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Sherman Lewis Walker

Born on 9-4-1892. He was born in Charlottesville, VA. He was accomplished in the area of Business. He later died on 12-27-1969.
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Like so many of his contemporaries, it's difficult to confine Sherman Lewis Walker's contributions and achievements to one field. He was a funeral director (business pioneer), engaged in politics and was an active member of the Buffalo community.

He was a multi-talented man, who was dedicated to the betterment of his race. Several newspaper biographies stated that he was born on September 4, 1892 in Charlottesville, Virginia, although he cited Burley, VA as his birthplace on his military registration form. His parents were Charles L. and Bertie Brock Walker. Sherman attended public schools in Charlottesville, graduating from the Albermarle High School in Burly, Virginia in 1910.

He was a World War I veteran, who served in the 317th Company Engineers. He served in France from 1917-1918. He was discharged with the rank of Sergeant. He decided to settle in Buffalo in 1919 after his discharge. He held several jobs, including electric operator at Lackawanna Steel Company and a moulder at American Radiator Company before returning to school. He attended the University of Buffalo, School of Anatomy and graduated in 1925. He opened his funeral home on Clinton Street in 1927.

Mr. Walker was the first African American in Buffalo to be elected to political office. He was elected to serve on the Erie County Board of Supervisors in 1933 and with the exception of a two year period, held that post until 1949, a total of 14 years. He lost the 5th Ward Supervisor position to a young Leeland N. Jones. In 1951, he ran for the newly created Ellicott District Councilman for the Buffalo Common Council. He lost this race, again to Mr. Jones.

Mr. Walker was active in many community organizations including: the Jesse Clipper Post 430, American Legion -VFW Post 2501, Paramount Lodge, Hadji Temple Bison Consistory. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Trinity Baptist Church.

Mr. Walker was married to his wife Bessie L. Thompson, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 4, 1920. Mrs. Walker was active in the community and apparently had her own brief political career. She is identified as a candidate for Erie County Supervisor for the 11th Ward but lost that bid. Mrs. Walker died on December 14, 1968. They had two daughters, a son and five grandchildren. Mr. Walker and three of his grandsons died in a tragic fire at his funeral home and residence on Jefferson Street on December 27, 1969. One fire fighter reported that he believed that Mr. Walker could have escaped but was trying to save his grandsons. He is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery.