Petersburg, SCLC, and the Civil Rights Movement
In 1964 Walker left his post at the SCLC and started work as a marketing specialist for the Negro Heritage Library, of which he became president in 1966. Part of the library's mission was to persuade schools to include the perspectives and experiences of African Americans in their curricula. In 1967, at King's behest, Walker became the interim pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. There, on March 24, 1968, King served as the guest preacher at Walker's installation service. Eleven days later, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
After a period of illness that resulted in a major stroke in January 2003, Walker resigned as senior pastor of Canaan Baptist Church of Christ after thirty-seven years. In 2004 he was officially installed as Pastor Emeritus. On January 18, 2009, he was one of twenty-five honorees who received the "Keepers of the Flame" award at the African American Church Inaugural Ball, celebrating the inauguration of United States president Barack Obama. Walker died at an assisted-living facility in Chester on January 23, 2018.
- "Somebody's Calling My Name": Black Sacred Music and Social Change (1979)
- The Soul of Black Worship: A Trilogy—Preaching, Praying, Singing (1984)
- Road to Damascus: A Journey of Faith (1985)
- Spirits That Dwell Deep in the Woods: The Prayer and Praise Hymns of the Black Religious Experience (1987–1991)
- Gospel in the Land of the Rising Sun (1991)
- The Harvard Paper: The African-American Church and Economic Development (1994)
- Soweto Diary: The Free Elections in South Africa: Featuring the Original Poetry of Nathan Wright, Jr. (1994)
- A Prophet from Harlem Speaks: Sermons & Essays (1997)
- Race, Justice & Culture: Pre-Millennium Essays (1998)
- Millennium End Papers: The Walker File '98–'99 (2000)
- My Stroke of Grace: A Testament of Faith Renewal (2002)
August 16, 1929 - Wyatt Tee Walker is born in Brockton, Massachusetts.
1950 - Wyatt Tee Walker graduates magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in chemistry and physics from Virginia Union University in Richmond.
December 24, 1950 - Wyatt Tee Walker marries Theresa Ann Edwards. They will have four children.
1953 - Wyatt Tee Walker earns his master of divinity degree from Virginia Union University in Richmond and then moves to Petersburg where he becomes pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church.
1958 - Martin Luther King Jr. appoints Wyatt Tee Walker to the board of the newly founded Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
1960 - Wyatt Tee Walker is appointed chief of staff to Martin Luther King Jr. and serves as the first full-time executive director of Atlanta's Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He moves from Petersburg to Atlanta, Georgia.
May 25, 1961 - Wyatt Tee Walker is arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, during a Freedom Riders' protest.
1964 - Wyatt Tee Walker leaves his post at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and starts work as a marketing specialist for the Negro Heritage Library. He becomes president in 1966.
September 1, 1967 - Wyatt Tee Walker becomes the interim pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York.
March 24, 1968 - Martin Luther King Jr. is the guest preacher at Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, at Wyatt Tee Walker's official installation as pastor. Eleven days later, King is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
1975 - Wyatt Tee Walker earns his doctorate in African American studies with a specialization in music from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York.
1978 - Wyatt Tee Walker organizes the International Freedom Mobilization to protest apartheid in South Africa.
1979 - Wyatt Tee Walker publishes his first of many books, "Somebody's Calling My Name": Black Sacred Music and Social Change.
January 18, 2009 - Wyatt Tee Walker is one of twenty-five honorees who receive the "Keepers of the Flame" award at the African American Church Inaugural Ball, celebrating the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
January 23, 2018 - Wyatt Tee Walker dies at an assisted-living facility in Chester.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Lawing, C. Wyatt Tee Walker (1929–2018). (2018, January 25). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Walker_Wyatt_Tee_1929-.
- MLA Citation:
Lawing, Charlie. "Wyatt Tee Walker (1929–2018)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 25 Jan. 2018. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: April 13, 2010 | Last modified: January 25, 2018
Contributed by Charlie Lawing, writer, researcher, and retired educator.