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Black Conservatives

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Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams. Courtesy of George Mason University.

A contemporary and onetime colleague of Thomas Sowell, scholar Walter E. Williams participated in the Fairmont Conference in 1980, perhaps the most important event in the development of the black conservative and libertarian platform. Since the 1960s, Williams has remained an ardent defender of free enterprise, believing laissez-faire capitalism to be the best system for empowering the poor. Much of his graduate studies were spent investigating how economics affects low-income communities, and his dissertation contended that retail goods are priced higher in distressed areas than in more affluent ones due to heightened economic risks, not because of racism or exploitation. Williams, a professor at George Mason University, is a prolific author and recipient of several prestigious fellowships, and has been a considerable media presence, including guest-hosting stints on The Rush Limbaugh Show. His opposition to traditional African American leadership objectives—minimum wage laws and labor unions—has engendered controversy, although perhaps none as much as his "Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon Granted to All Persons of European Descent," a tongue-in-cheek absolution of black grievances.

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