“The Dean of Black Politics”
Hanes Walton, Jr. was a man of many achievements. He was an intellectual trailblazer, credited with codifying black politics within the field of political science. He was co-founder of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and vice-president of the American Political Science Association. He was a prolific scholar who authored more than 80 articles, 25 book chapters, and 25 books. He was also a gifted teacher who could mesmerize an entire class with nothing more than a chalkboard. Equally important, he was a beloved mentor and friend, an advisor generous with his time, and a wise presence whose office door was always open to students and colleagues.
Hanes received his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and his Master of Arts in Political Science from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). He was the first graduate of Howard University to earn a Ph.D. in Government, and was recruited to the University of Michigan Department of Political Science in 1992 from Savannah State University. In addition to serving as a professor of American Politics at U-M, he was deeply engaged with the Center for Political Studies at the U-M Institute for Social Research where he held the position of research professor.
His sudden death in early 2013 at the age of 72 came as a deep shock to scores of colleagues and students, who remember him not only as “the dean of black politics,” but as someone who made an indelible impression on their careers . . . and their lives.
Many years of selfless devotion to political science, his students, his colleagues, and his family defined Hanes’s life. He once said: “Find something you love to do and do it well; because if you don’t, what are you really doing?” He found his love in political science. For more than 40 years he did it well. One of the greatest lessons to us from him was the understanding that hard work and dedication to the commitments you make will fulfill your life in ways that are immeasurable. — The Hanes Walton, Jr. Family
To memorialize this remarkable man, his students and colleagues have joined with ISR to create an endowed scholarship fund in his name.
Once fully funded, the endowment will provide an annual award to a second- or third-year graduate student who is (1) studying racial and ethnic politics in the U-M Department of Political Science or the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and (2) working with a faculty member in the Center for Political Studies.
Intended to support professional development of the recipient’s research career, the stipend may be used for travel related to data collection, academic collaborations or conference participation; summer courses at the Survey Research Center Summer Institute or the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research Summer Program; pilot research for a dissertation; or the purchase of research-related equipment.
Honoring – and continuing – the trailblazing work of Hanes Walton
This endowed fund offers an ideal opportunity to honor Hanes’s 45 years of scholarship, teaching, and mentoring. Recipients of this annual award will be required to demonstrate not only the outcomes of their research and its impact on their career path, but also how that research relates to Hanes’s body of work.
Thus, the award will help create a lasting legacy for an iconic political scientist and faculty member whose groundbreaking contributions forever changed the study of African American politics, presidential elections, and political parties.
A worthy objective, an achievable goal
In order to offer a meaningful stipend to young scholars in the field of racial and ethnic politics, the Hanes Walton, Jr. Endowment must total at least $50,000. We are well on our way to reaching this goal.
Please consider making a contribution to the fund. Your generosity will help tomorrow’s political scientists pursue research and build careers in areas of study that mattered profoundly to Hanes. And it will assure that his legacy lives on – now and for generations to come.
The Hanes Walton Memorial Lecture
The Center for Political Studies sponsored the Hanes Walton Jr. Memorial Lecture at the Institute for Social Research on Thursday, November 12, 2015. The speaker was Paula D. McClain, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education at Duke University. After the lecture, “From Ralph Bunche to Hanes Walton Jr.: An Intellectual Lineage,” friends, colleagues and family witnessed the unveiling of a plaque in Hanes’s honor, which will hang near the entrance to ISR.
A video of the lecture and more photos can be found on the CPS website.
After taking Hanes Walton’s course, I told my parents I wanted to become a college professor. The personal attention he gave me and the other small number of political science majors left an indelible imprint. — Marion Orr
Hanes Walton set the bar high for what it meant to be a scholar, teacher, and mentor. His contributions to Political Science are unmatched. In his absence, his friends, students, and colleagues are left with the daunting task of filling the shoes of a giant. — Tasha Philpot
Although I never took a single class from him, in many ways Hanes Walton taught me as much about political science as my professors in graduate school. In our many lunches and informal conversations, he instructed me on the history of the Department of Political Science at Michigan and African Americans in the discipline. He played an important role in socializing me to the political science profession. I will miss his warmth, humor, and guidance.— Vincent Hutchings
Hanes Walton was arguably the most productive of the civil rights era generation of black political scientists. He was also incredibly humble. And he was open with his time – spending every Saturday laboring over the dozens of recommendation letters and tenure reviews he was routinely asked to write. Over the past 20 years, the University of Michigan has produced more black political scientists than any other institution. Almost all of those students bear his mark. — Lester Spence