MURRAY ATKINS WALLS

WOMEN IN HISTORY

1899 - 1993

Murray Atkins Walls

1899 – 1993

Murray Atkins Walls

Murray Atkins Walls received a bachelor’s degree from Butler University and a master’s degree from Columbia University. In 1935, she married John H. Walls, M.D., and moved to Louisville. Walls was a pioneering civil rights leader who worked for five decades to help integrate Louisville’s Girl Scouts, public libraries, department stores, hotels, restaurants, and schools.

Walls joined the Girl Scouts in 1940 and formed Louisville’s first African American Girl Scout troop in the Beecher Terrace Housing Complex. Although troops were still strictly segregated in Kentucky, the national organization recorded that its membership among black girls had more than doubled.

In 1945, Walls became the first African American member of the Girl Scouts Council Board of Directors. In 1954, she led the movement that resulted in a shared Camp Shantituck, with black girls and white girls attending different sessions, the first time in Louisville history, black Girl Scouts and white Girl Scouts used the same camp. Just two years later, Walls led the board in a vote to integrate Camp Shantituck, one camp session for all girls.

To honor Walls’s leadership, the Commonwealth of Kentucky erected a Historical Highway Marker in front of the Girl Scouts of Kentuckian Lexington Road property in Louisville.