Passage: Wyatt Tee Walker, 88
Wyatt Tee Walker, 88, civil rights strategist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. confidant, preacher, author, Harlem activist who served for 37 years as the senior pastor of Harlem’s Canaan Baptist Church of Christ.
From 1961 to 1964, he served as the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington. A strong advocate for better schools and affordable housing, he served for ten years as a special assistant on urban affairs to Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York.
So effective was Walker that he was described as the “real leader of the Negro movement” in a 1964 report by the Alabama Legislative Commission to Preserve the Peace, which followed civil rights-era militants, subversives and communists.
“The passing of Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker marks the transition of one of one of the greatest social justice and theological minds of our time,” said Al Sharpton. “Walker was the first Chairman of the National Action Network and a man that mentored me as a civil rights and social justice leader, and while I am saddened by his passing, I am committed to carrying on his legacy. It is both a personal and global loss to me. May he rest in peace.”