African American Security Guard Frank Wills immediately called D.C. Police Department because of observed tampering at the Watergate’s locks. Although his deeds eventually led to the reveal of the Watergate Scandal, he received no compensation and continued to live his life in poverty.
Frank Wills played a vital role in the arrest of the burglars commanded by President Nixon. Without his quick thinking, the court would have no evidence of Nixon’s inclusion in the Watergate Scandal.
Life Before the Watergate Scandal
Born with no father present on February 4, 1948, in Savannah, Georgia, African American Frank Wills was raised only by his mother, Marjorie Wills, after her separation from Frank’s biological father. During the 1950s, Marjorie decided to move from her hometown in Georgia to North Augusta, South Carolina, bringing Frank with her.
Frank received appropriate education but didn’t graduate high school as he dropped out from Grade 11 in Jefferson High School at 17 years old. Subsequent to dropping out, he moved to Michigan to pursue machine operation. He then qualified for the Job Corps, a federal employment-training program initiative of President Lyndon Johnson in his War on Poverty campaign, living in Battle Creek, Michigan, at a men’s center. (
With the skills he garnered, Frank soon qualified as an assembly line operator at the Ford Motor Company located in Detroit, Michigan, and after, Chrysler Motors Corporation.
Quitting his job due to underlying health illnesses because of his asthma, he traveled to Washington, D.C. during the early 1970s, acquiring a security guard job at the Watergate Hotel. (Source: Black Past)
The Role of Frank Wills in the Watergate Scandal
Fourteen months passed, and on the morning of June 17, 1972, the Watergate Scandal began. Spotting a well-hidden roll of duct tape situated on a bolt on the basement door near the parking lot area, Frank already started to suspect the arising of suspicious activity. He was undoubtedly correct as this was the burglar’s actions as requested by the resigned President Nixon.
Frank immediately acted on his assumptions, calling the D.C. police due to the unexplainable tampering made on the locks of the building. His actions consequentially led to the inevitable apprehension of the five men that hid in the headquarters of the Democratic Party.
Because of Frank’s quick thinking, the court gained appropriate evidence that proved former President Nixon’s inclusion in the crime as he organized the committed burglary to spy on his opponents at the Democratic Party. Not only that, but the uncovering of the Republican Party’s illegal acts soon followed, such as corruption, bugging, perjury, and more of the like, leading to President Nixon’s resignation. (Source: Sometimes Interesting)
The Uncompensated Hero
Although Frank played a significant role in ensuring the reveal of President Nixon’s inclusion in the Watergate Scandal, he received little to no compensation throughout his life for his heroic deeds. With the absence of an offered promotion and mass recognition, Frank only received a $2.50 salary raise.
With no acknowledgment, he soon resigned due to the consistent occurring of harassment and discrimination because of his race. When he returned to live with his mother due to the lack of job opportunities, his mother, unfortunately, had a stroke and left the two paying $450 monthly to the Social Security Stipend.
He then suffered a year in jail for separate accounts of shoplifting a $0.98 pen and tennis shoes worth $16. Soon, the police disclosed the fact that Frank exited the store with no stolen items in hand.
Frank Wills died drowning in poverty at the age of 52 in 2000. (Source: Sometimes Interesting)