March 9, 1922 Floyd Bixler McKissick, lawyer and civil rights leader, was born in Asheville, North Carolina.
McKissick earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from North Carolina College and in 1951 became the first African American to earn his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Law School.
After serving in Europe during World War II as a sergeant from 1941 to 1944, in 1966 McKissick became the second national director of the Congress of Racial Equality. He served in that capacity until 1968 when he founded Soul City in Warren County, North Carolina. His vision was an integrated community with enough industry to support a population of 55,000. That plan never materialized. In 1990, McKissick was appointed a state district court judge and he died on April 28, 1991.