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Walter Lee Williams

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Walter Lee Williams (born November 3, 1948) is a former professor of anthropology, history, and gender studies at the University of Southern California. He is one of the pioneers in the field of Queer studies, with a long background in human rights activism.[1][2] In 2013, after his retirement, he was arrested and imprisoned for five years on the charge of "illicit conduct in foreign places."[3][4]

Early life

As a teenager in Atlanta in the 1960s, Williams was inspired by Martin Luther King to get involved in the civil rights movement. In 1978 he became a gay rights activist, protesting against Anita Bryant’s Save Our Children campaign.[1]

Williams earned an undergraduate degree in History and Anthropology from Georgia State University in 1970, and continued to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned a Master's in History in 1972, and a Ph.D. in History and Anthropology, in 1974.[5] His doctoral thesis was Black American Attitudes Toward Africa: The Missionary Movement, 1877—1900, and would form the basis of his first book.[6]

Career

In 1979, while Williams was an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, he and Gregory Sprague founded the Committee on Lesbian and Gay History, an affiliate of the American Historical Association.[7]

In his fourth book, The Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture, in 1986, Williams came out as gay.[8] This book was the first complete study of the berdache, androgynous and gender-variant people among the American Indians.[9] The book won the 1987 Gay Book of the Year Award from the American Library Association,[10] the 1986 Ruth Benedict Award from the Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists,[11] and the Award for Outstanding Scholarship from the American Foundation for Gender and Genital Medicine and Science presented at the 1987 World Congress for Sexology.[12]

From July 1987-July 1988 Williams was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to lecture in American History at Gadjah Mada University, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.[13] While there, Williams collected autobiographical interviews, 27 of which were published as Javanese Lives: Women and Men in Modern Indonesian Society in 1991.[14]

He has published ten books and taught American Indian Studies.[15][16] He has also been recognized for his work with the gay and lesbian community.[16] An ethnographer, Williams has also traveled throughout North America from Alaska to Yucatan to study Native American tribes. His other areas of expertise include cultures of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, based on his years of field research in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, the Philippines and Polynesia."

In 1994-1995, Williams, with Jim Kepner, oversaw the merger of the International Gay and Lesbian Archives and the ONE, Inc. library holdings to form the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC, the largest repository of LGBT materials in the world.[17][18]

On March 24, 2006, Williams was awarded the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award from Morehouse College, for his work during the civil rights and peace movements and in support of LGBT rights.[19][20]

Williams taught anthropology, gender studies and history at the University of Southern California until his retirement in 2011. He lived in Mexico on a retirement visa from 2011 to 2013, where he continued his earlier research among the Mayan Indians.[21]

Criminal conviction

Walter Lee Williams
FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive
Charges Sexual Exploitation of Children and related crimes
Reward $100,000
Description
Born (1948-11-03) November 3, 1948 (age 68)
Nationality American
Race White
Gender Male
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 13 st)
Status
Added June 17, 2013
Caught June 18, 2013
Number 500
Captured

On April 30, 2013, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Williams in the United States District Court for the Central District of California for sexual exploitation of children, travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. Williams was accused of engaging in sexual acts with teenage boys in the Philippines via webcam.[22]

On June 17, 2013, he was placed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. Williams was the 500th addition to the list.[23][24] He was arrested in Mexico one day after he was put on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list[25] and was extradited to Los Angeles, California. The FBI, with reasonable suspicion, searched Williams's computer, finding unclothed photographs of teenage boys.[22] In 2014, he pleaded guilty to illicit sexual contact with boys aged 14 to 16 in the Philippines[21] and was sentenced to five years in prison.[26]

Bibliography

Books

Author

Editor

Selected magazine articles

References

  1. ^ a b "Walter L. Williams". Teach-in for Equality. 2006–2007. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "FBI 'Most Wanted' Professor Walter Lee Williams Arrested in Mexico". June 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  3. ^ . 2013 https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/walter-lee-williams/. Retrieved 4 February 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ . June 2013 http://ktla.com/2013/06/20/fmr-usc-professor-added-to-fbis-most-wanted-list/#axzz2sMUc9gk0/. Retrieved 4 February 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "USC College: Faculty: Department of Anthropology: Walter Williams". University of Southern California. Archived from the original on 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  6. ^ Park, Eunjin (2001). "White" Americans in "Black" Africa: Black and White American Methodist Missionaries in Liberia, 1820-1875. Psychology Press. p. xxiii. ISBN 0815340273. 
  7. ^ Stewart, Chuck (2014-12-16). Proud Heritage: People, Issues, and Documents of the LGBT Experience. ABC-CLIO. pp. 128–. ISBN 9781610693998. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  8. ^ Monnig Atkinson, Jane (December 14, 1986). "The Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture by Walter L. Williams". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Summary/Reviews: The spirit and the flesh :". Booklist. American Library Association. Retrieved 3 March 2016. , quoted with permission by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.
  10. ^ "Stonewall Book Awards List : Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT)". Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "Winners of the Ruth Benedict Prize «  AQA". Association for Queer Anthropology. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  12. ^ Money, John. "Winners of the AFGAGMAS Book Award 1999". Kinsey Institute. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  13. ^ Council for International Exchange of Scholars. "Directory of American Fulbright Scholars, 1987-88" (PDF). University of Arkansas. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Javanese Lives: Women and Men in Modern Indonesian Society". Library Journal. BookVerdict. August 1, 1991. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  15. ^ http://www.worldpolicy.newschool.edu/wpi/globalrights/sexorient/williams.html/. Retrieved 4 February 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ a b "Most Wanted Perv Prof Caught in Mexico: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know". June 19, 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  17. ^ Boxall, Bettina (January 20, 1995). "Major Gay Archives Find a Home at USC : History: Two merged collections have 2 million items. The arrangement shows academia's growing acceptance of gay studies.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  18. ^ Gallagher, John (June 19, 2001). "History Under One Roof: The One Institute and Archives is the largest gay and lesbian collection in the world". The Advocate. pp. 53–55. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  19. ^ "Family Matters". USC News. University of Southern California. April 17, 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  20. ^ "Member's Recognition" (PDF). CLGH Newsletter, Volume 20, issue 2. Fall 2006. p. 6. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  21. ^ a b Winton, Richard; Mather, Kate (September 5, 2014). "Ex-USC professor pleads guilty to sexually assaulting boys overseas - LA Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 March 2016.  (Archive)
  22. ^ a b ABC News. "FBI 'Most Wanted' Professor Walter Lee Williams Being Deported From Mexico". ABC News. 
  23. ^ "WALTER LEE WILLIAMS". FBI.gov. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  24. ^ "Walter Lee Williams, former USC professor, is 500th person to be added to FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list". CBS News. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  25. ^ "Ex-USC Professor Added to Most Wanted List Arrested in Mexica". KTLA TV. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  26. ^ Los Angeles Times (15 December 2014). "Ex-USC professor and FBI fugitive gets 5 years in prison for child sex". latimes.com.