Wiley Bolden

Wiley Bolden was the lead plaintiff in the 1975 Bolden v. City of Mobile case which charged that Mobile’s at-large form of government diluted minority voting rights in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This case led to the change to a mayor-council form of city government in 1985.

Bolden was a World War I veteran who fought in segregated American units in France and Germany and had helped John LeFlore organize the Mobile NAACP in 1926. On January 19, 1976, was certified as a class action lawsuit.

Bolden was present at the first commission meeting in 1986 and received a standing ovation from the commissioners. The ninety-three year old activist was a finalist for the NAACP Spingarm Award for African American Achievement. He died in February 1987.