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Louis Walker Jr., who integrated Marietta High School, dead at 78


Long-time educator Louis Walker, Jr., who desegregated the Marietta High School faculty in 1966, passed away Feb. 8 at the age of 78.

In his book entitled Cobb County, Georgia and the Origins of the Suburban South, writer and Kennesaw State University professor emeritus Tom Scott wrote about Walker. In the 1960s schools were segregated in Marietta, in the south, and other places across the nation. The principal of the all-white Marietta High School met with the principal of the all-Black Lemon Street High School in 1966 to work on a plan to desegregate the Marietta High faculty. Walker and two other Black teachers were chosen to integrate Marietta High in September 1966. 

Walker was an industrial arts teacher at Lemon Street High who had been teaching for only one year before being transferred to Marietta at age 22. Born in Livingston, Alabama, Walker graduated from Tuskegee University in 1965.

While the other two Black Teachers left, Walker stayed at Marietta High for the next 40 years, teaching shop class. Walker was a full-time teacher for 34 years before retiring in 2009. He spent the next six years working in a part-time role until retiring from that in 2005.

Throughout his career, Walker received many awards, including Cobb County NAACP Teacher of the Year, Alpha Phi Alpha Community Service Award, Marietta Jaycees Distinguished Service Award, and the National Council of Negro Women Award.

According to Scott, Walker helped the community by doing things outside of the classroom like joining the Kathryn Woods Committee, which was formed to give a scholarship to a student every year in memory of M.J. and Kathryn Woods. M.J. Woods was the principal of the Lemon Street Grammar and High School from 1929 to 1962, and Kathryn Woods was his wife.

Walker said in a 2009 interview with Kennesaw State University’s Oral History Project, that his ability to manage a class, get along with people, and communicate is why he was chosen for the position at Marietta High at such a young age. 

“He was a positive role model and an incredible influence on so many, including me, through his time at Lemon Street High, Marietta High, and the Marietta Schools Foundation,” said Marietta Schools Superintendent Grant Rivera on the fantastic legacy Walker leaves behind. “All of us here at Marietta City Schools are incredibly grateful for his decades—indeed, a lifetime—of service. I send my deepest condolences to Mrs. Walker and an entire community of family and friends.”

Scott called Walker’s death “a huge loss to Marietta and Cobb County…we’re gonna miss him very much.”


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