William O. Walker

From Ohio History Central
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Dr. William O. Walker was a prominent journalist, publisher and political leader in Cleveland, Ohio for much of the mid to late twentieth century.

Walker was born in 1896 in Selma, Alabama. He studied at Wilberforce University and Oberlin Business College and began a career in journalism.

In 1932, he became the publisher and editor of the Cleveland Call and Post, one of the most influential African-American newspapers in the United States. Walker used this weekly paper to educate the community about racial injustices occurring in both Cleveland and across the United States. During this period, African Americans increasingly supported the Democratic Party, but Walker used his paper as a strong voice for the Republican Party.

Besides publishing the Cleveland Call and Post, Walker also played an active role in local and state politics. He served as a Cleveland city councilman during the 1940s. In 1963, Walker became the first African-American cabinet member in the history of Ohio when Governor James Rhodes selected him to be Director of the Ohio Department of Industrial Relations. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan considered appointing Walker as chairman of the U. S. Civil Rights Commission, but Walker died on October 29, 1981, before the nomination was made.

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