Lifestyle

Dr. Ron Walters’ Widow Remembers Civil Rights Activist Husband

In this 10th year since Ron’s returning to the ancestors and reflecting over these years, I believe Ron, the love of my life, would be very pleased. Since his transition, my life has been about the continuation of his legacy.

The creation of the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center in April 2011 by the Howard University Board of Directors was the beginning of that journey. It has been my joy to be the chair of the Advisory Council to the center and having such great support from President Wayne A.I. Frederick for the center and my role as chair. It is hard to believe that nine years have passed since the center’s inception.

I have established an Endowed Scholarship Fund in Ron’s name, and I give $5,000 a year to the fund so students can receive their Scholarships on an annual basis — $5,000 for one student or $2,500 each if two students are selected. Eight students majoring in political science have received Scholarships that total $20,500 thus far. The applicants must write an essay on Dr. Walters as part of their applications.

Ron was a renaissance man, in my opinion. I don’t know how he found the energy to be a brilliant scholar, professor, community activist and organizer, and civil rights leader, to name just a few of his many roles, except to say he was truly driven, and had an absolute commitment to the betterment of our race. As his good friend George Curry said in a tribute, “Ron was a one-man civil rights movement.” I couldn’t have said it better.

My friends, and family all knew my second love is African American art, and that I had amassed an excellent collection of 19th-century art through and beyond the Harlem Renaissance to contemporary artists like Kehinde Wiley, Kerry James Marshall, Delita Martin, among others valued at over $2.5 million. I gifted my collection to Howard University, to continue and cement Ron’s legacy at the university he loved, with the Dr. Ronald and Mrs. Patricia Walters Art Collection.

In the words of President Frederick, “It is an incredible honor to receive this generous gift of precious art from the Walters Family. … This collection of art will be an excellent complement to our gallery and a beneficial focus of training in our art history courses.”

I could not be more delighted about my decision to give my art collection to Howard, and I know Ron is quite pleased. Although he would always tease me about collecting and my love of African American art saying, “that was my thing.” The art was gifted in November 2019.

Howard has established the Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics to continue Ron’s legacy and expanding the university’s capacity as being a leader in Black Politics. The chair will be housed in the Walters Center.

President Frederick said, “Dr. Walters was a giant among scholars here at Howard University, nationally and internationally, and the endowed chair is designed to be a reflection of Ron’s unique history as an activist, political strategist and trailblazing academic professor. This gift comes at the perfect moment to expand our students’ involvement in the political conversations of our time.”

To see the chair for Ron be established in my lifetime is my dream come true. It personifies the crown jewel of Ron’s continuing legacy. I am grateful to President Frederick for working with me to make this dream come true. It’s my hope and expectation that an outstanding political scientist will have the distinguished honor of being the first Walters endowed chair scholar.

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