Honor her story | Letter

A travesty of justice has lingered too long within the City of Bremerton and a proper and suitable memorial for Lillian Walker is needed! It’s widely known and appreciated that many official awards and recognitions have been bestowed upon Ms. Walker by the City of Bremerton, Kitsap County and the state of Washington.

Although the awards are dynamite, none have reached the heights that she earned. I’m sure that the majority of the citizens of Bremerton will agree that Bremerton High School should be re-named to Lillian Walker High School. Ms. Walker never stopping fighting for the civil rights of everyone; especially Black Americans and we’ve all benefited from her efforts and struggles, such as fighting for the rights of the Bremerton Naval Shipyard worker; African American shipyard workers' employment  rights; which helped change working conditions to the better for all the Naval Shipyard workers. No one or company was too big for Ms. Walker to take on even the Navy or Deptepartment of Defense. Her changes to the Navy included Navy Black workers being allowed to eat and enjoy their meals at the Triangle Café. She also help organize Bremerton's YWCA.

Another accomplishment included a successful suit of the Kitsap Sun, forcing them to do more positive imagining reporting about Black Americans. She integrated the drug stores. She made positive educational changes at the Bremerton School District positively affecting all Students of Color; which also helped the few African Americans teachers. Ms. Walker's accomplishments happened between the 1940s and the 1990s; when it was near impossible for any civil rights changes to materialize in Bremerton. Won’t you please lobby the Bremerton School District to re-name its High School to Lillian Walker High? Give our students and citizens an ever-lasting gratitude for our wonderful Bremerton history.

Willis Papillion, MSW




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