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

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

Edited by Robert C. Smith, Cedric Johnson, and Robert G. Newby

Subjects: African American Studies, Political Science, American Politics
Series: SUNY series in African American Studies
Paperback : 9781438450926, 419 pages, January 2015
Hardcover : 9781438450919, 419 pages, March 2014

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Table of contents

List of Tables and Figures
Robert C. Smith
Part I
1. Our Tallest Tree: An Essay toward a Biography of Ronald Walters
Robert G. Newby
2. The Groundbreaking Wichita Sit-In Movement: An Essay in Appreciation of Ronald Walters’ Scholarly and Political Contributions
Aldon Morris
3. Reflections
Ronald W. Walters
Part II
4. The Black Science in Political Science
Katherine Tate
5. Black Intellectuals in the Age of New Democratic Politics: Reflections on Ronald Walters, the Maryland Years
Cedric Johnson
Part III

6. A Modest Proposal: A Call for Leadership Specialization and the Recognition of Multiple Black Constituencies
Andra Gillespie
7. Still Waters Run Deep: Synthesizing Ronald Walters’ Theses on Black Leadership and Black Nationalism
Errol Henderson
Part IV
8. Usurper-in-Chief? White Nationalism, the Tea Party Movement, and President Barack Obama
Adolphus G. Belk Jr.
9. White Nationalism, Black Interests, and Contemporary American Politics
Corey Cook
Part V
10. Ronald Walters and the District of Columbia: Action Research and the Odyssey of the Capital Colony
Lenneal J. Henderson
11. Ronald Walters as a Political Empowerment Theorist: The Concept of Leverage Strategies
Hanes Walton Jr.
Part VI
12. Ronald Walters: Theory and Practice of Foreign Policy Justice
Karin L. Stanford
13. Ronald Walters: Pan Africanism and International Struggles for Social Justice
Horace Campbell
14. Reparations, Citizenship, and the Politics of Identity
Charles P. Henry
Part VII
15. Civil Rights and the First Black President: Barack Obama and the Politics of Racial Equality
Ronald W. Walters with the assistance of Robert C. Smith
Robert C. Smith
About the Editors and Contributors

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


It is rare that a major leader of a protest movement also becomes an accomplished scholar who provides valuable insight into the movement in which he participated. Yet this was precisely what Ronald W. Walters (1938–2010) did. Born in Wichita, Kansas, the young Walters led the first modern sit-in protest during the summer of 1958, nearly two years before the more famous Greensboro sit-in of 1960. After receiving a doctorate from American University, Walters embarked on an extraordinary career of scholarship and activism. Shaped by the civil rights and black power movements and the African and Caribbean liberation struggles, Walters was a pioneer in the development of black studies and "black science" in political science. A public intellectual, as well as advisor and strategist to African American leaders, Walters founded numerous organizations that shaped the post–civil rights era. A must read for scholars, students, pundits, political leaders, and activists, What Has This Got to Do with the Liberation of Black People? is a major contribution to the historiography of the civil rights and black power movements, African American intellectual history, political science, and black studies.

Robert C. Smith is Professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University. He is the author of several books, including John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, and the Politics of Ethnic Incorporation and Avoidance and Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They Are the Same, both published by SUNY Press. Cedric Johnson is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is the author of Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics. Robert G. Newby is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology at Central Michigan University.