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Press Release
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By Colleen Challenger
University News Service
February 21, 2013      
Panelists Remember Walton’s Contributions to the
Development of the Black Politics Discipline

Walton was first to graduate from Howard with political science doctorate
Hanes Walton Jr.

WASHINGTON – Acclaimed scholar Hanes Walton Jr., the first person to earn a doctorate in political science at Howard University, was acknowledged for his role as chief architect of the academic discipline of Black politics during a university symposium on Feb. 19.  He was the author of 28 books, 25 book chapters, and more than 80 peer-reviewed articles. 

Walton, during a long and distinguished career, helped build Black Politics into a respected area of study and mentored generations of students and faculty who now populate the nation’s universities and colleges. Before his death, Walton was a research professor at the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan.

“This day is an opportunity for us to put Walton before our students and to let them hear scholars reflect on his scholarship and life,” said Alvin Thornton, senior academic advisor to Howard President Sidney A. Ribeau.  “It’s also an opportunity to acknowledge the scholarship and service of one of Howard and our nation’s most accomplished scholars. He was the anchor of the cohort of scholars, all associated with Howard University, that created the Black politics field.”

Walton’s greatest academic influence has been felt in the place where he started his research -- at Howard. Each year, approximately 200 Howard students pursue courses in Black politics using Walton’s books and articles as primary

readings. After graduation, these students fill public service roles in congressional, state and local, and mayoral positions around the country. Many others carried his scholarship into professorships across the country.

At the symposium, former colleagues and students of Walton stressed his unselfish willingness to help other scholars in the field – even during times when Walton was busy with his own work.

“He was an intellectual giant, there’s no doubt about it,” said Menna Demessie, Ph.D., Walton’s last dissertation student during his tenure at the University of Michigan. “The bulk of knowledge that this man had -- it’s unreal and yet he was still able to be as engaged in his writing and as responsive to his community.”

Participants in the symposium included Patricia Walters, widow of renowned Howard University scholar Dr. Ronald Walters; Dr. Elsie Scott, founding director of the Ronald Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center; Michael Britnall, executive director of the American Political Science Association; Dr. Robert C. Smith, professor of political science at San Francisco State University; and Dr. Lenneal J. Henderson, a distinguished professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore; and Drs. Daryl Harris, Lorenzo  Morris, Donn Davis, Howard Political Science professors.  Leaders from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists attended as well.

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