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Eddie Williams

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Information about Eddie Williams

Profile image of Eddie Williams

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Let's put a pin in that.

Birthplace

Born:
8/18/1932
Birth Location:
Memphis, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
Let's put a pin in that.

Birthplace

Born:
8/18/1932
Birth Location:
Memphis
See how Eddie Williams is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Without ever holding public office, Eddie N. Williams worked his way into becoming an influential part of United States' governmental affairs. Born in 1932, Williams was raised solely by his mother following the death of his father, who was a jazz and blues pianist on Memphis' Beale Street. After earning his journalism degree from the University of Illinois in 1956, Williams tried to get a job at the down state Illinois paper where he had worked part time in school, but was rejected when the paper's owner refused to hire African Americans.

Williams returned to his hometown of Memphis and took a job as managing editor of the Star-Times, a new black newspaper. Williams served briefly in the Army, and later worked as a reporter in Atlanta, before receiving a Congressional fellowship to work under Senator Hubert H. Humphrey in 1960. Williams utilized his Washington connections to gain a job as a Foreign Service reserve officer with the State Department, where he worked for seven years. In 1968, Williams took a job at the University of Chicago as director of the Center for Policy Study; five months later he became vice president for public affairs at the university.

In 1972, Williams left his job at the University of Chicago to become president of the Joint Center, then a young, small, operation in downtown Washington, D.C. Under Williams's leadership, the Joint Center earned a reputation as an outstanding policy think tank. The nonpartisan Joint Center examines public policy issues affecting African Americans, and is one of the few institutions to examine African Americans as a separate entity. Because of the way it operates, the Joint Center has developed a close partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus and retains formidable policy making clout.

For his work in shaping the legislative landscape on matters of policy concerning blacks, Williams received several awards and honorary degrees. The National Journal named Williams one of the 150 outsiders who have had the greatest impact on the federal government, and in 1988 Williams was named a recipient of a prized MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. An active member of several professional and civic organizations, Williams served as vice chairman of the Black Leadership Forum. Williams and his wife, Jearline, raised three children.

Williams passed away on May 8, 2017.

See how Eddie Williams is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eddie Williams interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eddie Williams's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eddie Williams's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eddie Williams tells his father's history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eddie Williams speaks about a family first name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eddie Williams tells about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eddie Williams speaks of his early career aspriations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eddie Williams remembers his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Eddie Williams discusses the African American political climate in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eddie Williams speaks of the military
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eddie Williams tells of his first job
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eddie Williams on police brutality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eddie Williams's high school activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eddie Williams's high school mentor
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - How Eddie Williams chooses the University of Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eddie Williams talks about blacks at University of Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eddie Williams's influences at University of Ilinois, part 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Eddie Williams's influences at University of Ilinois, part 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Eddie Williams's military experience
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eddie Williams's responsibility in the military
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eddie Williams leaves the military
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eddie Williams goes to Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eddie Williams talks about Hubert Humphrey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eddie Williams describes how the African American vote became Democrat
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eddie Williams works for the U.S. Department of State
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eddie Williams leaves U.S. Department of State
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eddie Williams involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Eddie Williams works on Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Eddie Williams reflects on working in foreign affairs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eddie Williams leaves University of Chicago
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eddie Williams speaks about the Joint Center for Pollitical and Economic Studies's mission
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eddie Williams describes the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies's political database
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eddie Williams talks of how the Joint Center for Political and Economical Studies informs others
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eddie Williams speaks of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies's economic resources
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eddie Williams discusses the hopes for the black community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eddie Williams tells of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in South Africa
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eddie Williams names some politicians who impress him
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eddie Williams speaks about the District of Columbia Commission on Black Men and Boys
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eddie Williams discusses the Black Leadership Forum
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eddie Williams talks about the "crisis in black leadership"
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eddie Williams talks about school vouchers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eddie Williams speaks of the relationship between the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the black press
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Eddie Williams discusses his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - How Eddie Williams would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Photo - Eddie Williams, Vernon Jordan and Louis Martin, 1990s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Photo - Eddie Williams and Wendell G. Freeland
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Photo - Eddie Williams, Susan Taylor, Michael L. Lomax and Cicely Tyson, 2002
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Photo - Eddie Williams, C. Payne Lucas and Al Gore, 1997-2001
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Photo - Eddie Williams, early 1990s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Photo - Eddie Williams, George Bush and Don Kendall, 1990s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Photo - Eddie Williams on the set of the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, 1992
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - Eddie Williams and 'Turk' Thompson
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Eddie Williams, Bill Clinton, Vernon Jordan and Andrew Brimmer, mid-1990s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - Eddie Williams and Hubert Humphrey
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Eddie Williams and Colin Powell
  • Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Eddie Williams and Barbara Jordan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - Eddie Williams, Roy Wilkins and Clarence Mitchell, 1972
  • Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - Eddie Williams
  • Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - Eddie Williams in his office
  • Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - Eddie Williams, Kofi Annan and Al Gore
  • Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - Eddie Williams and Hillary Rodham Clinton