This Day in History: 1882-04-20

Journalist, entertainment professional, and diplomat who promoted civil rights at home and abroad, Lester Aglar Walton is born in St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of 20 in 1902, when he was hired by the St. Louis Star to be its golf writer and later its court reporter, he became the first black reporter to write for a white daily paper in St. Louis. Walton later became theatrical editor for the New York Age, the largest black newspaper in the nation at the time, and wrote for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the New York World, and the New York Herald Tribune. During his years with these newspapers, Walton started the movement which was eventually supported by the New York Times and the Associated Press, to have the spelling of the word “Negro” written with a capital “N. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to name Walton as Envoy and Minister to Liberia in July 1935.  He served in Monrovia, the nation’s capital, until 1946. After returning to New York City, Walton served on the New York City Commission on Human Rights which focused on civil rights, civil liberties, and fair housing. Learn more.