Oral history interview with William O. Walker, 1971


Walker, William O., 1896-1981 (Interviewee)
La Brie, Henry G (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with William O. Walker, 1971
Other Titles
Reminiscences of William O. Walker : oral history, 1971; Oral history of William O. Walker, 1971
In this interview conducted by Henry La Brie III, William Otis Walker recounts his life history and discusses: his time at the Call & Post; the methods used to get stories; the competition in breaking stories; the role of the black press in the Civil Rights Era; the distinctions between the white press' and the black press' growth and readerships; and the future of the black press. Walker discusses how the black press was instrumental in fighting segregation in public spaces around Washington D.C. and the black press's importance in the face of discrimination in the present and future. He compares the press of non-English speaking ethnic groups to the black press in America in regard to assimilation into mainstream media. Furthermore, Walker outlines how developments in technology, history, and shifting racial dynamics have affected the readership of the black press.
Collection Name
Black Journalists oral history collection
Newspapers--Circulation; Journalism--Political aspects; Journalism--Social aspects; Journalists; African Americans--Civil rights; African American press; African American journalists; Cleveland (Ohio); United States Race relations; Walker, William O
oral histories
Physical Description
sound files : digital preservation master, WAV files (96kHz, 24 bit); 68 pages
Note (Biographical)
William Otis Walker (often abbreviated as W. O. Walker) was born in Selma, Alabama on September 19, 1896. He graduated from Wilberforce University in 1916 with a bachelor's in business, and later attended Oberlin Business College in 1918. He began rep orting for the Pittsburgh Courier in 1919 until he started reporting and editing for the Norfolk Journal and Guide in Virginia in 1921. Walker moved to Washington, D.C. and managed the Washington Tribune until 1932, when he moved to Cleveland. He worked at the Call & Post and revamped and expanded the newspaper from having one employee in 1932 to being one of the most influential black newspapers in the country. From 1940 to 1947, Walker served as a Republican Cleveland City Council member and was Ohio's Director of Industrial Relations from 1963 to 1971. He passed away in 1981.
Interviewed by Henry G. La Brie III on June 11, 1971.
Note (Provenance)
Henry G. La Brie III Gift, 1975
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Catalog Record
Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Time-Based Media
Time-Based Media
Persistent URL
Related URLs
Available digital content for this interview.