Williams taught economics at George Mason University in Virginia for 40 years and had a nationally syndicated column.
He died Wednesday, a day after teaching his final class, according to fellow professor Donald J. Boudreaux in the Wall Street Journal.
“Dr. Williams’ body of work was remarkable, prolific and, without question, controversial,” the university said. “His principal scholarly research was devoted to studying the effects on minority groups of markets as well as of government policies, an important and complicated area of study.”
Williams grew up in Pennsylvania and drove a cab before going on to college, eventually earning a doctorate in economics at UCLA, according to the Journal.
He wrote 10 books, including 1982’s “The State Against Blacks,” which was the basis of a PBS documentary, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
In his last column, “Blacks of yesteryear and today,” Williams wrote about current and past racial tensions in America reflected through his teenage years in a housing project in Northern Philadelphia.
News of his death prompted words of grief from several prominent Republicans.
“Walter Williams was legendary,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wrote. “He was brilliant, incisive, witty, and profound. I grew up reading him, and he was a ferocious defender of free markets and a powerful explainer of the virtues of Liberty.”
Fox News’ Mark Levin called Williams’ death a “punch in the gut.” He said Williams’ had an “enormous” influence on him from the time he was a child.
President of the Heritage Foundation Kay C. James called Williams “a good friend and one of the world’s most brilliant economists. … Truly a great loss for America.”
“I first met Walter Williams when I was 17,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., tweeted. “I’ll never forget his speech about conservation, that there is rarely a shortage of things privately owned! RIP to a brilliant and important voice for Liberty.”
Go to the news source: Walter Williams, conservative economics professor, columnist, dead at 84