Walter and his sister were raised by their mother in a government housing project in North Philadelphia. His father had left his mother when he was “two or three years old.” Walter educated himself by reading. He got first library card when he was six or seven and every Saturday he walked to the public library and checked out multiple books.
The late Al Smith, the Inquirer editorial assistant, who was also a Baptist minister, and who married Debbie and me, grew up in that same project and knew William.
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