Prof. Ron Walters, Leading Black Political Expert, Dies at 72

Prof. Ron Walters, Leading Black Political Expert, Dies at 72

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WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) - Black lawmakers joined many mourning the death of one of the country's foremost experts on Black politics and strategy with news of the death of highly respected Prof. Ron Walters.

“On behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Professor Walters, a man whose academic record and analytical insights have contributed to America's understanding of the intersection of race, politics and policy,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, in a statement released Sept. 11.

Dr. Walters, 72, died the evening of Sept. 10 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., after a long battle with cancer. Funeral arrangements had not been announced at Final Call press time but according to the family, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., who visited him in the hospital several times over the past few days, is scheduled to deliver the eulogy.

Rep. Lee said Dr. Walters' “understanding of political science was deepened and enriched by his superior intellect and bolstered by his real world experiences working in politics.” In addition to chairing the African and Afro-American Studies Department at Brandeis University and the Political Science Department at Howard University, Professor Walters also served as a campaign manager and consultant for the Reverend Jesse Jackson during his two presidential bids and was a policy adviser for former Congressmen Charles Diggs and William Gray, she added.

“Professor Walters was a scholarly giant and was one of America's most insightful analysts of the political landscape, in general, and of the intersection of race, politics and policy, specifically. His scholarly work and sound advice, have assisted many past and present members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and other African American political and civic leaders around the country,” said Rep. Lee.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Walters family as we mourn the passing of a mighty scholar, while celebrating his purposeful life and legacy. He will be deeply missed,” she added

Born in Wichita, Kansas, on July 20, 1938, Walters lead a renowned career as a political scholar and expert in Black politics. A graduate of Fisk University, Dr. Walters earned his graduate degrees from American University.In addition to his department chairmanships, Dr. Walters taught at Georgetown and Syracuse Universities and worked as professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. He served as director of the African American Leadership Institute and Scholar Practitioner Program, and became the distinguished leadership scholar at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership.

During the 2000 election season, Dr. Walters worked as a political analyst for Black Entertainment Television's Lead Story. He was a regular guest and commentator for several political talk shows on radio and television. Dr. Walters was also a regular participant in round tables and discussions about the Black condition and meeting challenges to its survival and progress.

Dr. Walters was a political columnist for the Black Press. Beginning in The Washington Informer, his weekly column was syndicated in more than 200 Black newspapers across the country and often ran in The Final Call.

He published more than 100 academic articles and authored several award-winning books including “Black Presidential Politics in America and White Nationalism,” “Black Interests: Conservative Public Policy and the Black Community.”He is survived by his wife Patricia Ann Walters.