In Memoriam: Walter Edward Williams, 1936-2020

Walter E. Williams, the conservative economist, syndicated newspaper columnist, and long-time professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, died on December 2 in Arlington, Virginia. He was 84 years and had suffered from heart disease. Professor Williams had taught a class in microeconomics at the Arlington campus of George Mason University on the night of December 1.

A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Williams was a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles. He earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in economics at the University of California, Los Angeles. He joined the faculty at Temple University in 1975 and then joined the faculty at George Mason University in 1980. At the time of his death, he was the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics.

Dr. Williams was the author of 10 books including The State Against Blacks (McGraw-Hill, 1982), Up from the Projects: An Autobiography (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2010), and American Contempt for Liberty (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2015).

Ann Ardis, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason Univerity, said that “Dr. Williams’s body of work was remarkable, prolific and without question controversial. His work and his writings prompted many of us to think critically, even if the end result was an agreement to disagree. Dr. Williams left his mark, using his time, scholarship, and wisdom to chart a unique and successful path.”


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