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The Morris W. H. (Bill) Collins Speaker Series

Photo of Robert M. Walker

February 1, 2001

Robert M. Walker, a native of Vicksburg, has been elected to the Office of Mayor of Vicksburg three times. He was first elected Mayor in a special election on April 12, 1988, to complete fifteen months of an unexpired term, and he was elected to full, four year terms in June of 1989 and June of 1997. Mayor Walker has a distinguished record of public service in Vicksburg and the State of Mississippi.

As Mayor of Vicksburg, he was named Mississippi Public Administrator of the Year in 1993. He has provided the citizens of Vicksburg very capable fiscal management and leadership for Vicksburg, and has been a key figure in creating an improved environment in the historic city.

During Mayor Walker's tenure as Mayor, city employees have received pay raises each year, the minimum hourly wage for city employees has been raised to $6.25, he successfully led the effort to begin evening sessions of municipal court, establish the city's first police precinct, and spearheaded major organizational and other improvements in law enforcement in the City. Also, Mayor Walker succeeded in getting new equipment and technologies for the police department.

Through his leadership and work the Vicksburg Senior Citizens Center was opened in 1998, an affordable housing complex for single parents was developed in 1990, and an in-house legal department was established in 1997. Diversity in department heads and management has been enhanced, extensive infrastructure and paving projects have been completed, downtown revitalization has been a major focus, recreational and landscaping improvements have been accomplished, and the quality of life in Vicksburg has improved. Mayor Walker was also the force behind a community-wide Domestic Abuse and Violence Task Force being formed in 2000 to address and recommend remedies to this critical problem.

Before becoming Mayor, Robert M. Walker elected to the Warren County Board of Supervisors in 1984 and 1988. In this position he saw to it city residents in the District he represented received services from county government. Mayor Walker also was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Elections for the State of Mississippi in 1995; he served as Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Mississippi Library Commission; and was appointed by then Lieutenant Governor Ronnie Musgrove to a Special Statewide Task Force on Elections in 1998.

He served as Mississippi Field Secretary of the NAACP for almost five years and did major work in fighting discriminations and in the area of race relations, and he dedicated himself to addressing concerns of the poor as Co-founder and Coordinator of the Mississippi Legal Services Coalition, a position he held for four years.

Mayor Walker he has a distinguished record of service as a college and university professor. He was the first African-American to teach at the University of Mississippi, he served as Interim Head of the History Department at Jackson State University, and he has taught at Tougaloo College, where he was voted Outstanding Teacher and earned the Tougaloo College Community Service Award.

Mayor Walker serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Mid South and the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Municipal League and is serving his second one-year term as chairman of its Finance Committee.

A graduate of Rosa A. Temple High School in Vicksburg, Mayor Walker holds a Bachelor's Degree in History and Political Science from Jackson State and a Master's Degree in History and Political Science from the University of Mississippi. He has done additional graduate work at the University of Mississippi and the University of Louisville.

Mayor Walker is married to the former Sylvia L. Stalls of Vicksburg, and they are the parents of three daughters and three grandsons. The Walkers are members of Locust Grove M.B. Church, where Walker has served as a Deacon for the past twenty-two years.