Walter Grant, the son of a Congregationalist minister, was born in Marion, Indiana, in 1912. When he was eighteen a Klu Klux Klan mob lynched three black men in his town. This event was to dramatically change his conservative political views and he now became a campaigner for social justice.
After graduating from Indiana University he taught English until being made redundant. He moved to New York in search of employment and found work on the Federal Writers Project. Soon afterwards he joined the American Communist Party.
Grant was killed in the early stages of the offensive at Jarama in February, 1937.