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By Matt Laslo
Family, friends and political leaders gathered to pay their respects to the late Ronald E. Walters at the Shiloh Baptist Church in North West.
Even amid the sorrow speakers recounted with joy the lasting impact of professor Walters.
In the 1950s the Wichita, Kansas native held what many civil rights leaders call the first lunch counter sit-in -- protesting a drugstore's "whites only" policy.
Walters went on to author thirteen books while also teaching at Howard University and the University of Maryland.
"He was like a giant among giants at Howard," said Lila Ammons, a professor of Afro-American studies at Howard. "He was like one of what I call the trailblazers on the campus. I came there as a young scholar and I was inspired to do some of the things he was involved in."
Walters also mentored countless African American leaders.
His 1983 book "Black Presidential Politics in America" spurred the presidential campaign of Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Congressman John Conyers - a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus - says Walters' passion for civil rights was evident.
"He was an intellectual and an activist combined," Conyers said.
The seventy two year old Walters is survived by his wife Patricia.