It has sadly been revealed recently that George Mason University’s Walter E. Williams has passed away at the age of 84. Williams was considered to be one of America’s leading defenders of free-markets and free people. Not only has Williams helped and inspired countless generations of young people with his numerous political writings and economic teaching, but has also helped produce one of America’s most popular syndicated columns.
Williams was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Williams held a B.A. in Economics from California State University, Los Angeles. In addition to this, he also held a M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA. Alongside this, Professor Williams held a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Union University and Grove City College.
His career spanned over five decades and authored over 150 publications, ten of which included books, as well as helping PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) to create two documentaries on economic problems in inner cities within America to South Africa and its economic policies. Throughout his work, he tirelessly worked to inform citizens of the dangers of big government and its effects to the poor. Williams had made countless radio and television appearances, including Nightline, Firing Line, Face the Nation, Milton Friedman’s Free To Choose, Crossfire, MacNeil/Lehrer and Wall Street Week; as well as being a major contributor for the Nightly Business Report. In addition to this, he was also an infrequent replacement host for The Rush Limbaugh Show. His last ever documentary was Suffer No Fools as shown on PBS stations during the Fall/Spring of 2014/2015 (one I couldn’t recommend more). Besides being an academic, Williams had been a soldier and spent time overseas in Korea. He was also a loving father, husband and a kind mentor to his students.
I once had the great pleasure of emailing Professor Williams during Autumn last year. In our emails, we discussed economics and social policy, ranging from minimum wages to fatherlessness within families in African American communities. One thing that always struck a chord with me was the kindness of his words and the fraternity he had for his fellow man. He responded to every email as if an old friend had messaged out of the blue and with nothing but care and understanding. His kindness and his belief in the human spirit should serve as an example for all, especially on issues of colour and creed. I do hope men like Professor Williams will not become a dying breed who can continue to inspire and believe in the good and decency of men.
I think it is only appropriate that his final words in our last email be the perfect sentiment for his life and his messages as he passes on:
“Best wishes and keep the faith!”
Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons