Two-time candidate for Georgia governor, activist and author Stacey Abrams has been named as the inaugural Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics at Howard University.
The historically Black college in Washington, D.C., said in a news release that Abrams will “foster interdisciplinary collaborations across the University on critical issues of race and Black politics, especially those issues that affect Americans of the African diaspora.” Howard’s leadership and policy center is named after the late Ronald W. Walters, who served as a professor in the university’s political science department and was a scholar in the field of African studies.
Like Abrams, Walters was also an activist. Howard’s bio on Walters notes that he “organized one of the country’s first lunch-counter sit-ins to protest segregation” in the Civil Rights Movement.
“The work she has been doing on voter registration and voting irregularities, especially in Georgia but across the country, speaks to a lot of what Ronald Walters embodied,” Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick told The Washington Post in an interview about Abrams’ appointment.
In a statement, Abrams said she hopes to honor his legacy in her new role.
“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,” Abrams said in the press release. “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’ education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College, a master’s from the University of Texas at Austin and a law degree from Yale University.
“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,” Howard Provost and Chief Academic Officer Anthony K. Wutoh said in the statement.
Howard has made other moves in recent years to add well-known people to their ranks, including appointing Phylicia Rashad as the dean of the new College of Fine Arts, which the school named after the late actor Chadwick Boseman in 2021.