Williams was born March 22, 1886, the grandson of a freed Virginia slave. He grew up on the Jim Smith farm between Canton and Flora. When he was sixteen years old, he used $18 he received from a county farmers association to attend school at Alcorn University. This valuable award inspired Williams to set up a similar fund at a Canton bank, which awards a $250 scholarship to a student interested in attending Alcorn. In 1923, he headed the black county Farm Bureau, and he helped set up the Black Business League in 1928. In addition, Williams was asked to speak before Congress regarding social conservation.
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