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Juan Williams

Juan Williams
Williams at the 2011 Texas Book Festival.
Born (1954-04-10) April 10, 1954
Colón, Panama
Education Haverford College
Occupation Author, journalist
Notable credit(s)

CNN Crossfire
Fox News Sunday
National Public Radio
Fox News The Five
Fox News Special Report with Bret Baier

The O'Reilly Factor

Juan Antonio Williams[1] (born April 10, 1954) is a Panamanian-born American journalist and political analyst for Fox News Channel. He also writes for several newspapers including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal and has been published in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly and Time. He was a senior news analyst for National Public Radio (NPR) from 1999 until October 2010. At The Washington Post for 23 years, Williams has worked as an editorial writer, op-ed columnist, White House correspondent and national correspondent. He is a "registered Democrat".[2]

Williams is the author of Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 (1987),[3] a companion to the documentary series of the same name about the African-American Civil Rights Movement; Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary (2000), a biography of Thurgood Marshall, the first black American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States; and Enough (2006), which was inspired by Bill Cosby's speech at the NAACP gala, and deals with Williams' critique of black leaders in America, and as he puts it, the "culture of failure."[4] Williams has received an Emmy Award and critical praise for his television documentary work and he has won several awards for investigative journalism and his opinion columns.


  • Early years 1
  • Career 2
    • Washington Post 2.1
    • National Public Radio 2.2
    • Fox News Channel 2.3
    • Television 2.4
  • Personal life 3
  • Awards 4
  • Selected bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early years

Williams was born in Colón, Panama to parents Akin Jules William and Sharon Williams, who were both Panamanian. Juan graduated in 1972 from Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, New York where he became clerk of the student body, editor of the student paper and was captain of the baseball, cross-country and championship basketball team. He attended Haverford College, from which he graduated with a baccalaureate in philosophy in 1976.[5]


Washington Post

Some days after Williams wrote a column defending Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas against sworn testimony by Anita Hill charging sexual harassment by Thomas, it was revealed that several female employees of the Post had filed sexual harassment charges against Williams.[6] The paper took disciplinary action against Williams and published an apology by him.[7] On November 2, 1991, Williams wrote: "It pained me to learn during the investigation that I had offended some of you. I have said so repeatedly in the last few weeks, and repeat here: some of my verbal conduct was wrong, I now know that, and I extend my sincerest apology to those whom I offended."[8]

National Public Radio

Williams joined NPR in 2000 as host of the daily afternoon talk show Talk of the Nation.[5] He then served as senior national correspondent for NPR.[9] NPR's President and CEO Vivian Schiller requested that Fox stop identifying him as an NPR host in 2009 after Williams made the following comment on January 26, 2009, to Bill O'Reilly and Mary Katharine Ham, while appearing on Fox News' O'Reilly Factor: "Michelle Obama, you know, she's got this Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going. If she starts talking...her instinct is to start with this blame America, you know, I'm the victim. If that stuff starts coming out, people will go bananas and she'll go from being the new Jackie O to being something of an albatross".[10] NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard maintained that: "Williams tends to speak one way on NPR and another on Fox."[10]

NPR terminated his contract on Wednesday, October 20, 2010, two days after he made remarks on The O'Reilly Factor.[11] He had commented, "Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."[12] According to NPR, the remarks were "inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR." As to the reason for the termination of Williams' contract, NPR's President and CEO Vivian Schiller offered the following comment: "News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts..."[13] On October 21, 2010, Schiller told an audience at the Atlanta Press Club that Williams' feelings about Muslims should be between him and "his psychiatrist or his publicist—take your pick."[14] Schiller later apologized stating, "I spoke hastily and I apologize to Juan and others for my thoughtless remark."[15]

Some observers have questioned whether NPR actually fired Williams for making the comments on Fox News, as opposed to making them in another forum.[16] William Saletan of compared the Williams situation to that of Shirley Sherrod, saying that both Sherrod and Williams had their words taken out of context in a way that made them appear racist and led to the loss of their jobs, except that Williams was victimized by liberals, rather than conservatives as in Sherrod's case.[17] Saletan said that while Williams' confessed fears of Muslims were "unsettling", the context was Williams' argument that such fears should not be used to curtail the rights of Muslims or anyone else, and that Williams consistently argued that Muslims in general should not be blamed for the terrorist activities of Muslim extremists.[17] NPR has been criticized by Williams and others for practicing a double standard in the firing, compared to their not firing Cokie Roberts, Nina Totenberg and other NPR reporters and analysts for their opinionated statements.[18][19]

Fox News Channel

He has been a Fox News Contributor since 1997.[16] He has appeared on Special Report with Bret Baier, FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace and regularly co-hosts The Five. He also regularly appears on The O'Reilly Factor and has served as a guest host in O'Reilly's absence.[20] After NPR announced his termination from their network in October 2010, Fox News offered him a new $2 million (a "considerable" raise[21]) three-year contract and an expanded role at their network that includes a regular guest-host role Friday nights on The O'Reilly Factor.[22]

Following his firing from NPR, Williams appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and discussed his thoughts on how his role at Fox played into NPR's decision: "I don't fit in their box. I'm not predictable black liberal. You [O'Reilly] were exactly right when you said you know what this comes down to. They were looking for a reason to get rid of me because I'm appearing on Fox News. They don't want me talking to you."[22]


