Dr. Sandra Black Walker, renowned educator and the first lady and wife of the Rev. Jewett Walker, pastor of Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, passed away on May 6, after a long battle with cancer. She was 70-years-old.
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Sandra was born on March 12, 1950 to Bernice Black and Arthur Finley. In 1952, Sandra moved with her mother and older brother, Bobby, to California where her younger brother Michael was born. Sandra and her brothers attended several elementary schools in Los Angeles and Compton. They accepted Christ in 1960 at Zion Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
Sandra’s family moved to Compton when she was in eighth grade and she attended Enterprise Junior High School. It was there that she began to strive for academic excellence, and also where she met her life-long best friend – Marcia.
When Sandra was 14 years old, her mother died suddenly leaving the three siblings orphaned. She and her brothers went to live with her mother’s two older sisters, Eloise and Mattie. Fortunately for the siblings, the two sisters lived across the street from one another and Sandra was able to see her brothers every day. A special bond was created between the three of them during this time.
Sandra was an exceptional student and a member of the honor society and active in many school activities. After graduating from Compton High School, she attended UC-Santa Barbara where she received a B.A. degree. After working one year in the CSU–Dominguez Hills library, she enrolled at UCLA and earned her Elementary Teaching Credential.
Her first job was as teacher at Charles Drew Head Start and later as a child development supervisor. Her son, Kimani Hasan Black, was born on July 6, 1975. Sandra always acknowledged him as a blessing from God.
In 1978, she received her Master’s degree in Education and a Reading Specialist credential from CSU-DH. Later, she obtained her Administrative credential from the university. She earned her Doctor of Ministry degree from Ministerial Training Institute in July 2019.
Sandra began her long career with the Inglewood Unified School District in 1977, starting as a teacher at Clyde Woodworth Elementary School. Over the next 33 years, she also served as a reading specialist, program coordinator, assistant principal, assistant director, director, and assistant superintendent of various departments within the school system.
After Kimani graduated from high school in 1993, Sandra began dating Jewett L. Walker, Jr. They were married in October 1997, with their three children, Kimani, Jewett III, and Tiffany-LaJoye, participating in the wedding ceremony. Sandra and Jewett joined True Vine Baptist Church in Inglewood, California where Jewett served as an associate minister and Sandra taught Sunday School and served as a deaconess.
In December 2013, Jewett accepted the call to be the pastor at Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Sandra served as Sunday School Superintendent and on September 15, 2019, she was ordained as a minister of the Gospel.
Sandra’s commitment to and love for her family and friends remained steadfast and unwavering. According to family members, she wanted the best for them and tried to always let them know not only how very much she loved them, but also how much God loves them.
Her grandchildren gave her particular joy as she saw herself living on through them, recalled her children. Her brothers continued to be an important part of her life as they held onto that special bond established when they were children. Sandra was known to thank God daily for being with her throughout her life and for the many blessings He bestowed upon her.
Cherishing her memory are her husband, the Rev. Dr. Jewett L. Walker, Jr.; children, Kimani (April) H. Black I, Jewett L. Walker III, and Tiffany-LaJoye Walker; six grandchildren, Kimani H. Black II, Tyja Hatchett, Tyonna Hatchett, Imani Love Sandra Black, Jewliett Walker, Jewett L. Walker IV and Zelaya LaJoye Walker; two brothers, Bobby (Susan) R. Black, and Michael (Sharon) B. Black; four nephews, Michael (Jamie) P. Black, Justin (Minh) E. Black, Rahshad J. Black, and Michael B. Black, Jr.; and two great nephews, Kazuo S. Black and Ray M. Black.