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Walter Bailey, Jr.

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Information about Walter Bailey, Jr.

Profile image of Walter Bailey, Jr.

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Lawyer
County Commissioner

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red, White
Favorite Food:
Porterhouse Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New York, New York
Favorite Quote:
Live In The Moment.

Birthplace

Born:
8/21/1940
Birth Location:
Memphis, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Lawyer
County Commissioner

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red, White
Favorite Food:
Porterhouse Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New York, New York
Favorite Quote:
Live In The Moment.

Birthplace

Born:
8/21/1940
Birth Location:
Memphis
See how Walter Bailey, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

County commissioner and lawyer Walter Bailey was born in 1940, in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated from Booker T. Washington high School and went on to attend Southern University on a football scholarship. The student sit-in protests against segregation were sweeping the South at this point and Southern University was no exception. Bailey’s brother, D’Army Bailey, also attended Southern University and he became a leader of the Civil Rights Movement on campus. Bailey helped his brother with his civil rights organizing and went to protests with him, some of which were broken up violently. Southern University did its best to badger the Baileys into giving up their protests and boycotts, eventually expelling his brother and shutting down rather than accepting back its students who had been arrested in various protests.

Undaunted, Bailey went on to receive his J.D. degree from the Southern University Law Center and founded the Walter Bailey law firm. Bailey was involved in several important civil rights-related cases, including the case that desegregated Shelby County public schools and the legal defense of Martin Luther King Jr. during the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968. In 1985, Bailey served as lead counsel on the favorably decided Supreme Court case Tennessee vs. Garner , which forbid police officers’ use of deadly force to make an arrest unless they had probable cause to believe that the fugitive posed a deadly threat to them or bystanders.

In 1971, Bailey was elected to an unexpired term on the Shelby County Commission and was elected to a full term in the same role in 1972. Bailey served in this capacity until 2006, when term limits required him not to run, and during his tenure on the commission he was elected chairman pro tempore and then chairman proper for two terms. While on the commission, Bailey fought to rename county parks that had been named after various members of the Confederacy. In 2010, once Bailey had waited the mandated period of time, he ran again for the Shelby County Commission and his victory was unopposed.

See how Walter Bailey, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Bailey, Jr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his paternal grandfather, D.A. Bailey pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his parents' personalities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes how he takes after his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his paternal grandfather, D.A. Bailey pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes the home he grew up in in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his experience at Rosebud Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his experience at the Larose Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the beginning of his football career and playing little league baseball
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about training with the Booker T. Washington High School football team as a student at Larose Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes playing football at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. lists the black high schools in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1940s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about his social life at Booker T. Washington High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about his relationship with his brother, HistoryMaker D'Army Bailey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the absence of political discussion in his childhood home
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1958 and being recruited by Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. remembers joining the Southern University football team
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. lists notable black college football players from the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Walter Bailey, Jr. explains why he changed his major from physical education to political science at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Walter Bailey, Jr. remembers Adolph Reed at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about Dr. Felton G. Clark, the former president of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about a student boycott at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana led by his brother, HistoryMaker D'Army Bailey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about Professor Adolph Reed's criticism of Southern University president Dr. Felton G. Clark
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as largely Catholic
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes segregation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes the consequences of the anti-segregation demonstrations at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about deciding to become a lawyer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about transferring into the Southern University Law School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his experience as a student in the Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about taking the bar exam in Louisiana and in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about joining HistoryMaker Russell B. Sugarmon and A.W. Willis' law practice in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes winning a housing discrimination lawsuit in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks briefly about his involvement in a Shelby County, Tennessee school desegregation case
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his work with the American Civil Liberties Union on an obscenity lawsuit
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. explains why Martin Luther King, Jr. had been in Tennessee when he was assassinated in 1968
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. explains how the NAACP Legal Defense Fund works
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes the aftermath of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks briefly about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s killer
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about becoming the Shelby County Tennessee Commissioner
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about housing discrimination and white flight in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the 1985 Tennessee v. Garner decision, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the 1985 Tennessee v. Garner decision, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about arguing Tennessee v. Garner before the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about being elected chairman of the Shelby County Commission
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his responsibilities as Shelby County Commissioner in Shelby County, Tennessee
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the election of former Memphis, Tennessee mayor Willie Wilbert Herenton
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for black leadership in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the Confederate Park in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. expresses his opinion about Memphis, Tennessee politicians' handling of race issues
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the 2008 election of HistoryMaker President Barack Obama
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about Nikki Tinker's run for U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks briefly about his family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. considers what he would have done differently
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey narrates his photographs