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Stacey Abrams Appointed as Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics at Howard

Voting rights activist and politician Stacey Abrams. Photo by Kevin Lowery.  

Howard University announced the appointment of former Democratic candidate for Georgia governor and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, Esq., as the inaugural Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics this morning. 

As the chair, 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,” the university said in the Wednesday morning press release. 

“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. “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 will assume her position in the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center, an interdisciplinary center focused on research and policy issues that affect the Black community. Abrams will also lead a “Ronald W. Walters Speakers Series with invited guests on a range of topics representing diverse perspectives,” according to the university. 

President Wayne A. I. Frederick shared his excitement in welcoming Abrams to Howard, calling her an “essential voice” in protecting democracy.

“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,” Frederick said. 

Prior to her appointment at Howard, the Spelman alumna served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017 as the minority leader, making history as the first African-American to lead in the House of Representatives. Abrams left the legislature to run for Governor of Georgia in 2018, and again in 2022, ultimately losing the position to incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp both times. 

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While Abrams was not elected as governor, her campaign efforts were not in vain, as she was largely credited with mobilizing young voters of color in the South, working with multiple non-profit organizations like Fair Fight Action

Howard first announced the creation of the endowed chair position in 2020 when the late Ronald Walter’s wife, Patricia Turner Walters, gifted the university with the couple’s $2.5 million collection of African-American art, according to The Dig. Abrams will join Founding Director Dr. Elsie Scott and Administrative Coordinator Carolyn Smith this fall at the Ronald R. Walters Center. 

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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