Riles was the first African-American Superintendent of Public Instruction in California. He also was the first African-American constitutional officer in California’s history.
  • Wilson Riles, Jr. was the Northern California Coordinator for the Shirley Chisholm for President Campaign in 1972, a member of the Oakland City Council (1979-1992) and  candidate for Mayor of Oakland (2002). 
  • PLACENAME: Wilson C. Riles Middle School is located in Roseville. There was a Wilson C. Riles Elementary in Los Angeles (which closed in 1995) and a Wilson Riles Middle School in Los Angeles (which closed in 1989).