Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, the first full-time executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King's chief of staff, is in Dallas tonight to speak at the Belo Mansion as part of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture's Fourth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium. Arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, during a Freedom Riders protest in May 1961, Walker was among the organizers of the March on Washington in '63 and a key figure behind the Birmingham Campaign that same year. Walker will be joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Diane McWhorter.
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Promises the Institute of tonight's event, "Both speakers will reflect on the significance of Birmingham 1963 in relation to the progress of civil rights in the U.S. from then until the present moment of President-elect Obama's historic inauguration." Walker got a jump on his fellow panelist this afternoon, however, telling Forbes that he's none too happy with Barack Obama's decision to go with Rick Warren for tomorrow's invocation. Says Walker from Dallas today, "I thought he should have had someone from the civil rights movement. It's because of the civil rights movement that he's there today."