On this day, American diplomat, and journalist Lester Walter was born.
In 1902, Walton became the first African-American full-time reporter for the St. Louis Star, mainly covering the city's courts. Five years later, he moved to New York City and was hired by the New York Age as its theatrical editor and manager. The job there, a paper owned business by Fred Moore was an opportunity to meet the publisher's daughter, Gladys Moore, and they married in 1912.
From 1922-1931, Walton was a special writer for the New York World. When the paper closed, he joined the New York Herald Tribune, but he quit the paper after they refused to give him a byline. In 1931, he was back at the New York Age as associate editor.
His involvement in world affairs began in 1919 when he attended the Versailles Peace Conference as a correspondent. Years before, Walton's activism was noted when he became a strong advocate for the capitalization of the word "Negro." The journalistic prominence and his political connections were pivotal to his next steps into the world of diplomacy. A subsequent visit to Liberia in 1933 and a series of articles for several publications secured him the recognition he needed to be appointed an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Liberia in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
He remained the ambassador to Liberia for more than a decade, and even after his resignation, he continued as an advisor to the Liberian delegation to the U.S. in 1948-49.
Walton died on October 16, 1965. He received three honorary degrees: in 1927, he received a masters of arts from Lincoln University, PA. Later in 1945, Walton received an LL.D. from Wilberforce University, and in 1958, he was presented with LL.D. from the University of Liberia for his hard work and dedication to Liberia. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.