Remembering Renowned Race Scholar Ronald Walters

Ronald Walters, a celebrated scholar of race and politics in America, has died of cancer at the age of 72. One of the principal architects of Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns, Walter was a familiar voice to many NPR listeners for his insights on the politics of race.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

NEAL CONAN, host:

We learned over the weekend, of the death of Ron Walters, a familiar voice on this program and many others - both a scholar of race and politics and a practitioner. He was one of the principal architects of the presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson.

Ron Walters joined us tonight the, then-Senator, Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination for president, something he said he never expected to see in his lifetime, especially after his experience on the Jackson campaigns.

(Soundbite of archived broadcast)

Dr. RONALD WALTERS (Former Government and Politics Professor, University of Maryland): People are not aware of the fact that with the tremendous effort of Reverend Jackson. He arrived at the Democratic Convention with over 1,200 delegates and a very formidable showing. And so, for someone like Barack Obama to have reached this point, one has to ask, is this simply an investment in Barack Obama?

I've concluded that it really isn't, that what you're looking at here is the fact that he has hit a deep vein, in the American people, of change. And the American people said it in the 2006 election cycle by changing the control of the Congress of the United States, from Republican to Democrat. And they've also said it in some of the special elections. And so they have been telling us that there is this deep desire for change.

Barack Obama showed up. He built a campaign around it. He was able to articulate it successfully. And I think that really was - has been the key to his success.

CONAN: Activist, professor and sometime pol, Ron Walters, died of cancer last week at the age of 72. We're going to miss him.

If you'd like to find out more about his long and accomplished career, our own Ken Rudin wrote about him on his Political Junkie blog. Just go to npr.org.

Tomorrow, women in music. Suzanne Vega will be our guest. Join us. This is TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.

(Soundbite of music)

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: