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What Has This Got to Do with the Liberation of Black People?

The Impact of Ronald W. Walters on African American Thought and Leadership

Robert C. Smith

Publication Year: 2014

A compelling intellectual and political study of a leading post–civil rights era African American political theorist and strategist.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-x

List of Tables and Figures

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pp. xi-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

We should first like to acknowledge the work of Scottie Smith in editing the papers and preparing the volume for publication. Michael Rinella, State University of New York Press’ senior acquisitions editor, early on recognized the significance of a collection of essays on Walters and expeditiously facilitated the review and production processes. The anonymous reviewers also recognized the significance of the volume and provided generous and discerning ...

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Introduction

Robert C. Smith

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pp. 1-22

For more than a decade I tried to persuade Walters to write his memoirs. Indeed, in my last email communication with him days before he entered the hospital for the last time I raised the issue. I was writing in response to his “Reflections” essay published in this volume and wrote that the essay “gets me to thinking of the perhaps not so dead horse I’ve been beating for lo these many years—you need to write the MEMOIR man—you owe it to the young, and to...

Part I

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1. Our Tallest Tree: An Essay toward a Biography of Ronald Walters

Robert G. Newby

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pp. 25-56

On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, January 16, in 2012, the CBS Evening News ran a story on the Dockum Drugstore sit-in. Essentially, the story involved interviews with two participants, Carol Parks Hahn and Dr. Galyn Vesey, both of whom remain Wichita residents. James Axelrod was the reporter. Axelrod, Hahn, and Vesey revisited the site of the drugstore, which is now a landmark. Carol Parks Hahn related that the waitress on that fateful day in July of 1958 actually took her order but then leaned forward and inquired,...

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2. The Groundbreaking Wichita Sit-In Movement: An Essay in Appreciation of Ronald Walters’ Scholarly and Political Contributions

Aldon Morris

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pp. 57-84

This chapter seeks to illuminate the importance that low-visibility protests can have in producing social change. Such protests are usually initiated by relatively unrecognized activists and overlooked to a significant degree by those beyond the settings in which they occurred. As a result, these protests usually do not spark significant media coverage and are often invisible to many activists who participate in the larger movement produced, in part, by low-visibility...

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3. Reflections

Ronald W. Walters

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pp. 85-90

My most recently completed project was a coedited work, with Dr. Toni-Michelle Travis, on the District of Columbia, Democratic Destiny and the District of Columbia (Rowman & Littlefield 2010). This was a unique project that was brought to me by a group of freshly minted African American PhDs who had worked with me on a leadership conference on the black economic condition. Eventually, I agreed to edit the project, if Dr. Travis would join, and it became a very productive enterprise that was focused on politics and public...

Part II

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4. The Black Science in Political Science

Katherine Tate

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pp. 93-112

The study of blacks in American politics was once an invisible field of inquiry. Since the 1980s, the field has since taken off. More scholars produce work in this field. And while publication in the toptier journals remains rare (e.g., Smith 1981), many more scholars are publishing book-length treatments of African American politics. Members of this field have participated in the movement to create new journals receptive to the studies of minority groups. In 1989, the...

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5. Black Intellectuals in the Age of New Democratic Politics: Reflections on Ronald Walters, the Maryland Years

Cedric Johnson

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pp. 113-136

In the fall of 2011, I was called upon to offer some words of reflection on the life and work of Ronald W. Walters as he was posthumously awarded the Frederick Douglass Award by the University of Maryland at College Park. Walters was my dissertation advisor, my boss at the African American Leadership Institute, my fraternity brother, my coauthor and my friend. As I prepared my remarks, I recalled how fortunate I was to work with Walters when I did,...

Part III

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6. A Modest Proposal: A Call for Leadership Specialization and the Recognition of Multiple Black Constituencies

Andra Gillespie

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pp. 139-158

In the conclusion of African American Leadership, Robert Smith and Ronald Walters made no apologies for their embrace of an “essentialist” view of black politics (Smith and Walters 1999, 249). While they were quick to acknowledge the constant political heterogeneity of the African American community and presciently identified the increasing integration of blacks into mainstream political, social, and cultural institutions as a disuniting force within the African ...

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7. Still Waters Run Deep: Synthesizing Ronald Walters’ Theses on Black Leadership and Black Nationalism

Errol Henderson

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pp. 159-186

The work of very few scholars occupies pride of place in both academic and applied settings; that is, in the domain of both theory and practice. It is even less likely when the area of academic interest is African American/black politics, given that scholarship on black politics for most political scientists is on electoral politics, while scholarship on grassroots activist politics typically has been the domain of historians and sociologists...

