Two African American Women Appointed to Endowed Chairs

Stacey Abrams was named the inaugural Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Abrams served for 10 years in the Georgia House of Representatives, where she was the first woman and first African American to serve as minority leader. Abrams ran for governor of Georgia in 2018 and 2022.

Abrams earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at Spelman College in Atlanta. She holds a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and earned a juris doctorate at Yale Law School.

Rhonda Y. Williams was named to the Coleman A. Young Endowed Chair in the department of African American studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, effective for the 2023-24 academic year. In this role, she plans to focus on humanistic research and on developing working relationships with Detroit’s formidable activist community to help further social justice causes. She was the inaugural holder of the John L. Seigenthaler Chair in American History at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Earlier, she taught at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, where she established and directed the Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American Studies, and founded and directed the university-wide Social Justice Institute. Her latest book is Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (Routledge, 2014).

Dr. Williams is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park. She was the first African American to be the salutatorian in the university’s history. Dr. Williams earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania.

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