Social Justice Activist Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr. Passes Away at 80
Rev. Lucius Walker Jr., social justice activist and founder of the Pastors for Peace, died on 7 September 2010, of a heart attack.
Lucius Walker founded the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) in 1967, with the mission “to help forward the struggles of oppressed peoples for justice and self-determination.” Walker served as Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches from 1973 and 1978, and returned to lead IFCO again in 1979.
In the 1980s, Walker led an IFCO study delegation in Nicaragua to protest U.S. support of Nicaraguan contras. During the visit he was shot and wounded when rebels opened fire, killing two and wounding 27 others. The experience prompted Walker to found Pastors for Peace, the non-profit that operates within IFCO and under which Walker made relief trips to Cuba. A vocal critic of the U.S. embargo of Cuba, Walker transported medical supplies and other aid to the island each year, starting in 1992. Walker led 21 annual “friendshipments” to Cuba through countries such as Canada and Mexico; his most recent caravan took place this summer.
SNCC activist Dr. Gwendolyn Patton described Walker as an “abiding friend of SNCC during our transition/transformation from simplistic social integration and dismantling of Jim Crow laws to a fundamental strategy to achieve cultural, political and economic collective inclusion in a society that purported to be pluralist and democratic.”
Walker was born on 3 August 1930, in Roselle, New Jersey. He received his undergraduate degree from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina and was awarded a Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological Seminary in 1958. Additionally, he earned a Master of Science in Social Work degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1963. In 1984, he became the founding pastor of the Salvation Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, a center of progressive preaching and social activism.