As Ronald W. Walters was intertwined with the history of civil rights, he was intertwined with Wichita and its civil rights progress — even after he left the city and became a prestigious author, commentator and professor, most recently at the University of Maryland.
Having organized the local NAACP youth chapter's successful 1958 sit-in at the segregated lunch counter at a local Dockum Drugs as a Wichita University freshman, and otherwise lived through the realities of racism in Wichita, Dr. Walters had the life experience and moral authority to become a blunt voice of reason on the civil rights issues of our times. It's heartening that in 2006 he finally saw the national NAACP recognize the Wichita sit-in as the historic event it was and, two years later, was properly honored by his hometown.
In the wake of his death Friday, at age 72, Dr. Walters' perspective and leadership will be deeply missed. Fortunately for his nation and hometown, his life story and writings can continue to inspire others.