Wyatt Tee Walker was a civil rights activist, author, and religious leader. After earning his master of divinity degree from Virginia Union University in 1953, Walker became the pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg. During the 1950s, he served as the president of the Petersburg branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was the state director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in Virginia, and founded the Petersburg Improvement Association. In 1960 he was appointed chief of staff to Martin Luther King Jr. and served as the first full-time executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Walker was instrumental in the fund-raising campaigns of the SCLC early in the 1960s and he helped formulate and analyze various protest strategies. He left the SCLC in 1964 and went on to serve as the pastor of Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem, New York, for thirty-seven years. Following his retirement in 2004, he returned to Virginia, where he died in 2018.