So others don't forget the works of warriors who blazed the trail upon which we walk;
and as a tribute to the Civil Rights leader and administrative assistant to
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Melody T. McCloud, M.D.
re-launched this website.
Here, you'll find a chronology of many points in Rev. Walker's life,
some of his words and a view of some of his interests.
About — Timeline ↓
Wyatt T. Walker was born in Brockton, MA, to Pastor John Wise—and Maude Pinn—Walker. [NOTE:
For decades, it was thought he was born in 1929, but his recently-found birth certificate read 1927.]
Walker moves to Richmond to attend Virginia Union University (VUU).
Walker graduated Magna Cum Laude from VUU with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Physics. While
in school, he often refused to ride in the back of streetcars. This often led to him being let off from the vehicles.
Walker also becomes a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Married Theresa Ann. They later had four children.
Walker graduated Virginia Union’s Graduate School of Religion.
Rev. Walker became pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, VA. The first of his 17 arrests
occurred when he led a group of Blacks through “Whites only” doors of the local library.
Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK) learned of Walker’s efforts, causing the beginning of a working relationship for The
Walker becomes the third—and first full-time—Executive Director of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference (SCLC) and became MLK’s Chief of Staff. In this role, Walker worked diligently behind the scenes to
organize, plan and work the logistics and protest strategies for the civil rights marches.
Walker is arrested in Birmingham, AL during a Freedom Riders protest.
Walker helped organize the famous March 1963 “March on Washington.”
Walker resigns from SCLC after some SCLC staffers found his leadership style aggressive, arrogant and
heavy-handed. He became the vice president of the Negro Heritage Library.
Walker serves as Interim Minister of Canaan Baptist Church.
Walker becomes the official pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in NY.
Rev. Wyatt T. Walker’s installation service at Harlem’s Canaan Baptist Church in New York.
Rev. Martin L. King was the guest preacher. Eleven days later, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, TN.
For ten years Walker served as Urban Affairs Specialist to New York’s Governor Nelson Rockefeller.
Walker was summoned to Attica Maximum Security Prison to help quell the riots;
Dr. Walker receives a Doctor of Honorary Letters.
Walker finalizes the agreement with new Canaan musicians, Clinton Utterbach and Eugene Cooper.
This began a new direction for the church’s music department, resulting in Canaan’s first choral albums. This is
also the day Dr. Walker embarked upon a very private, personal journey that’s left huge imprints, and that he held
Walker completes his earned Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree after studying in Africa, Rochester,
NY (1974) and in NYC. Walker’s dissertation was “The Scaffold of Faith: The Music of the Black Religious Tradition,”
[Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, 1974].
Canaan Baptist Church develops housing units in Harlem.
Walker becomes a published author with the release of
Somebody’s Calling My Name (Judson Press, 1979). He has penned 14 books total.
Dr. Walker served on the National Committee on the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), later serving
as its president. This led to Walker hosting many African leaders, including Nelson Mandela, at Canaan Baptist
Walker chairs the National Action Network’s Board of Directors.
Walker makes his second address to the Council for Better Corporate Citizenship of the Keidanren
in Tokyo, Japan. Japanese tourists often visited Canaan’s services.
Rev. Walker does a cameo appearance as himself in Spike Lee’s movie, “Malcolm X.” He announced Malcolm’s
Ebony magazine declares Rev. Dr. Walker as one of “The 15 Greatest Black Preachers".
Walker suffers four cerebral strokes, resulting in some partial L-side paralysis.
With much regret—but firm resolve—after 37 years at the helm, Dr. Walker retires from his post as Senior
Pastor of Harlem’s Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, and is bestowed the title Pastor Emeritus of Canaan.
Walker returns to Virginia for permanent residence.
The Sisulu Children’s Academy—Harlem Public Charter School is renamed the Sisulu-Walker Charter
School of Harlem, in honor of Rev. Dr. Walker’s community leadership.
Walker begins speaking engagements, preaching at Corinth Chapel United Church in Virginia.
Walker occasionally appears/speaks at special events.
Walker is inducted into the Civil Rights “Walk of Fame” in Atlanta, GA.
Walker receives a special recognition at Randolph-Macon College, during a MLK Celebration
Rev. Walker was a recipient of the "Keepers of the Flame" Award at the African-American Church
Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC, during the inauguration events for Pres. Barack Obama.
Photos shown are just some of the photos I’ve taken, taken of us, or those given to me by Dr. Walker from his personal
collection. Others are file photos in the public domain, or, as noted.
Little Known Facts
He loved art, sailing, photography, writing, gospel music, a soothing melody, and golf…but what else? And what's in
a name—his name? Stay tuned!
This site's administrator is Dr. Melody T. McCloud, an obstetrician-gynecologist, author, public speaker and media
consultant in Atlanta, GA. Dr. McCloud was a member of Canaan Baptist Church in the early 1970s.
When working on his doctorate in sacred music, Rev. Walker appointed Melody secretary to the Music Department (under
Clinton Utterbach and Gene Cooper). Rev. Walker also asked Melody to help him create and layout the Deacon Parishes,
that the church still uses to this day.
After school, Melody regularly helped in the church office; and in 1973, was the Female Youth of the Year. She was
a member of the Celestial Choir, the Canaan Concert Choir and other church ministries. She has been published by
Simon & Schuster; and is currently working on two book proposals, including one: her memoir.
To send remembrances (100 word limit); or media inquires, send EMAIL to BOTH addresses: