The Rev. and Mrs. Wyatt Tee Walker Collection

Last fall, Boatwright Library was honored to receive a very special donation when Rev. and Mrs. Wyatt Tee Walker gifted their personal collection of historical materials to the University of Richmond.  The collection contains papers, books, recorded sermons, photographs, correspondence, awards, textiles, and ephemera focused primarily on civil rights.

Rev. Walker is a distinguished theologian, cultural historian, prolific author, and leader in the civil rights movement.  His involvement in international civil rights included working as Chief of Staff to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., serving as Executive Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and as Special Assistant for Urban Affairs for Gov. Nelson Rockefeller in New York.  In his fight against apartheid in South Africa, Walker organized the International Freedom Mobilization in 1978.  Recognized as an authority on African-American religious music, Walker’s scholarship studied the relationship between music, the black religious tradition, and social change.  Rev. Walker was instrumental in many of the prominent civil rights campaigns, including Albany, GA, helping organize the March on Washington, and was the chief architect and tactician for Project C, the protest movement in Birmingham, Alabama, where King and Walker were jailed in 1963. Mrs. Walker served as a Freedom Rider and supported her husband’s activities; in fact, she was arrested in 1961 in Jackson, Mississippi.

The Walkers also have a strong connection to the local Richmond and Petersburg area.  Rev. Walker earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Divinity degrees from Virginia Union University, and served from 1953 to 1960 as pastor of the Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg.  He was a prominent figure in civil rights activities in Petersburg, serving as president of the local chapter of the NAACP, as state director for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and as founder of the Petersburg Improvement Association to protest the city’s segregation.  The first of Walker’s 17 arrests occurred in Petersburg as Walker violated the library’s segregation policy. 

The Rev. and Mrs. Wyatt Tee Walker collection offers the opportunity to explore new information about the civil rights movement and the Walkers’ significant contributions to it, as well as the ability to study the life and career of Rev. Walker.  We anticipate the first portion of the collection to be available for research in late 2016.  Follow the Rare Book and Special Collections blog, “Something Uncommon,” for updates as well as information about other materials available for research!

--Lynda Kachurek,  Head of Rare Books and Special Collections

Generous Thinking:
Why We Need the Humanities, and How to Save Them

Dr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Associate Executive Director and Director of Scholarly Communication of the Modern Language Association, will visit the University of Richmond on February 4 and 5, 2016.  Dr. Fitzpatrick will offer a public talk on Thursday, February 4 from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. in the Brown-Alley Room of Weinstein Hall.  Her remarks will focus on how we can generate new thinking about moving the humanities forward on college campuses and in public life. Dr. Fitzpatrick also holds appointments as Visiting Research Professor of English at NYU and Visiting Professor in Media at Coventry University. She served as a professor in English and Media Studies at Pomona College from 1998 to 2013. Fitzpatrick is the author of Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy (NYU Press, 2011) and of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006). She is co-founder of the digital scholarly network MediaCommons, where she led a number of experiments in open peer review and other innovations in scholarly communication.

--Lucretia McCulley, Head, Scholarly Communications
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