Wichita to call new library after civil rights chief

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Wichita City Council is expected to approve the designation of a new library branch after local civil rights activist Ronald Walters. The Linwood Park Branch Library is moving to a new and larger room at 4195 E. Harry. The new branch is scheduled to open in early 2021.

Walters was president of the Wichita NAACP Youth Council in 1958 when he organized the Dockum Drug Store Sit-In, one of the civil rights movement’s first lunch sit-ins. The event helped end local racial segregation.

The library board of directors was given 70 unique names for the new library. Walters was among the top three names the community voted on. The Carl Brewer Branch Library and the Meadowlark Branch Library were high on the list.

70 unique name ideas have been submitted to rename the Linwood Library. The top three names, in order of most votes, were: Carl Brewer Branch Library, Meadowlark Branch Library, and Ronald Walters Branch Library.(Board of Directors of the Library)

A key factor in Walters’ choice, according to the library board, was his literary and academic contributions. His accomplishments have included director of the African American Leadership Institute and Scholar Practitioner Program, a Distinguished Leadership Scholar at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, and a Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland.

Walters was born in Wichita. He died in 2010 at the age of 72.

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