In Memoriam; Robert Lee Williams II, 1930-2020

Robert Lee Williams II, founding director of the Black studies program at Washington University in St. Louis, died on August 12. He was 90 years old.

Dr. Williams joined the faculty at Washington University in 1969 as the founder of the Black studies program. A year later he was named a professor of psychology.

Dr. Williams was the creator of the 100-question Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity — an examination to demonstrate that intelligence tests show racial and cultural biases. He is credited with creating the term “Ebonics,” a combination of the words ebony and phonics.

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Professor Williams earned a Ph.D. in psychology at Washington University. He retired from teaching in 1992 after serving for 23 years on the Washington University faculty.


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