Part IV

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8. Usurper-in-Chief? White Nationalism, the Tea Party Movement, and President Barack Obama

Adolphus G. Belk Jr.

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pp. 189-226

For many Americans their introduction to Barack Obama came with his appearance before the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Then a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, Obama delivered a rousing address that included many well-tested...

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9. White Nationalism, Black Interests, and Contemporary American Politics

Corey Cook

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pp. 227-242

Professor Ronald Walters’ varied contributions as a scholar, activist, and public intellectual are immeasurable. His work simultaneously informs the ongoing political and policy discourse and advances the academic literature. White Nationalism, Black Interests: Conservative Public Policy and the Black Community (2003) is perhaps his magnum opus. The book is a boldly conceived, meticulously researched, and compellingly argued analysis of the oft-cited but illexplained...

Part V

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10. Ronald Walters and the District of Columbia: Action Research and the Odyssey of the Capital Colony

Lenneal J. Henderson

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pp. 245-260

Although born in Kansas, educated at Fisk and American Universities, and domiciled in Silver Spring, Maryland, Ronald Walters considered Washington, D.C. his headquarters as an action researcher. He successfully completed his doctoral work at American University; taught in and chaired the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, D.C.; worked extensively with members of Congress and the District of Columbia government;...

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11. Ronald Walters as a Political Empowerment Theorist: The Concept of Leverage Strategies

Hanes Walton Jr.

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pp. 261-284

Neither political theory nor major political theoreticians such as Ronald W. Walters are born in a political vacuum but instead in a crisis in the political environment. Otherwise they are dealing in fiction. Walters was born in 1938 in the age of African American political neophytes, which saw the political birth and rebirth of the African American electorate. This age demanded brilliant intellectuals,...

Part VI

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12. Ronald Walters: Theory and Practice of Foreign Policy Justice

Karin L. Stanford

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pp. 287-310

It was during the height of the antiapartheid movement when I first learned that Ronald W. Walters, a scholar at Howard University, was a leader in advancing theoretical conceptualizations of African Americans in international affairs. At that time, I was a student at the University of Southern California and troubled by the outrageous racism practiced by the South African government. I was equally infuriated by the South African government’s comfortable...

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13. Ronald Walters: Pan Africanism and International Struggles for Social Justice

Horace Capbell

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pp. 311-332

When progressive Pan Africanists met at the Henry Sylvestre Williams Conference in Trinidad in 2000 and were articulating the goals of political change of the twenty-first century, there was recognition that the reconceptualization of Pan Africanism had to elevate the questions of dignity and humanity away from the state centered preoccupations of the period up to the end of apartheid. Questions of health, life, peace, and the saving of planet earth had...

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14. Reparations, Citizenship, and the Politics of Identity

Charles P. Henry

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pp. 333-350

The week after the election of Barack Obama as the forty-fourth president of the United States I spoke at Purdue University.1 Following my talk, which focused on the status of African Americans in general and the issue of reparations in particular, I agreed to answer questions. Immediately a middle-aged white man in the rear raised his hand and then stated he did not ever want to hear about the plight of African Americans again. After all, he said, a majority of...

Part VII

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15. Civil Rights and the First Black President: Barack Obama and the Politics of Racial Equality

Robert W. Walters with the assistance of Robert C. Smith

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pp. 353-368

In the 1940s, the great civil rights advocate and diplomat Ralph Bunche wrote that it was inconceivable that an African American could ever be elected president: a governor, a senator, a general, or a cabinet officer perhaps, but never president.1 In 2008 the seemingly impossible happened. Newspapers across the country reported that Barack Obama’s election was a momentous achievement—a historic occasion for African Americans and the nation as a whole....

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Afterword

Robert C. Smith

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pp. 369-378

The purpose of this volume is to assess the impact and influence of Ronald Walters’ work on black politics, thought, and leadership; to provide a critical assessment of the life and career of one of the most consequential political scientists in the history of the discipline. We also prepared this volume to preserve Walters’ legacy for the next generations of students, scholars, activists, leaders, and public intellectuals. Over the years, Walters trained many students—two...

About the Editors and Contributors

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pp. 379-382

Index

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pp. 383-406

Back Cover

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p. 407-407


E-ISBN-13: 9781438450933
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438450919

Page Count: 419
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: SUNY series in African American Studies

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Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Politics and government -- 21st century.
  • African American leadership -- History -- 20th century.
  • African American leadership -- History -- 21st century.
  • Walters, Ronald W.
  • Political scientists -- United States -- Biography.
  • African American political scientists -- Biography.
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