Aug. 16, 1929: Wyatt T. Walker was born in Brockton, MA, to Pastor John Wise—and Maude Pinn—Walker.
1946: Walker moves to Richmond to attend Virginia Union University (VUU);
1950: 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;
Dec. 24, 1950: Married Theresa Ann. They later had four children.
1953: Walker graduated Virginia Union’s Graduate School of Religion;
c. 1950’s: 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 Movement;
1960: 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;
May 25, 1961: Walker is arrested in Birmingham, AL during a Freedom Riders protest.
1963: Walker helped organize the famous March 1963 “March on Washington.”
1964: 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.
Dec. 1966—Aug. 1967: Walker serves as Interim Minister of Canaan Baptist Church.
Sept. 1, 1967: Walker becomes the official pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in NY.
March 24, 1968: 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;
c. 1970’s: 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;
Aug. 29, 1972: 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 footprints until this day.
1975: 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].
1975—1980’s: Canaan Baptist Church develops housing units in Harlem.
1979: Walker becomes a published author with the release of Somebody’s Calling My Name (Judson Press, 1979). He has penned 14 books total.
1980’s: 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 Church.
c.1991: Walker chairs the National Action Network’s Board of Directors.
June 20, 1991: 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.
1992: Rev. Walker does a cameo appearance as himself in Spike Lee’s movie, “Malcolm X.” He announced Malcolm’s death.
1993: Ebony magazine declares Rev. Dr. Walker as one of “The 15 Greatest Black Preachers".
2002-2003: Walker suffers four cerebral strokes, resulting in some partial L-side paralysis.
2004: 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. He now carries the title Pastor Emeritus of Canaan;
Walker returns to Virginia for permanent residence.
March 2005: 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.
Oct. 2005: Walker begins speaking engagements, preaching at Corinth Chapel United Church in Virginia.
2006—2008: Walker occasionally appears/speaks at special events.
Jan. 12, 2008: Walker is inducted into the Civil Rights “Walk of Fame” in Atlanta, GA.
Jan. 18, 2009: 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.
May 2, 2013: On the 50th Anniversary of the Birmingham Freedom Struggle, the Schomberg Center for Black Culture will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail and pay tribute to Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, the architect of "Project C" the Birmingham Movement. Click here for more info