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Ronald W. Walters Conference: "Living the Legacy"

Report on the Conference

Read the special thanks from Director Elsie Scott.

See Legacy Conference photo gallery.

On October 10-11, 2013, approximately 100 conference attendees participated in and over 100 students attended part of the Ronald Walters Legacy Conference held on the campus of Howard University. Another 240+ persons watched the conference online through live streaming.  The Ronald Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center, established at Howard University to preserve the legacy of Dr. Ronald Walters, organized the conference.

Incoming Interim Howard University President, Dr. Wayne Frederick, welcomed the conferees to Howard University and Dr. Segun Gbadegesin, Interim Dean of the Howard University College of Arts and Sciences, brought greetings.  Dr. Andrew Billingsley, former Howard Vice President for Academic Affairs and former President of Morgan State University, gave remarks.

The core of the conference was four panels and a roundtable, which covered topics related to Dr. Ronald Walters’ writings, scholarship and civic engagement (see list of topics and speakers below).  Researchers who worked with Dr. Walters, studied under him, or co-authored publications with him, and “activists” who worked with him in various organizations engaged in presentations and dialogue reflecting on his legacy and how it can be preserved.

A public forum was held on the evening of October 10 at Cramton Auditorium.  Roland Martin, a political commentator and journalist, made a special guest appearance. Stefanie Brown James, former HUSA president, a civic and community engagement strategist served as moderator of a lively discussion on the topic: WWWS: What Would Walters Say.  Joe Madison from Sirius Radio, George Curry, former editor of Emerge Magazine, April Ryan from White House Reports and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson served as panelists.   

During the first day’s luncheon, a former student (Rep. Elijah Cummings), a good friend (Dr. Robert Newby), and his youngest brother (Kevin Walters) offered personal reflections on Dr. Walters’ life.  Outgoing Howard University President, Dr. Sidney Ribeau, who was instrumental in getting the Center established at Howard, gave remarks.  The program was highlighted by a speech from Dr. Walters’ widow, Mrs. Patricia Turner Walters. Dr. Daryl Harris, Chair of the Department of Political Science, presented the first Ronald Walters Scholarship recipient, Ms. Brittney Ewing.  The scholarship was made possible by a $5,000 contribution from Mrs. Walters. 

The closing session was on the theme, The Scholarship and Writings of Dr. Ronald W. Walters.  Dr. Robert C. Smith, from San Francisco State University, a student and mentee of Dr. Walters gave the keynote address.  He stated that Ron Walters was an activist scholar whose books can all be traced to his activism and whose works all centered on empowering and liberating black people.

Members of Dr. Walters’ family traveled from as far away as Michigan to participate in the conference.

The Conference was sponsored by the Ronald Walters Center, but it could not have been possible without the support of the co-sponsoring organizations and Howard University entities: the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS),  the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School, The School of Social Work and the Department of Political Science.  The Association for the Study of African Life and History (ASALH) donated a copy of the special issue of the Journal of African American History dedicated to Ronald Walters to each conference attendee.  AFT donated a “goodie” bag for attendees, and former Congressman Ronald Dellums provided copies of his book, Lying Down With the Lions, for each of the speakers.

Read Washington Informer article from the about the Conference


Conference Panels & Roundtable

Panel I: Africa and the African Diaspora
Dr. Leonard Jeffries, City College of New York, Moderator
Mr. Mel Foote, Constituency for Africa
Dr. Mae King, Howard University
Dr. Shelby Lewis, African Heritage Studies Association
Dr. Clarence LuSane, American University

Panel II: Black Presidential Politics in America
Dr. Joseph McCormick, Howard University, Moderator
Dr. Michael Fauntroy, Howard University
Dr. Lorenzo Morris, Howard University

Roundtable: Ronald Walters, the Activist
Dr. Gregory Carr, Howard University, Moderator
Ms. Melanie Campbell, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Dr. Ron Daniels, Institute of the Black World, 20th Century
Mr. William “Bill” Lucy, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists  
Dr. Bill Strickland, University of Massachusetts

Panel III:  Race, Politics, and Black Leadership
Dr. Shiela Harmon, University of the District of Columbia
Dr. Andra Gillespie, Emory University
Dr. John L. Johnson, University of Mary Washington 
Dr. Tyson King-Meadows, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Dr. Todd Shaw, University of South Carolina

Panel IV: Preserving the Legacy of Dr. Walters
Dr. Howard Dodson, Howard University
Dr. Daryl Harris, Howard University
Dr. Joe Leonard, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Dr. Dianne Pinderhughes, University of Notre Dame
Dr. Tamelyn Tucker-Worgs, Hood College