Howard University receives $2.5M African American art collection

An Elizabeth Catlett sculpture titled “Glory” is among 152 pieces of African American art being donated to Howard University by the wife of the late Ronald W. Walters, a longtime Howard University professor and dean. (Courtesy Howard University)

Howard University has received a collection of African American art valued at more than $2.5 million in honor of the former dean of the school’s political science department, Ronald W. Walters.

Walters’ wife, Patricia Turner Walters, gifted her collection to the school.

“It is an incredible honor to receive this generous gift of precious art from the Walters family,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “This collection of sculptures and portraits and paintings will be an excellent complement to our gallery and a beneficial focus of training in our art history courses.”

Howard University will also establish the Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics.

The art collection includes 152 pieces of African American art in various forms. It includes original pieces, sculptures, rare prints, photographs and pieces from notable eras, including the Harlem Renaissance.

Patricia Walters began her collection in the late 1980s with most of her pieces acquired after 2002.

“I could not be more delighted about the decision to give my art collection to Howard, the institution that my husband cared so deeply about,” said Walters. “I always knew I wanted to do something like this to honor my husband’s legacy, but I never imagined that I would get to see it happen in my lifetime.”

Ronald W. Walters was a Howard professor from 1971 to 1996. He died in 2010.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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