University of Richmond to Host Symposium Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Civil Rights Leader Wyatt Tee Walker

August 28, 2018

Image of Walker with King UPDATE: The Wyatt Tee Walker Syposium scheduled for Thursday has been cancelled. The event is slated to be rescheduled at a later time.

The University of Richmond School of Arts & Sciences will host the Wyatt Tee Walker Symposium Sept. 13 from 2-7:30 p.m. in the Jepson Alumni Center. The event is free and open to the public, and attendees are welcome to attend any portion that fits their schedule.

Programming will focus on celebrating the life and legacy of Walker, a distinguished theologian and civil rights leader, who served as chief of staff for Martin Luther King Jr. and executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Walker, who passed away in January, gifted his personal collection to the University of Richmond Boatwright Memorial Library. The collection includes hundreds of historical pieces, including papers, recorded sermons, and memorabilia. The library continues to process and catalogue the collection, which will be available for research.

The Walker Symposium will include a sneak peek into the donated materials beginning at 2 p.m., a panel discussion at 3 p.m., and a keynote lecture by Reverend Joseph Evans, Dean of Morehouse School of Religion and close family friend, at 6 p.m. The complete agenda is available online.

“This symposium will celebrate Dr. Walker as a civil rights pioneer who was a champion for equality and inclusion, principles that have become foundational to the University of Richmond,” said UR President Ronald A. Crutcher, who will deliver welcoming remarks. “We were honored to be gifted his personal collection, and we look forward to helping preserve and ensure access to Walker’s legacy for generations to come.”

The Walker Symposium kicks off a series of themed programming called “Contested Spaces: Race, Nation, and Conflict,” which focuses on conversations centered around conflict resulting from ethnic, racial, and cultural differences.

“Reverend Walker was the largest single developer of affordable housing in New York City and held many pivotal roles in contesting racially defined spaces,” said Patrice Rankine, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, who will moderate a panel discussion focusing on Walker’s legacy. “The Walker Symposium continues an important conversation about equity and justice and launches further inquiry as to how we talk about and apply these values on our campus, in our nation, and in the world.”