Black Public Scholars

September 12, 2010

African American Scholar Ronald Walters Dies at 72 Years Old

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

I woke up today to find that the sun would shine a little bit less brightly than it did the day before. The first email I read was one telling me that Ronald Walters, a noted black Political Scientist at The University of Maryland, had died. He was 72 years old.

Dr. Walters was the director of the African American Leadership Institute. He was also the Campaign Manager for the presidential run of Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1984. I knew Ron as a mentor and friend. He was also on the faculty here at Syracuse University at one point in his career, long before my own. He was one of the most respectable and accomplished black scholars I’ve ever met, and he was appreciated by nearly everyone. His advice on leadership, activism and black empowerment was second to none.

I reached out to a few friends to get their takes on Professor Walters and many of them were very happy to reply. They were saddened to see the end of Ron’s life and career, but most of them understood the urgency of continuing his meaningful work. I haven’t been able to catch up with Rev. Jesse Jackson yet, but I’ll be on his show Sunday morning. Ron and I have been on Rev. Jackson’s show together in the past, and few people were impacted more by Dr. Walters than Rev. Jackson himself.


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