Scope and arrangement
The Reverend Charles D. Walker Papers, 1923-1985, contain documents from various aspects of Walker's multi-faceted career, especially those years when he was an active figure in the spiritual and civic life of Milford, Connecticut. The collection consists of letters, certificates, programs, photographs, audiotapes, and newspaper clippings on Walker himself, on housing problems, and on local coverage of a cross-burning incident in Milford in 1979. Included are several of Walker's unpublished manuscripts: poems, short stories, an unfinished novel, essays--all written in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s--and a brief autobiographical sketch. The Walker papers also contain speeches made by Walker in the 1960s, including his eulogy to Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition, Walker's scrapbook collects newspaper clippings and correspondence from the 1930s and from his years in Milford.
The Walker Papers contain very little information on Walker's personal life; aside from the fact that he was married and widowed twice, the collection offers little about his private views on his life, on life in Milford, generally, or, on the United States in the civil rights era. The collection also has a large gap in it from the mid-1930s to 1960. Despite these limitations, the Walker Papers may be of use to scholars interested in learning more about a subject that remains largely unexplored by historians and sociologists: the experience of African Americans in small Northern towns where they constituted only a small minority of the population. In this sense, evidence of the extent to which Walker seems to have been able to play an active role in the civic life of the entire Milford community, while at the same time representing the particular needs of his congregants and the black citizenry of Milford, would be useful in the development of studies of black life in the post-World War II North.
The Charles D. Walker papers are arranged in three series: