Walter Williams, the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University and longtime columnist, has died at the age of 84.
Williams began writing a weekly column, "A Minority View," in 1981, the penultimate one was titled "Black Education Tragedy Is New," and published Wednesday. According to Creators, his final column will publish next week, which will be available at Townhall, where his columns have appeared for more than 25 years. He is also the author of 10 books, including the most recent, "Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?" and "Up from the Projects: An Autobiography," and published more than 150 scholarly articles, according to Economic Policy Journal.
"Walter was a great communicator of ideas and a prolific, provocative and uncompromising writer," wrote fellow GMU colleague Veronique de Rugy. "His voice, his happy-warrior demeanor, his cosmopolitan views, his endless fight on behalf of those with no political voices, and his generosity to all of us at Mason will be missed."
Tributes to Williams, whom his colleagues called a "freedom fighter," flooded social media.
Walter Williams was an American hero.— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) December 2, 2020
Born in poverty, raised by a single mother in the projects of North Philadelphia, a college drop-out, he overcame all types of adversity to become a nationally renowned professor, economist and columnist. https://t.co/LKWo6ZMv4Z
One of my lifetime heroes, Dr #WalterWilliams, Econ Prof at @GeorgeMasonU, has passed at 84. A writer and speaker of great consequence. One of the most important conservative voices for nearly a half century. Well done, good and faithful servant.— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) December 2, 2020
“I believe that reaching into your own pockets to help someone in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into somebody else's pockets to help your fellow man in need is despicable.”— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) December 2, 2020
—Walter Williams, one of the most brilliant & influential conservative thinkers of our time
The great Professor Walter E. Williams has passed away at 83. Dr. Williams was fearless & independent. He was wise, brilliant & very funny. He was the keynote speaker for BOND's 10th anniversary. Condolences to the family. May his soul rest in peace??https://t.co/ih6AJoOmBI— Jesse Lee Peterson (@JLPtalk) December 2, 2020
RIP Walter Williams. What a legend. What a life lived. He didn't teach us WHAT to think. He taught us HOW to think, and his influence and his work will outlive us all. Thank you for making a real difference in this world, and on my life.— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) December 2, 2020
RIP Walter Williams, one of the many black conservative intellectuals the media pretend don’t exist.— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 2, 2020
Everything he wrote is worth reading, this column especially, “Are We Equal": https://t.co/MaeYgrwKAq
Just heard that Walter Williams passed away ??— Leonydus Johnson (@LeonydusJohnson) December 2, 2020
Such a brilliant mind and brilliant economist. I owe a lot to that man for helping to shape my thinking and inspiring the pursuit of truth against popular opinion. I wish I could have met him in person to tell him as much
Wow, what a punch in the gut. I am told that one of my heroes, Dr. Walter Williams, passed away. Walter had an enormous influence on me, from the time I was 13-years old; he was my first guest on Life, Liberty & Levin. I'll discuss more tonight on radio.— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) December 2, 2020
I was introduced to Walter Williams’ work as a college newspaper writer & editor at Dartmouth. Our own professors were peddling Marxist propaganda, but we took inspiration from Williams’ writing and commentary. He was truly an inspiration and a hero to me. RIP to legend. ????— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) December 2, 2020
Very sad news. Walter Williams was legendary. He was brilliant, incisive, witty, and profound. I grew up reading him, and he was a ferocious defender of free markets and a powerful explainer of the virtues of Liberty. https://t.co/DrwZo5yxqR— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 2, 2020
An enormous loss for the country. RIP Professor Williams https://t.co/cyQTuhJgl0— Storm Paglia ???? (@storm_paglia) December 2, 2020
Update: Thomas Sowell, Williams's best friend, penned a touching tribute, which is available to read at Townhall.