Stacey Abrams, a two-time Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia, is the newest professor at Howard University. Abrams, well-known for her advocacy for voting rights, will be the inaugural 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 news release 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,” Frederick added.
Walters, a renowned expert on politics and race, taught at Howard for 25 years. He led one of the nation’s first lunch counter sit-ins in Kansas in 1958. Later on, he would provide guidance for Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaigns. Walters passed away in 2010.
The endowed chair was first revealed in 2020, when Walters’ wife, Patricia Turner Walters, presented Howard with a collection of African American art valued at over $2.5 million.
In her new position, Abrams will direct research across the university on political issues impacting Black Americans, organize symposia and workshops and work with other faculty members on these issues.
“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 release about her new role.
“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,” she added.
After losing her rematch with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in November, there has been much speculation about Abrams’ next moves. We have an answer, at least for now, as Abrams has reportedly not ruled out another run for office.
Abrams will join other notable Howard faculty members like Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who launched the Center for Journalism & Democracy in November.