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Walker, Wyatt T

Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker is internationally known for his contributions to the Civil Rights and anti-apartheid movements. A chief strategist for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Walker was one of the key architects of the 1960-64 civil rights campaigns. While he was an infant, the family moved from Brockton, Massachusetts, to Merchantville, New Jersey, a town renowned at that time for rampant racism and segregation. At nine years old, Walker staged his first civil rights protest when he and his siblings refused to be turned away from a segregated movie house and instead entered the theater and took their seats. At Virginia Union University, Walker met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The two built a lasting relationship, and Walker soon became King’s key strategist for the civil rights campaigns. Walker orchestrated some of the key events of the Civil Rights Movement, including student sit-ins, freedom rides, and protests and marches in Albany, Georgia; Atlanta; and Birmingham. He is most well known for his success with “Project C,” which was a strategic plan for the mass marches in Birmingham and served as a blueprint for subsequent civil rights campaigns. Walker has held numerous influential positions both in and out of the ministry. In 1967, Walker took the Chief Minister position at Harlem’s Canaan Baptist Church, a position he held for 37 years.

Walker earned a Ph.D. in African American studies with a specialization in music in 1975, and has since published 27 books on topics including human rights, the ministry and African American musical traditions.