VUU’s STVU Honors the Legacy of Civil Rights Leader Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker

November 13, 2019

Virginia Union University announced the newly formed “Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker Social Justice Society of Preachers and Prophetic Witnesses” during a formal Investiture service on Monday, November 11, at 7:00 p.m. in Coburn Hall. The family of the Civil Rights leader attended the service and observed as a newly commissioned portrait of Dr. Walker was unveiled along with an image of a medallion that will be awarded to future society honorees. Beginning in November 2020, the first members who embody the leadership, spirit, and dedication of Dr. Walker will be inducted into the society.

“We are honored to take part in the building of such an extraordinary honor in the name of our dear friend and alumnus Dr. Wyatt T. Walker,” said Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President & CEO of Virginia Union University. “Virginia Union University will forever honor its son by honoring those who embody his advocacy for social justice and Afrocentric ideals in the areas of scholarship, theology, service, leadership, preaching, teaching, community, government, public policy and music. May this declaration, guide us as we begin to invest and to celebrate his legacy.” 

The Investiture service kicked off the 70th Annual Ellison-Jones Convocation which takes place November 11 – 14, 2019 at Virginia Union University. Several religious leaders will give lectures on praise and worship, ministry, and how music plays a part in delivering the message to worshippers. The conference will hosts praise and worship services by several ministerial leaders including Dr. Rudolph W. McKissick, Senior Pastor of The Bethel Church (Jacksonville, FL) and Dr. Howard-John Wesley, Senior Pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church (Alexandria, VA). The “Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker Social Justice Society of Preachers and Prophetic Witnesses” induction ceremony will be an annual kick-off to the Ellison-Jones Convocation.

“VUU is honored by the fact that Wyatt T. Walker walked these holy grounds.” said Dr. W.F. Richardson, Chair, Virginia Union University Board of Trustees. “He was an integral  part of Virginia Union, serving on the Board of Trustees. Virginia Union was his intellectual and spiritual home, and I am excited that we could honor him in such a way.  

“Virginia Union, through their educational programs prepared him to walk among kings and queens and never be intimidated” said Ann Walker, Widow of Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker.   

Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker ‘50, '53 was an African-American pastor, national civil rights leader, theologian, and cultural historian. He attended Virginia Union University where he studied Chemistry and Physics, graduating magna cum laude with the class of 1950. Upon completing undergrad, Dr. Walker continued his educational pursuits, receiving his M.A. in Divinity 1953. While in the seminary school, Dr. Walker met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his journey with the civil rights movement began,

Walker served as chief of staff for Dr. King and in 1958 became an early board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He helped found the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) chapter in 1958. As executive director of the SCLC from 1960 to 1964, Walker helped to bring the group to national prominence.

Walker began his call to ministry as pastor at historic Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia. He was later called as senior pastor at Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem, New York, where he served for 37 years. During this time, he co-founded the Religious Action Network of Africa Action to oppose apartheid in South Africa and chaired the Central Harlem Local Development Corporation.

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About Virginia Union University

Virginia Union University is a premier liberal arts urban institution of higher education and center of excellence for the preparation of students and the development of leaders for tomorrow’s world. It was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. Virginia Union University offers a broad range of educational opportunities that advances liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, continuing education, civic engagement, and international experiences. Visit  https://www.vuu.edu/ for more information.