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The Honorable William E. Ward

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Information about The Honorable William E. Ward

Profile image of The Honorable William E. Ward

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
History Professor
Political Organizer
Mayor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New England
Favorite Quote:
Epitaph: Public Servant

Birthplace

Born:
12/1/1933
Birth Location:
Lunenburg County, Virginia

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
History Professor
Political Organizer
Mayor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New England
Favorite Quote:
Epitaph: Public Servant

Birthplace

Born:
12/1/1933
Birth Location:
Lunenburg County
See how The Honorable William E. Ward is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

History professor, political organizer, and mayor The Honorable William E. Ward was born on December 1, 1933 in Virginia to Annie Ward. Ward earned his B.A. degree in history in 1957 and his M.A. degree in history in 1960 from Virginia State University. He also earned both his M.A. and Ph.D degrees in American and African history in 1972 and 1977, respectively, from Clark University.

In 1963, Ward moved to Chesapeake where he began his public life as a grass-roots political organizer, helping to bring sewer and roads to poorer neighborhoods in Chesapeake and Norfolk. Between 1973 and 2000, he worked as a professor at Norfolk State University where he served as a professor and the chair of the history department. He was also the president of the Faculty Senate at Norfolk State University between 1975 and 1977 and chaired the Black History Month committee for the Faculty Senate of Virginia Benefits and Senate Grievance committees. In addition, Ward was a member of the college-wide Council of Teacher Education. In 1978, Ward ran for the Chesapeake City Council and was declared a winner forty-eight hours after having been declared a loser, when 123 uncounted votes were located. He was elected Vice Mayor under Mayor David I. Wynne between 1984 and 1986, and also in 1988 and 1990. Ward was then appointed as the city’s first black mayor in 1990 after Wynne faced allegations of fraud. Ward ran for re-election in 1992 and won and in 1996, Ward ran for re-election and defeated Republican challenger John Cosgrove, earning fifty-five percent of the vote and serving until 2004. Ward was Chesapeake’s longest serving mayor.

Ward was appointed to the Board of Visitors at Virginia State University in 2003 by Governor Mark Warner and in 2008 became a board member of the university. In addition, he served as the Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Partnership, Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, and Southeastern Public Service Authority. Additional past professional affiliations include the Virginia Society for History Teachers, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, the Southern Historical Association, the American Historical Association and the Virginia Social Sciences Association. Ward also served as the chairman of the Chesapeake Hurricane Katrina Relief Task Force.

Ward lived in Virginia and was married to Rose M. Ward. He was also the father of son, Michael, and daughter, Michelle.

Ward passed away on July 10, 2018.

William Ward was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 12, 2010.

See how The Honorable William E. Ward is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable William E. Ward's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable William E. Ward lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes how he lost his eye as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about the Bluestone Harmony Academic and Industrial School in Keysville, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable William E. Ward remembers the notable African American athletes of his youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable William E. Ward recalls listening to the radio as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable William E. Ward remembers listening to the party line in Keysville, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his experiences at the Bluestone Harmony Academic and Industrial School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes the all-black public school in Lunenburg County, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable William E. Ward recalls his classes at Central High School in Charlotte Court House, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable William E. Ward remembers his elementary and high school teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about the lack of black press in Keysville, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his decision to attend Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable William E. Ward recalls his experiences at Virginia State College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about the history of Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about the civil rights activities in Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable William E. Ward remembers the visiting speakers at Virginia State College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about his early work experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his early civil rights involvement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable William E. Ward recalls the civil rights activities at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable William E. Ward remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his role as campaign manager for two minority Chesapeake City Council candidates
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his summer abroad at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable William E. Ward remembers studying at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable William E. Ward recalls his congressional campaign in 1972
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable William E. Ward remembers serving as a delegate at the 1976 Democratic National Convention
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about his campaign for the Chesapeake City Council
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes how he became mayor of Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about politics in the State of Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his tenure as mayor of Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable William E. Ward recalls the racial issues he handled while mayor of Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about his mayoral and city council campaigns
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes how he juggled his two careers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about his family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his organizational involvement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable William E. Ward reflects upon his tenure as mayor of Chesapeake, Virginia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable William E. Ward reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable William E. Ward recalls his conflict with Congressman Tom DeLay
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable William E. Ward talks about the trial of Lee Boyd Malvo
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable William E. Ward reflects upon his tenure as mayor of Chesapeake, Virginia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable William E. Ward describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable William E. Ward narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable William E. Ward narrates his photographs, pt. 2