Karen Hastie Williams

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Karen Hastie Williams
Williams and Charles Prince of Wales 2005
Karen Hastie

(1944-09-30)September 30, 1944
DiedJuly 7, 2021(2021-07-07) (aged 76)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Alma materBates College
Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Catholic University of America
SpouseWesley S. Williams, Jr.
ParentWilliam H. Hastie

Karen Hastie Williams (September 30, 1944 – July 7, 2021) was an American lawyer and company director.

Early life[edit]

Hastie Williams was born on September 30, 1944, in Washington, D.C.[1][2] Her father, William H. Hastie, was the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands from 1946 to 1949.[2][3]

Hastie Williams graduated from Bates College in 1966, where she earned a bachelor's degree. She earned a master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1967, and a JD from the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law in 1973.[1]


Williams clerked for Spottswood William Robinson III in 1973–1974, and for Thurgood Marshall in 1974–1975.[1] She was the first African American woman to serve as a Supreme Court law clerk. She worked for Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Kampelman,[1] and was the first woman and person of colour to become a partner at Crowell & Moring.[3][4]

Hastie Williams was chief counsel of the United States Senate Committee on the Budget from 1977 to 1980, and administrator for Federal Procurement Policy in the United States Office of Management and Budget from 1980 to 1981, under President Jimmy Carter.[1][5] She served on the Internal Revenue Service Oversight Board from 2000 to 2003, under President George W. Bush.[2] In the 1980's, Williams helped victims of terrorism to sue countries which sponsored terrorist groups. She is credited with assisting the American journalist Terry Anderson to achieve compensation from the Iranian government, after he was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon, and held for over four years by Hezbollah militants.[4]

Hastie Williams was on the board of directors of Chubb Limited from 2000 to 2010, and SunTrust Banks from 2002 to 2011.[5] She was also on the boards of Crestar Bank and the Gannett Company.[5]


Karen Hastie Williams and Charles, Prince of Wales, at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 4 November 2005

In 2005, Hastie Williams became the first chair of the Folger Shakespeare Library's newly independent board of governors.[6] She also served on the board of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and was involved with the Black Student Fund in Washington DC.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Hastie Williams was married to Wesley S. Williams Jr., a lawyer and priest.[3][7] They had three children.[8]

She died on July 7, 2021, at age 76 from Alzheimer's disease.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Office of Management and Budget Nomination of Karen Hastie Williams To Be Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy". The American Presidency Project. University of California, Santa Barbara. February 22, 1980. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Karen Hastie Williams". The History Makers. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "WEDDINGS; Amanda Williams, DeAndre Calhoun". The New York Times. August 20, 2000. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Karen Hastie Williams, Barrier-Breaking Lawyer, Dies at 76". The New York Times. 8 August 2021. Retrieved 2022-01-28.
  5. ^ a b c "Company Overview of Amherst College: Karen Hastie Williams Esq". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  6. ^ Grant, Stephen H. (2014). Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 201–202. ISBN 9781421411873.
  7. ^ Trescott, Jacqueline (January 6, 1985). "So Close Yet So Far". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  8. ^ "WEDDINGS; Amanda Williams, DeAndre Calhoun". The New York Times. 20 August 2000. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  9. ^ Inglima, Philip T. (22 July 2021). "In Memoriam: Honoring Our Former Partner and Friend, Karen Hastie Williams". Crowell & Moring. Retrieved 24 July 2021.