Virginia Theological Seminary to Receive the Papers of Washington’s First Black Episcopal Bishop

The Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria reports that it will receive the papers of the Rt. Rev. John Thomas Walker, an African American who served as the Episcopal Bishop of Washington from 1977 until his death in 1989.

Walker graduated from Wayne State University in 1951. He then became the first African American to enroll for full-time study at the Virginia Theological Seminary.

After graduation, in 1954, he was ordained a deacon and priest and he served in Detroit. He later taught at St Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. He came to Washington in 1966 and was elevated to bishop in 1977. He also served as dean of the National Cathedral, but he died one year before the building was consecrated.