Dr. William Otis Walker, better known in Cleveland, OH and Ohio state political circles as "W.O." was a pioneering African-American newspaper publisher of The Cleveland (OH) Call & Post, newspaper, from 1932 until his death in 1981.
Walker was born in Selma, Alabama, son of Alex and Annie Lee (Jones) Walker. He worked for the Pittsburgh Urban League after studying at Wilberforce University and Oberlin Business College, and entered journalism first reporting for the Pittsburgh Courier, then as city editor of the Norfolk Journal & Guide, cofounding the Washington (D.C.) Tribune in 1921.
Walker came to Cleveland in 1932 to manage the Cleveland Call & Post newspaper, an African American weekly which had evolved from a merger between the Cleveland Call (1916) and the Cleveland Post (1920), two similiar Black newspapers that circulated in the area until 1928, when pioneering businessman and inventor Garrett A. Morgan assumed control as founder and editor of the new Call & Post venture.
Within a few years, Walker had acquired majority ownership of the new fledgling newspaper. In his time as editor, the weekly would emerge as the Cleveland area's, and then Ohio's premier African American voice in the world of print media, winning numerous awards regionally and nationally for its excellence in print journalism.
Walker, a political conservative, also served as a Republican Cleveland City Council member from 1940 to 1947,and as Ohio's director of industrial relations from 1963-71, was the first black to hold a cabinet-level position in state government.
Walker was married to the late former Theresa Brooks from July 2, 1919 to 1955. Walker was survived by his second wife, Naomi (nee Russell).
Walker died of a heart attack in the Call & Post Building in Cleveland. He was elected posthumously to the Gallery of Distinguished Newspaper Publishers at Howard University. He was buried and is interred at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.