William Daniel Hawkins, Sr., was born February 5, 1872, in Jasper, Tennessee. Hawkins was among that first generation of blacks born after slavery. Despite the fact that he and his generation matured during the oppressive years of legal racial segregation, Hawkins became a banker, an educator, a prominent layman in the Methodist Episcopal Church (United Methodist), and a leader in Afro-American Nashville.
        W. D. Hawkins was educated at Morristown Junior College near Knoxville. Later, he received the bachelor of science and law degrees at Nashville's Central Tennessee College (Walden University). He taught mathematics, English, Greek, and Latin at Central Tennessee College and served as a trustee of the institution.
        After leaving the college, Hawkins served as cashier and president of People's Savings Bank and Trust Company. This was Nashville's third black banking institution, founded in 1909. He served as secretary-treasurer at Mt. Ararat Cemetery, Nashville's oldest black cemetery, and managed the Star Realty Company. He was a member of the Masons, the Odd Fellows, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Hawkins also belonged to the National Bar Association, the Agora Assembly, and the Methodist Church. He served as a delegate to many general conferences for the church.
        William D. Hawkins, Sr., was married to Sarah H. Martin of Macon, Georgia, in 1904. They had seven children: Emily Christina, William D., Jr., Lloyd Wilson, Mary Evans, Aubrey Martin, Nellie Ruth, and Charles Leonard. Three of the children preceded their father in death. William, Jr., served as the last cashier of People's Bank. The bank became a casualty of the Great Depression in 1929.
        William D. Hawkins, Sr., died tragically as the result of a hit-and-run automobile accident. He was funeralized at the Seay-Hubbard Methodist Church and interred in the Mount Ararat Cemetery, located on Elm Hill Pike. Hawkins' wife, four children, and a sister--Lydia Hight--survived him. Now [1989] the only surviving member of his family is the author of this article, who resides in Washington, D. C.