Born in 1864, Victor B. Walker was a soldier, political activist, lawyer, civil rights activist, police officer, saloon owner, journalist, and gangster in Omaha. Before coming to Omaha, he served as a Buffalo soldier, and when he first got to the city, he worked as a police officer.
In the 1890s, Vic Walker was given a sum of money by Omaha boss Tom Dennison and told to buyout the owner of the Midway. Dennison thought a man this man had “crossed him,” and Walker got rid of him. Walker did so and became a trusted lieutenant.
For the next period of his life, Walker owned The Midway. Under his ownership, it became a center of gambling and criminal activity downtown. The Midway was a nationally-known joint with free flowing liquor and gambling in the Sporting District at 1124 Capitol Avenue. He became the big man in the Sporting District, and acted as the liaison between Omaha’s black community and Dennison.
During the same period, Walker also became a defense lawyer and fought for civil rights in Omaha. He was one of the founders of the Omaha Afro-American League, a civil rights organization.
However, in 1902, he disagreed with Tom Dennison after the elections of 1901 left African Americans shorthanded in city politics. Over the next few years he was continually harassed, with his business, the Silver Leaf Club, continuously raided through 1905. That year, he testified in a trial against Dennison, and was shortly afterward beaten by on-duty policemen from the Omaha Police Department. Walker’s political and economic ambitions in the city were over.
Walker moved to Denver after that. There, he ran a nightclub, was appointed deputy sheriff, and briefly ran a weekly newspaper. He was heavily involved in criminal activity there, and was known as the “King of the colored underworld” in Denver.
Last arrested in Denver in 1924, the date of Walker’s death is unknown. He is buried in the historic Riverside Cemetery in Denver.
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MY ARTICLES ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS IN OMAHA
General: History of Racism | Timeline of Racism
Events: Juneteenth | Malcolm X Day | George Smith Lynching | Will Brown Lynching | North Omaha Riots | Vivian Strong Murder | Jack Johnson Riot
Issues: African American Firsts in Omaha | Police Brutality | North Omaha African American Legislators | North Omaha Community Leaders | Segregated Schools | Segregated Hospitals | Segregated Hotels | Segregated Sports | Segregated Businesses | Segregated Churches | Redlining
People: Rev. Dr. John Albert Williams | Edwin Overall | Harrison J. Pinkett | Vic Walker | Joseph Carr | Rev. Russel Taylor | Dr. Craig Morris | Mildred Brown | Dr. John Singleton | Ernie Chambers | Malcolm X
Organizations: Omaha Colored Commercial Club | Omaha NAACP | Omaha Urban League | 4CL (Citizens Civic Committee for Civil Rights) | DePorres Club | Omaha Black Panthers | City Interracial Committee | Providence Hospital | American Legion | Elks Club | Prince Hall Masons | BANTU
Related: Black History | African American Firsts | A Time for Burning