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Lee H. Walker

Maker interview details

Profile image of Lee H. Walker
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  • August 12, 2005


  • Category: CivicMakers
  • Occupation(s): Corporate Executive
    Nonprofit Chief Executive


  • Born: October 6, 1938
  • Birth Location: Troy, Alabama


  • Favorite Color: Blue, Brown
  • Favorite Food: Chicken, Grits, Rice, Pork, Fruit
  • Favorite Time of Year: Summer
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

"I Do Not Judge My Success By The Names And Titles Of Where I Live, But I Measure It By The Obstacles I've Had To Overcome To Get To Where I Am."
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Lee Henderson Walker, business executive, vice president, and senior fellow with the Heartland Institute, and founder, director, and president of the New Coalition for Economic and Social Change, was born on October 6, 1938, in Troy, Alabama, where he graduated from Academy High School in 1957. In 1960, after briefly attending Alabama State University, Walker moved to New York City to attend Brooklyn College while working as an insurance salesman for American Progressive Insurance. Walker was then hired at Winston-Muss Corporation in New York as director of employee relations, where he remained from 1961 to 1970. In 1970, Walker became national distribution manager for Sears Roebuck & Company.

While at Sears, Walker completed his B.S. degree in economics and business management, and was awarded a degree from Fordham University in 1975, the same year he served as vice president of the Brooklyn, New York chapter of the NAACP.

After retiring from Sears in 1993, Walker went on to found the New Coalition for Economic and Social Change in Chicago, Illinois, and to serve as chairman of the American Fund of the University of the Orange Free State (South Africa). A former columnist for Crain’s Chicago Business and editorial writer for the Chicago Defender, Walker was also a member of the American Management Association; the board of the Association for the Integration of Management (AIM); the National Urban League Guild of New York City and the Community Development Board of the University of Chicago’s Office of Special Programs. Walker was also director of the Chicago State University Foundation, and a trustee of Illinois Community Colleges. Between 1990 and 1992, Walker served as chairman of the Merit Advisory Board of the Department of Personnel of the Office of the Secretary of State of Illinois. A past president of the Republican Political Club, Walker also served as a member of the New York City Local Draft Board.

In 1967, the New Rochelle Branch of the NAACP gave Walker its distinguished service award, and in 1972, the Harlem Branch of the YMCA gave him the Black Achievers in Industry Award. In 1996, Walker was awarded the Heartland Liberty Prize.

Walker is married to Audrey Davis Walker, with whom he resides in Burr Ridge, Illinois. They have had four children.

Walker passed away on November 8, 2018.

Previews from the Digital Archive


Watch the full interview in the Digital Archive