Black Wall Street PA

Late Actor Has Ties To Harrisburg

Harrisburg, PA

photogrpahed by Leon Laing

Michael K. Williams, an A-list actor, was found dead on Sept. 6. Reports show he died from an accidental drug overdose. 

The celebrity’s private funeral garnered national attention, held by Hooper Memorial Home in Harrisburg on Sept. 14. Rapper/singer/actress Queen Latifah and other famous actors, including “The Wire,” attended. Jonathan Branam, Hooper Memorial’s business manager, told Black Wall Street PA that Harrisburg would be the only location for the funeral. 

Aside from being a sought-after actor, Williams has ties to Harrisburg residents. His mother lives here. And friends Chris Franklin of the Harlem Globetrotters and actor Michael Giovanni were some of the pallbearers at the funeral. Williams used to visit Harrisburg and could be spotted hanging out with Franklin. 


In December 2019, the Sankofa African American Theatre Company, Sankofa 21 Institute, and Williams hosted the first Sankofa Film Festival. 

The festival held at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg offered “Raised in the System” and “The Hate U Give,” two films about the criminal justice system and race relations. 

After showing their film, Williams and Dominic Dupont appeared in “Raised in the System” and held a Q&A. 

Williams, known for his roles in “The Wire,” “12 Years a Slave,” “When They See Us,” and “Boardwalk Empire,” is the brother of Paul Carey, president of Sankofa 21 Institute. Dupont, who served more than 20 years in prison, told me that Carey is his stepfather, but he calls him father. Dupont is also Williams’ nephew. Sharia Benn, the cofounder of the Sankofa African American Theatre Company, is a Harrisburg resident who grew up in Baltimore. Baltimore is also the city where HBO filmed “The Wire.” 

When asked why he chose to be a part of “Raised in the System,” here’s what Williams said: 

“The school-to-prison pipeline. That was the first time I had heard those words used in a sentence, and it devastated me. So all you see here is me taking the journey to find out what that meant and how it affects my community. It was truly a gift of God.” 

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