Stacey Abrams to Join Howard University Political Science Faculty as Endowed Chair

Stacey Abrams to Join Howard University Political Science Faculty as Endowed Chair


Stacey Abrams on May 24, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

Historically Black University Howard University in Washington, D.C., has tapped politician and voter rights advocate Stacey Abrams to join its political science faculty. The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate will take an endowed chair at the HBCU.

Her role will focus on race and politics. Abrams, the former two-time candidate for Georgia governor, will be the inaugural Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics. It will be a multiyear appointment, ad she is expected to start in September, The Washington Post reported.

“We are entering an inflection point in American politics where the conversation of race and Black politics will be a central facet,” Abrams, 49, said in a press statement, “and having the chance to help guide part of the conversation for young people who are studying at Howard University is an exceptional opportunity.”

Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick noted the appointment honors Walters’ legacy around the topics of Black politics and the role politics plays in African-American life. “Stacey Abrams epitomizes that in our contemporary experience, in our society,” he said.

“The work she has been doing on voter registration and voting irregularities, especially in Georgia but across the country, speaks to a lot of what Ronald Walters embodied. This appointment is extremely important for our students,” he continued.

Abrams will also lead the Ronald W. Walters Speakers Series, which will invite noted speakers to the historically Black college on a range of diverse topics, NPR reported.

College faculty life isn’t anything new to Abrams. Abrams was once an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Spelman College in Atlanta. The HBCU’s former president Johnnetta Cole was a mentor to her. Abrams earned a master’s degree in public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and Yale University, where she went to law school.

Howard’s endowed chair was first announced in 2020 when Ronald Walters’s wife, Patricia Turner Walters, donated the couple’s collection of African American art to the school. The collection was valued at more than $2.5 million, and is now on display at the Howard University Gallery of Art. Ronald Walters died in 2010.

Howard has been making many high-profile hires as of late. In addition to Abrams, in 2021 the school hired author Ta-Nehisi Coates, the writer whose work has earned him a MacArthur “genius grant” and a National Book Award and led to a congressional hearing on reparations for slavery. New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones has also been added to the Howard faculty. In 2021 it was announced she would launch a journalism center at the university. Actress and director Phylicia Rashad was named dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts in February 2023.

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams talks to the media during Georgia’s primary election on May 24, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)