Dr. Walter D. Palmer bio

Dr. Walter D. Palmer PhotoWalter Palmer is currently the founder and director of The Palmer Foundation and a part time lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Social Policy and Practice, where he has taught the foundation courses of American Racism and Institutional Racism and Social Change since 1990.

 Professor Palmer created the Black People’s University of Philadelphia (1954-1984) as an early prototype for preschool and adult independent and alternative education for contemporary America and has won the distinction of “teacher par excellence” in his many years of teaching.

He is the founder and board chairman of the first (national prototype) elementary school in America, with a curriculum dedicated to teach children (pre K-8) leadership in social justice. The school currently has 750 children, a seven million dollar budget and an eight million dollar newly constructed school.

He is the founder of both The Black Men at Penn School of Social Work, Inc. and of the Institute on American racism and Social Justice at the School of Social Policy and Practice. He is the driving force to raise ten million dollars to endow the institute. In January, 2007, the institute launched a national grassroots campaign to sign up over one million people to engage in an American racism and social justice dialogue.

During the era of the civil rights and Black Power movements, he was recognized nationally as the premier grassroots organizer for successfully organizing city, state and national political campaigns, protest campaigns and grassroots community projects like the MOVE crisis, Model Cities, public health, community mental health, gang and anti violence projects.

He is currently working on a health literacy project with The Philadelphia College of Physicians, University of Pennsylvania Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Social Policy and Practice, Philadelphia public schools and West Philadelphia residents teaching a web based program called Philly Health Info, designed by The Philadelphia College of Physicians.

Professor Palmer is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Cardio-Pulmonary Care and was a Director of Cardio-Pulmonary Care at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia(CHOP) from 1957-1967; he is currently a Fellow in the Philadelphia College of Physicians.

He is a graduate of Cheyney State University, with a Bachelor’s degree in secondary education and certifications in history and social studies for day and evening schools.

He studied business at Temple University and received his Juris Doctorate degree in law from Howard University and law clerked for Community Legal Services upon graduation.

In his lifetime, he has amassed over 1,000 medals, plaques, trophies, awards and certificates of recognition and appreciation. Professor Palmer is the 2006 recipient of the University of Pennsylvania Martin Luther King Award, as well as the 2006 recipient of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice Teacher Excellence Award, of which he has been nominated every year and has won on several other occasions.

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