Gideon’s New York City : Remembering HARLEM Filmmaker/Historian Samuel “Sam” Walton:

                                                   Photo: Sam Walton (December 13, 1948-February 21, 2012)

Samuel (Sam) Walton was born on December 13, 1948, to Symera and Joshua Walton, in the Harlem community and raised on 137th 8th Avenue (also known as- Frederick Douglass Blvd.). He died of a kidney infection at Mt. Sinai Hospital on Fifth Ave on February 21, 2012.

Sam’s passion was his documentary studies of the world-famous Harlem community through film and oral history. He and his friend Sam Gaynor started a program called “We Care for Self Help” which was inspired in 1968 by young people who were mentored by Ken and Mamie Clark. Ken and Mamie Clark were then, directors of the Northside Center for Child Development and its mission was to foster community solidarity by “bridging” the inter-generational divide among Harlem residents.

Over the years Sam Walton and Sam Gaynor would rename the effort and transfer efforts under a new name incorporated as, “We Care Media Arts”. The two were successful also in partnering with the prestigious Columbia University in their documentary studies efforts and had a relationship with many interns in the film and oral history program. This relationship provided tremendous opportunity and many successful recordings of the people of Harlem and their personal memories of dynamic local leaders and intriguing elders from many historic eras. Columbia University documentary studies students and Sam Walton and Sam Gaynor were a fabulous team.

Sam Walton’s work includes: A documentary celebrating the past 100 years of the , Crisis magazine (2010). A documentary celebrating the work of Mamie and Ken Clark regarding Brown v. Board of Education (2004), and a documentary honoring Ella Baker, civil rights leader (2000), and many wonderful interviews with Harlem elite leadership over the past 30s years.

Sam also worked for the New York City Human Resource Administration for over thirty years helping others attain housing, welfare and Medicare. His passion however and reason d’être  was love of “Harlem” and documenting it historic and new heartbeats in film and oral history. Sam Walton mastered his love for us and crafted it for generations to come so well.

He is survived by his loving wife Sonia Walton. His son Songhai A. Walton of Fort Myers, Florida, two brothers, James Walton of Columbia, South Carolina, Joseph Walton of New York City, three nieces, one nephew along with a host of very special family and friends.

Gideon Manasseh / photojournalist

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  Gideon  Manasseh


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6 Comments Add yours

  1. We loved and will miss Sam dearly!

  2. india artis says:

    I did not know, I just googled his name as I had not been able to reach him.I am so very sorry! I only knew him for a few years but glad I did.

  3. i will always love sam walton my brother and best friend. we grew up together from the same block. i met him from our mothers baby carriages at age 8 months old.i miss him so much. we had each other back inn the mean streets of Harlem. we were called SAM AND SAM by everyone in Harlem.his death left a trememdous hurt in my life. i know he is with God now.sam when my time comes to leave this earth i will serch for you in heaven.we always belong to get in peace,thats why God put us together. good-bye my friend.

  4. samuel gaynor says:

    he was the greatest best friend that i ever had. we grew up as kids in Harlem at 137th street 8th avenue we both had the sane first name sam .we were called sam and kids we were in civil rights movement at 10 years old. later we started The We Care Group 136st edgecombe avenue 1969 to 2012.where we made the document film Sam,Sam and Harlem 28 minutes long that was televised on likeit is tv and pbs 13.we gave out 1000 neighborhood youth jobs over the years . we taught photography to the kids and dark roon technics. we started City Scene Newspaper.we had job sites at New York times Harlem Hospital Sydenham Hospital We started the first Harlem Day where we let Harlem kids ride for ten hours moblie rides for free big dance contest live entertainment free food. we were the Harlem organization that gave out free food pantry back in 1969. we had a We Care parents group Bus outing to great adventures for free. helped local residents and harlem families with drug and alchol problems. came to the aid to help families with social services problems. i miss this great Harlem’s own Samuel Walton my brother. may i see you when i finally get to heaven

    1. Samuel Gaynor says:

      Here it’s been 7 years since my best friends death Sam Walton, who I truly miss with all of my heart.I never believed that his life would end at 62 years old because of bad health.Sam and I were two Harlemite dreamers who made good things happen in central Harlem that never existed before on the local level.we gave our community love,hope trust,faith and jobs

      1. Sam gaynor says:

        I’m still shook up by my friends death after seven years.i really miss him.he really knew who i am.God knows how much i miss him
        We were together for 57 years.we were in the civil rights movement in new york in 1959.he supported me when i refused to be drafted in Vietnam war and overturned my 1ya draft status to conscientious objector which help set the we care group at st.lukes church located 136st edgecombe avenue.we gave hundreds of neighborhood youth corp jobs to youngsters. of harlem.found jobs for parents.we even made a film called sam,sam and harlem 28.minutes long.i will always miss you my good brother and good friend and your very good wisdom

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