I was born in 1861.
I grew up during the Civil Rights movement and the rise of the civil rights movement.
In a moment of great urgency and danger, I witnessed the destruction of my family’s home and the death of my father.
I watched in awe as the Civil Defense volunteers and the volunteers of the Union Army, who were the only people who stood by and watched as the war began, were killed and injured in combat.
I witnessed soldiers and civilians being beaten and maimed.
I was part of the resistance and was one of the few white men to be arrested.
I joined the Union forces in early 1865 and served in many battles and was an excellent soldier.
I later joined the Republican Party and I was elected to the House of Representatives in 1867.
During the Civil Wars, my husband and I lived in the small community of Rockbridge, Tennessee, near Nashville.
My husband, a doctor, was the only white man in the community and he had a deep interest in history.
I had been an enthusiastic abolitionist.
As a child, I had read many of the works of abolitionist John Brown and I learned about the lives of abolitionists and how they came to the United States.
My mother and I also enjoyed reading and debating history, and we shared that passion with our children.
After my husband’s death, my mother and two of her sisters became widows.
I attended public schools and was fortunate to attend a private school.
In the late 1950s, I moved to Tennessee, where I was employed as a janitor in a local church and eventually became a member of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
In my late 30s, after a brief stay in California, I returned to Tennessee and started a successful business.
I worked for the Tennessee branch of the SCLC in the area of Nashville and in the region around Memphis and Knoxville.
I also served as a county commissioner in Knox County.
I became a pastor in the church.
I left the SCLAC in 1968 and started my own church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
My life was full of spiritual challenges and challenges that were not helped by my race.
In 1970, the church decided to become a racially integrated denomination.
The LDS church, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, was established in 1890.
Its membership has grown steadily and is now more than 4 million members in 32 states.
In 1973, the Church began to move from a largely white congregation to a racially diverse congregation in the Salt Lake Valley.
It was in 1978 that I became the first African-American to serve as a president of the church and that was the beginning of a long and rewarding career.
I have lived my life as a Latter-Day Saint, not as a white person, but as a member and citizen of a racially and religiously diverse country.
I believe that my race and my faith have been my greatest strengths and that I have been the greatest asset to my country.
My family moved from Tennessee to Georgia when I was six years old.
I started attending church regularly in the early 1950s.
My first Sunday service was the first time I was baptized and my family was baptized at the same time.
I went on to become active in the Church.
In 1951, I became one of five children.
My parents, who lived in Tennessee, died when I went to boarding school in Georgia.
I moved with my father to Georgia in 1954, and my mother died when my father was just 26 years old in 1957.
After I became active in church and politics, I decided to run for Congress.
I served as an aide to the Tennessee governor and a state senator from the state’s Sixth Congressional District.
I represented the district from 1979 to 1987 and was re-elected twice.
During that time, I participated in many political campaigns and was involved in several important public service campaigns, including for the first Gulf War and the construction of the Interstate Highway System.
In 1981, I was reelected to the Senate, representing the Sixth Congressional district in the Tennessee state legislature.
In 1987, I lost my re-election bid for the Sixth congressional district and resigned from the Senate.
My political career was a very important part of my life.
I spent much of my time in the Capitol and in public service, including in a number of campaigns, representing people of faith and social justice issues.
I am thankful to all who have supported me in my political career and for the many opportunities I have enjoyed as a legislator.
The Bible, which I have read regularly and which I learned through my church, was my principal source of spiritual guidance during my political and public service.
My faith, my life, my family and my children all reflect the faith and gospel of Jesus who died and rose from the dead.
I look forward to a fruitful and enduring political career that will serve the people of Tennessee.
Robert L. Wilkins Jr. was born on July