Mourning the death of Wyatt Tee Walker, civil rights leader, pastor, and devoted member of his community

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Senate Resolution No. 3600


LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION mourning the death of
Wyatt Tee Walker, civil rights leader, pastor, and
devoted member of his community

WHEREAS, It is with profound intent that this Legislative Body is
moved to pay homage to a man of indomitable faith and dedication whose
purposeful life and accomplishments will forever stand as a paradigm and
inspiration for others; and

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to give acclaim to
individuals of great character whose lives exemplify the highest ideals
of humanity; and

WHEREAS, With feelings of deepest regret, this Legislative Body
records the passing of Wyatt Tee Walker, who died on Tuesday, January
23, 2018, at the age of 88, noting the loss of a citizen whose
purposeful life and endeavors contributed so much to the quality of life
in his community; and

WHEREAS, Wyatt Tee Walker was born to John Wise and Maude Pin Walker
on August 16, 1929; after graduating from high school in Merchantville,
New Jersey, he earned a bachelor's degree in both chemistry and physics
from Virginia Union University in 1950; and

WHEREAS, In that same year, he married his wife, the former Theresa
Ann Walker, and together the couple raised four beautiful children; and

WHEREAS, Three years later, Wyatt Tee furthered his education by
obtaining his Master of Divinity from Virginia Union's Graduate School
of Religion; later, in 1975, he received his Doctorate of Ministry
degree from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School; and

WHEREAS, In 1953, Wyatt Tee Walker became the Pastor of Gillfield
Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia; during this time, he also held
the title of President of the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP), and Director of the state's Congress of
Racial Equality (CORE); and

WHEREAS, This great man also founded the Petersburg Improvement
Association (PIA) which was patterned after the Montgomery Improvement
Association (MIA); and

WHEREAS, In 1958, Wyatt Tee Walker became a member of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization headed by Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.; in 1960, he was appointed Executive Director of
SCLC and served as Dr. King's Chief of Staff, a position he held for the
next four years; and

WHEREAS, Dedicated to the civil rights movement, Wyatt Tee Walker
participated in a Freedom Ride, and was instrumental in organizing the
1963 March on Washington; and

WHEREAS, On March 7, 1965, Wyatt Tee Walker and Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. were part of a group of peaceful demonstrators who attempted
to walk over the Edmund Pettus Bridge to Montgomery, the capitol of
Alabama; unfortunately, the marchers were attacked by armed police,
turning what was meant to be a calm, peaceful day into a day that will
forever go down in infamy, the conflict of Bloody Sunday; and

WHEREAS, As part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s inner circle,
Wyatt Tee Walker was with his mentor, idol, and friend, Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. when he was tragically assassinated in Memphis,
Tennessee on April 4, 1968; and

WHEREAS, On September 1, 1967, Wyatt Tee Walker relocated to New
York City to become Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem;
under his luminous leadership, the congregation grew from 800 to 3,000
members; in 2004, he officially retired from this post; and

WHEREAS, Wyatt Tee Walker also served as Urban Affairs Specialist to
New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, and in 1979, he published the
first of several books, Somebody's Calling My Name: Black Sacred Music
and Social Change; and

WHEREAS, During the 1980s, Wyatt Tee Walker became a member of the
National Committee on the American Committee on Africa; in 1988, he
co-founded the Religious Action Network of Africa Action to challenge
the repressive apartheid system in South Africa, and served as Chair of
the Central Harlem Local Development Corporation; and

WHEREAS, Eventually Wyatt Tee Walker moved back to Virginia where he
taught classes at the School of Theology at Virginia Union University;

WHEREAS, For his steadfast and unremitting commitment to his
community and church, Wyatt Tee Walker was named one of America's "15
Greatest Black Preachers" by Ebony Magazine in 1993; he was also
inducted into the Civil Rights "Walk of Fame" in Atlanta, Georgia, and
on January 18, 2009, during the inauguration events in Washington, D.C.
for President Barack Obama, he was the recipient of the Keepers of the
Flame Award at the African-American Church Inaugural Ball; and

WHEREAS, Our society is greatly benefited by the purposeful efforts
of individuals who unite for the cause of improving the quality of life
for others, and who proactively work toward the goal of dignity for all;
Wyatt Tee Walker truly served his community and fellow man, making the
world a kinder, more just place for everyone to live, play and work; and

WHEREAS, In appreciation of his life of commitment, dedication and
substantial contribution, it is the intent of this Legislative Body to
inscribe upon its records this tribute to the memory of Wyatt Tee Walker
that future generations may know and appreciate his admirable character,
his many benevolent deeds, and the respect and esteem in which he was
held; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
mourn the death of Wyatt Tee Walker, civil rights leader, pastor, and
devoted member of his community; and be it further

RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be
transmitted to the family of Wyatt Tee Walker.


  • 25 / Jan / 2018
  • 30 / Jan / 2018
  • 30 / Jan / 2018

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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