Wyatt Tee Walker, Virginia Union Alum and Civil Rights Leader Who Worked Beside MLK Jr., Dies

 

 The Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, who helped assemble the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous Letter From Birmingham Jail from notes the incarcerated King wrote on paper scraps and newspaper margins, has died.

He was either 88 or 89. Family records showed different years of birth, said his daughter, Patrice Walker Powell, who confirmed his death.

Powell said her father died Tuesday morning at an assisted living facility in Chester, Va.

Walker was brought in by King to be the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, three years after the civil rights organization was founded.

He already was a top civil rights leader in Virginia, where he had led a “Pilgrimage of Prayer” in Richmond against school segregation on New Year’s Day 1959. Both his parents attended Virginia Union University. His father, Rev. John Wise Walker was a student of the first graduating class of the University in 1899. Wyatt went on to graduate from Union with a bachelor’s degree in both Physics and Chemistry in 1950, graduating with honors.

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