top of page

Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Mrs. Detroit Dorothy Walker, 1918 - 2016

This biography was originally released on October 13, 2021 as a part of our on going series titled: Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Mrs. Walker was recommended by a friend & colleague for this series. Written by the Staff of The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission.


Mrs. Detroit Dorothy Walker was born in 1918 in Estill, Mississippi. Mrs. Walker excelled at her early schooling and attended Natchez Junior College before finishing her education at the Afro-American School of Nursing in Yazoo City, Mississippi. The school was a part of the Afro-American Hospital of Yazoo City, which provided low-cost care to its members.

Mrs. Walker left Yazoo City as a Registered Nurse with her husband Urias L. Walker. The couple moved to Buffalo, NY where they settled into family life and welcomed a daughter.


Mrs. Walker and her husband enjoyed fishing, playing cards, traveling, and watching baseball, football, and basketball games.

In 1964, Mrs. Walker began her long tenure as a Registered Nurse at Millard Fillmore Hospital, where she worked for more than 30 years. She was one of the first African American Head Nurses at Millard Filmore Hospital and was often called upon to give advice or provide a personal touch to nursing.  

One of the lab technicians who worked with Mrs. Walker in the 1970s remembers her fondly, saying “This was my first job, and I was really scared of Mrs. Walker, but I came to admire her very much...  A formidable nurse she influenced a generation of student nurses, challenging them to be the best nurses they could be. She ran 1 East with an iron fist, even the physicians jumped when she said jump. She feared no one. Her bottom line was that her patients would get the best care available anywhere, she didn't accept anything less.”

These sentiments are echoed by many of Mrs. Walker’s colleagues.


In addition to her successful nursing career, Mrs. Walker was also active in her community and church. She was frequently asked to participate in church programs due to her skills in public speaking.

After retiring from nursing, Mrs. Walker moved to Florida to be with her children. Mrs. Walker passed way in 2016. She is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Thank you to Richard Neri for recommending Mrs. Walker!

Do you have an idea of who we should include in our series?

Email us with your suggestions!

bottom of page