John Walker, Donaldson Academy Partner, Civil Rights Trailblazer dies at 82

John Walker, Joy Springer, Charles Donaldson

(Pictured left to right: Rep. John Walker, civil rights attorney, lawmaker, and education advocate; with Joy Springer and Dr. Charles W. Donaldson in 2018.)

Rep. John Walker, lawmaker, civil rights attorney, and leading force behind the funding of the Dr. Charles W. Donaldson Scholars Academy died Monday morning at his home.

“We are forever grateful for the work Attorney Walker has done in his more than 50-year quest for equality for all citizens. His bold persona and fearless approach laid the foundation for the CWDSA program,” said Dr. Amber Smith, CWDSA director.

The Charles W. Donaldson Scholars Academy was established on the heels of the desegregation settlement of three school districts, Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County.

Attorney Walker is well known for his litigation of the landmark education desegregation case starting in the early 1980s. The case later produced a settlement and established a grant that launched the Donaldson Academy.

“Because of John’s tenacity and passion, the Donaldson Academy has impacted over 2,500 students in the Pulaski County and Jacksonville North Pulaski school districts,” said Dr. Charles Donaldson.

“His unrelenting quest for the betterment of society gave voice to many who have historically gone unheard. He never stopped fighting for a brighter future for the youth in our state, and his work will propel many forward for years to come.”

Attorney Walker has successfully defended his clients in numerous cases. At his passing, he was also serving his fifth term in the Arkansas State House of Representatives for District 34. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, New York University, and Yale Law School.

Funeral Arrangements
Rep. John Walker will lie in state at the Arkansas State Capitol from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. Family visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Wesley Chapel United Methodist on the campus of Philander Smith College. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at St. Mark Baptist Church on West 12th Street. Burial is expected to be in Walker’s hometown of Hope, Arkansas.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Philander Smith College or the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

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