Stacey Abrams Named Howard University’s Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics

by Xara Aziz

Congratulations is in order for two-time Democratic nominee for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams as it has just been announced she is heading to Washington to serve as Howard University’s first-ever Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics.

“Stacey Abrams has proven herself an essential voice and eager participant in protecting American democracy — not just for certain populations, but for everyone with the fundamental right to make their voices heard,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a press statement about Abrams’ appointment. “As the inaugural Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair, Ms. Abrams’s selection not only honors the work and legacy of renowned political strategist and scholar Dr. Ronald Walters, it expands on that legacy by bringing Howard students in dialogue with a contemporary candidate whose work has directly influenced today’s political landscape.”

Walters, who has taught at Howard for 25 years, was instrumental in leading one of the nation’s first lunch counter sit-ins during the height of the Civil Rights movement. He would later serve as an advisor for Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaigns and became a world-renowned expert on issues of politics and race. He passed away in 2010.

Walters’ wife, Patricia Turner, would soon present Howard with a collection of African American art valued at more than $2.5 million. The endowed chair was first revealed in 2020.

In Abrams’ new role, she will lead research across the university on political issues facing Black Americans, in addition to organizing workshops and symposia with other faculty members and staff.

“We are at an inflection point for American and international democracy, and I look forward to engaging Howard University’s extraordinary students in a conversation about where they can influence, shape and direct the critical public policy decisions we face,” Abrams said in a news release shortly after the announcement was made.

“From my alma mater, Spelman College, I have carved out a career that allows me to weave together policy analysis, political leadership, social justice, business, environmental [issues], entertainment, and more. Through this post, I hope to emulate Dr. Walter’s diasporic lens on our world and be a part of how Howard University continues to contribute to the broader political discourse.”

Abrams now joins other notable Howard faculty members including Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who spearheaded the Center for Journalism & Democracy.

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