It is hard to believe that at the time of your high school graduation, your local newspaper in Louisiana ran a report claiming to prove the inferiority of Blacks—a sendoff that your subsequent life has done more than put the lie to. You first applied the lessons of your Ph.D. in political science to directly advancing civil rights, working on the front lines with such organizations as the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the National Jury Project. Never losing your scholarly interest in the role of race in American politics, you accepted in 1989 a senior appointment here at Williams, where you have taught, among other things, civil rights, voting rights, and Southern politics. You have become a national expert on U.S. voting laws and on electoral opportunities for minorities, including the movement to develop affirmative voting procedures. At the same time, you have helped open Williams to new areas of inquiry through your chairing of the Political Science Department and the Afro-American Studies Program, and directing of the Multicultural Center. It can be said that countless of our students have benefited from being taught by someone who not only studied the Civil Rights Movement, but lived it.
I hereby declare you Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.
June 3, 2012