I first discovered Walter Williams (no relation) in the 1980's. I've read a few of his books, I read every column he writes and I've listened to him host talk radio shows for countless hours. I consider him one of my mentors and he's had a profound impact on my thinking and worldview. I've featured a number of posts about him here over the 10 years I've been blogging. In the early 1990's, I had the opportunity to hear Professor Williams give a lecture at Bridgewater College here in the Shenandoah Valley. My son, his friend, another friend of mine and my pastor also had the honor of meeting him and shaking his hand after his lecture. He was outside, smoking a cigarette--something that might see him forced into sensitivity training today. The next time I saw him in person was, oddly enough, at the Museum of the Confederacy several years later. He was apparently there just as a tourist, like myself. I spoke to him, but I doubt he would recall.
Whatever your knowledge of Dr. Williams, I would strongly encourage you to watch the documentary released last year about his life. It is quite fascinating as he and others reflect on his transformation from a follower of Malcom X to one of the most eloquent and insightful defenders of free markets and liberty alive today. The film addresses a number of topics on race and history. But beyond that, there are a number of very simple, yet profound, life lessons that can be learned from Dr. Williams's life story and perspectives. It's almost an hour long, but I assure you - if you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll be glad you watched it. Here's just a few of the more interesting quotes from the film:
"The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, Jim Crow and the harshest racism could not have done, namely to destroy the black family." ~ Dr. Walter Williams
"I am very, very happy that I got virtually all my education before it became fashionable for white people to like black people." ~ Professor Walter Williams
"I don't have the level of respect for Congressmen that many people have." ~ Professor Walter Williams
"Walter is one of the few honest academics and it's harder to be honest in academia than in almost any other place with the possible exception of politics." ~ Dr. Thomas Sowell
Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools from Free To Choose Network on Vimeo.