Letter to the editor: Name it for Walker

To the editor:

If Pinckney Elementary School is renamed, it should be for George Walker. He was a Lawrence native who grew up in the Pinckney area and presumably attended the school, then went on to become one of the biggest celebrities of the vaudeville era. A brilliant comedian, singer and dancer, he was half of the famous duo Williams and Walker, whom the music journalist Jas Obrecht called “the first African-American superstars.” In 1903, they starred in the first full-length Broadway musical written and performed by African-Americans, “In Dahomey.” By 1907, Walker was wealthy enough to build a house for his mother in Pinckney; it still stands at 401 Indiana St. Because he died in 1911, none of his performances were preserved on film, and the few recordings he made are now exceedingly rare or lost altogether. This pioneering artist deserves to be remembered and celebrated in his hometown.

Eric McHenry,

Lawrence

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