Walter Williams loved teaching.
Unlike many other teachers today, he emphasized that he never imposes his opinion on students.
Those who read his Syndicate newspaper column know that he expressed his opinion boldly and explicitly there.
But it’s not a classroom.
Walter once said that on the day he died, he wanted him to teach classes that day. And that’s what happened when he died on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.
He was my best friend for half a century. No one I trusted or respected sincerity anymore.
He was younger than me, so I chose him as my executor to manage my books after I left.
But his death reminds us that no one really says anything about such things.
As an economist, Walter Williams did not get the credit he deserved.
His book “Race and Economics” is a must-read introduction to this subject. Nine years after its publication, Amazon ranks fifth in sales in civil rights books.
His other book on the impact of economics under South Africa’s white supremacist apartheid administration was entitled “War with South African Capitalism.”
He went to South Africa to study the situation directly. Much of what he brings out affects racism elsewhere in the world.
I had many opportunities to cite Walter Williams’ work in my book.
Much of what others say about high prices in today’s low-income areas has yet to keep up with what Walter said in his dissertation decades ago.
Despite his opposition to the welfare state, Walter was personally very generous with both his money and the time to help others, as more harmful than good.
He thought he had the right to do whatever he wanted with his money, but politicians did not have the right to give out his money to get a vote.
In a letter dated March 3, 1975, Walter wrote:
In the same letter, he referred to a hospital that “has an almost written policy of banning black medical students from being ridiculous.”
Shortly after this, a professor at a prestigious medical school revealed that a black student there was given a passing score without meeting the criteria that apply to other students. He warned that credible patients would, in part, pay for such an irresponsible double standard in their lives. It really happened.
As a person, Walter Williams was unique.
I’ve heard that no one else is said to be “like Walter Williams.”
Walter, who had a black belt in karate, was a tough customer. One night, three men jumped at him — and two of them eventually went to the hospital.
The other side of Walter came out in relation to his wife, Connie.
She helped get him to graduate school — and after he got his PhD, she didn’t even have to fix his breakfast and never had to work again.
Walter liked to go to work at 4:30 am. He was the only one who had no trouble finding a parking space on the streets of downtown Washington.
Around 9 o’clock, Connie (awakening) called Walter and greeted each other kindly that day.
You may never look like him again. And that is our loss.
Thomas Sowell is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Stanford, California. His website is www.tsowell.com.
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