She’ll be engaging students around real-world politics!
Howard University (HU) has just appointed voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, Esq., as the inaugural Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics, The Dig reports. A Spelman College alumna, Abrams got her start as a practicing tax law attorney before being appointed Deputy City Attorney of Atlanta, Georgia. In 2007, she began her career in politics, serving as a state representative for the Georgia General Assembly where she remained for more than a decade. Abrams has served as minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, and made history as the first woman to lead any party in the Georgia General Assembly and the first Black person to lead in the House of Representatives. In 2018, she made history again, becoming the first Black woman to secure a major party nomination for governor in the U.S., appointed the Democratic nominee in Georgia.
While her gubernatorial runs have been unsuccessful thus far, Abrams hasn’t slowed down, launching several nonprofits dedicated to voting rights and engagement and democracy protection, creating a more fair and just democratic process across the South. An accomplished activist, philanthropist, Pulitzer Prize nominee, and author of more than fifteen bestselling books, Abrams is now bringing her expertise to the campus of Howard University where she will serve in the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center.
“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. As the inaugural Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair, Ms. Abrams’ 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,” explained HU President Wayne A.I. Frederick.”
The late Dr. Walters got his start as an activist in 1958, serving as president of the local youth chapter of the NAACP in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas. A political strategist, Walters became a leading voice on issues impacting the African diaspora, serving as a trusted advisor to several politicians and a professor at several universities, including Howard, where he served as department chair of the political science department and professor for 25 years. Walters passed away in 2010, leaving behind a remarkable legacy. In his honor, his wife Patricia Turner Walters gifted Howard with the couple’s personal collection of African American art in 2020, valued at over $2.5 million. HU subsequently launched the creation of the endowed chair position and the couples collection is currently on display at the Howard University Gallery of Art.
In her new role, Abrams will carry on the legacy of Dr. Walters, focused on creating interdisciplinary collaborations on issues of race and politics impacting those of the African diaspora at the University. She will be responsible for leading research encouraging discourse around real-world solutions to societal issues impacting the Black community and other vulnerable populations. Abrams will also launch a Speakers Series, bringing guests to the University to engage students on a variety of diverse issues.
"I am honored to serve as the inaugural Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics, having had the privilege of knowing and learning from Dr. Walters. 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. 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, 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," said Abrams.
HU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Anthony K. Wutoh, PhD said he’s ecstatic to welcome Abrams to Howard’s campus, calling her a role model for students aspiring to get into politics.
“Stacey Abrams is a respected voice in American politics, known for her advocacy for voting rights, criminal justice reform, environmental justice, and economic empowerment for marginalized communities. She continues to be an influential figure in the Democratic Party and a role model for young women and people of color who aspire to enter the policy arena. We are incredibly grateful to Ms. Abrams for her commitment to investing in the future of Howard students,” said Wutoh.
Congratulations Stacey! Keep leading the next generation!
Cover photo: Stacey Abrams appointed Endowed Chair for race & Black politics at Howard University. Photo Courtesy of Stacey Abrams/The Washington Post