Dr. Daniel E. Walker is a master storyteller, philanthropist, and social innovation guru.
Working at the intersections of the education, the arts, capital markets, and global movements for sustainable development, he serves on the boards of the Heritage Music Foundation, The California Endowment, and the BLU Educational Foundation.
One of the world’s most prolific public historians, Dr. Walker is the author of the critically acclaimed book No More, No More: Slavery and Cultural Resistance in Havana and New Orleans, founding director of the Gospel Music History Archive at the University of Southern California Libraries, and executive producer of How Sweet the Sound: Gospel in Los Angeles for KCET’s Emmy Award-winning series Artbound. That production won a Golden Mike Award from the Radio, Television, and News Association of Southern California and a Southern California Journalism Award from the Los Angeles Press Club, both for Best Entertainment Reporting.
Additionally, he has curated major exhibits at the California African American Museum (How Sweet the Sound), the University of Southern California (Sunshine & Central) and added his insight to It’s Been Said All Along: Voices of Rage, Hope and Empowerment at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Nwaka Onwusa, curator).
Dr. Walker is the founding director of the Long Beach Indie International Film and Entertainment Festival. Presented in collaboration with the US Department of Commerce’s Entertainment and Media Division, the festival showcases diverse content and content creators, connects institutional investors to entertainment and equity focused funds and fund managers, and provides a bridge between underrepresented communities and career options on arts, media, and entertainment. Graduates of his media internship program routinely go on to institutions such as the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the Newhouse School of Communications (Syracuse University), the UCLA School of Television and Theatre, University of Texas at Austin, and the American Film Institute.
For the past two decades, he has also served as the lead historian for the Footsteps to Freedom Underground Railroad Study Tour. The eight-day tour across five states and Canada, uses lessons from the Underground Railroad to help hundreds of K-12 educators each year to put equity into action.
Walker is a former Project Manager at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Executive Director of the Tijuana/San Diego affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, and economic development consultant to former San Diego City Councilman George Stevens, the Broward County Chamber of Commerce, and a host of faith-based community development efforts. He also served as the project lead for the creation of the Los Angeles School of Arts and Entertainment and New City Parish (an effort to reinvigorate Lutheran education in urban America) and as a consultant to the Charlie Project, an initiative to re-purpose sanctuaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America as sites of urban innovation.
Dr. Walker was awarded a New York City Urban Fellowship, Coro Fellowship (declined), and a three-year W.K. Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellowship to explore inclusive community development efforts in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean. A short list of major foundations that have supported his work includes the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the California Endowment, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and the Louisville Institute.
Dr. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University where he was also elected president of the Student Government Association, an M.A. in Latin American History (with distinction) from the University of California, Riverside, and a Ph.D. (with distinction) in Latin American and African American History from the University of Houston.
In 2018, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Claremont Graduate University for his global contributions to arts, design, and innovation.
Recent Media Coverage
The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, the Daily Mail (UK), TheGrio.com, Yahoo!.com, KGTV (San Diego), Fox News 26 (Houston, TX), The LA Times, KFI Radio (Los Angeles), The Fontana Herald News, The Los Angeles Sentinel, KCET (Southern California), KTLA TV (Los Angeles), KPCC (Los Angeles), NPR, Newsweek, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA), The New York Post, the New York Daily News, and the Black Voice News are just a small sample of the media outlets that have featured Dr. Walker’s insights and knowledge.