Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dr. Ron Walters has passed away at the age of 72

hat tip-New Black Man
Ron Walters, Community's “Tallest Tree,” Dead at 72
by Talibah Chikwendu

For more than four decades, Ronald Walters, PhD. served the African-American community, the United States and the world as a consultant, teacher, writer, mentor and friend. His service came to a close Sept. 10, when he lost a battle with cancer at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md. He was 72 years old.

Walters was born in Wichita, Kan. in 1938. He earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from Fisk University and earned a masters degree in African studies and a doctorate in International Studies from American University. Walters was a professor since the early 1970s, teaching at numerous institutions including at Georgetown, Syracuse, Brandeis and Howard universities and the University of Maryland. He was chairman of the Howard University Department of Political Science and chairman of Afro-American Studies at Brandeis. He also served as a visiting professor at Princeton University and was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Walters’ longtime friend the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Howard University had recently convinced Walters to come out of retirement and return to teaching, and that Walters was looking forward to the opportunity.

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) met Walters while a student at Howard. “As a teacher, he always found time for his students,” Cummings told the AFRO. “When he was at Howard, we would fight to get in his classes. He was always telling us to reach high, to be a part of the political process.”

Walters also made his mark as a dedicated scholar, authoring and co-authoring more than 10 books and hundreds of academic articles and commentaries. He was awarded the Ralph Bunch Prize for his book Black Presidential Politics in America. He was also a political consultant, serving as policy adviser to former congressmen William Gray and Charles Diggs. He worked with a number of organizations and serving as director of public policy for the Rev. Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns.

Jackson, who said he visited Walters several times in the hospital over the last few weeks, called Walters a "scholar activist" and "a genius," as well as friend and mentor.

“He's [Walters] the tallest tree in the forest of activists, political scientists,” Jackson said in an interview with the AFRO. “I miss him so much already.”

Rest of the obituary at link above.

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