Williams is the recipient of an Emmy Award for his work in television documentary writing and has earned critical praise for a series of television documentaries including Politics: The New Black Power, A. Philip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom, Civil Rights and The Press, Riot to Recovery and Dying for Healthcare.[20]

Williams' 1988 book, Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954–65, was written with the Blackside production team[23] as a companion to the first season of the PBS series Eyes on the Prize. His 2003 book, This Far by Faith, is also a companion to a PBS series.[24]

Williams is a contributor to a number of national magazines, including Fortune, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, Ebony magazine, TIME and GQ and frequents a wide range of television programs including ABC's Nightline, Washington Week on PBS, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.[20]

Williams has spoken at the Smithsonian's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ended legal segregation in public schools, and was selected by the United States Census Bureau as moderator of its first program beginning its 2010 effort. He has received honorary doctorates from Lafayette College, Wittenberg University, and Long Island University, among other institutions.[25][26][27]

Personal life

Williams married Susan Delise in July, 1978. They are the parents of one daughter, Rae, and two sons, Antonio ("Tony") and Raphael ("Raffi").[28] Tony, who was a Senate page and intern for GOP Senator Strom Thurmond from 1996 to 1997, was a speechwriter and legislative correspondent for Republican Senator Norm Coleman from 2004 to 2006; in 2006, Tony ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Council of the District of Columbia, losing to Tommy Wells. The younger son, Raffi, studied anthropology and played lacrosse at Haverford College, his father's alma mater in Pennsylvania. He has worked for The House Committee on Rules and was the Communications Director for Benishek for Congress.[29] Raffi is a deputy press secretary for the Republican National Committee.[30]

Williams is the grandfather of twin girls, Pepper and Wesley.[31]

Juan Williams has been active on the Haverford College Board of Managers, in the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, in the Washington Journalism Center, and sits on the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Rights Coalition.[5]


Williams has received many awards, including honorary doctorates from Haverford College and State University of New York.[32]

  • Front Page Award, Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild (1979)
  • Education Writers of America (1979)
  • Columnist of the Year, Washingtonian (1982)
  • Emmy Award (1989)
  • Outstanding Memorial Book, Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in the United States
  • Best National Book, Time
  • Political commentary award, American Association of University Women

Selected bibliography

  • Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965. Penguin (Non-Classics). 1988.  
  • Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary. Three Rivers Press. 2000.  
  • This Far by Faith: Stories from the African American Religious Experience. Harper Paperbacks. 2003.  
  • I'll Find a Way or Make One : A Tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. HarperCollins. 2004.  
  • My Soul Looks Back in Wonder: Voices of the Civil Rights Experience. Sterling. 2005.  
  • Black Farmers in America. The University Press of Kentucky. 2006.  
  • Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It. Three Rivers Press. 2007.  
  • Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate. Crown Publishing Group. 2011.  


  1. ^ The Five, March 10, 2014
  2. ^ Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate Juan Williams; Random House LLC, 2012 296 pages; page 30
  3. ^ Eyes on the Prize - Penguin Group USA - Copyright © 2010.
  4. ^ Enough - Random House, Inc. - retrieved October 26, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "NPR Names Juan Williams as New Host for Talk of the Nation".  
  6. ^ John Elson; Sophfronia Scott Gregory; Elaine Shannon (October 28, 1991). "Press: When Reporters Make News".  
  7. ^ Weaver, Carolyn (September 1992). "A Secret No More". American Journalism Review. 
  8. ^ Kurtz, Howard (November 2, 1991). "Post reporter Williams apologizes for 'innappropriate' {sic} verbal conduct". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ Michael, Gretchen (2001-08-07). "Juan Williams To Become Senior Correspondent".  
  10. ^ a b "'Juan Williams, NPR, and Fox News'". NPR Ombudsman (blog). NPR. February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  11. ^ Stelter, Brian (October 21, 2010). "NPR Fires Analyst Over Comments on Muslims". The New York Times. p. B2. 
  12. ^ "NPR Ends Williams' Contract After Muslim Remarks". NPR. October 21, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  13. ^ "NPR's Firing of Juan Williams Was Poorly Handled". NPR. October 22, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  14. ^ Mark Memmot (10/21/10)[2] NPR. Retrieved 10/21/10.
  15. ^ Mark Memmott (21 October 2010). "'"NPR CEO: Williams' Views Should Stay Between Himself And 'His Psychiatrist. NPR. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Kurtz, Howard (21 October 2010). "Was Juan Williams Fired Unfairly".  
  17. ^ a b William Saletan, The left is doing to Juan Williams what the right did to Shirley Sherrod,, 21 Oct 2010. Retrieved 27 Oct 2010.
  18. ^ "Hume: Race had role in NPR firing Williams".  
  19. ^ """Juan Williams Talks Back on "O'Reilly Factor.  
  20. ^ a b c "'Juan Williams biography at'". Fox News. Retrieved 4 August 2010. 
  21. ^ Gold, Matea (21 October 2010). "In wake of NPR controversy, Fox News gives Juan Williams an expanded role".  
  22. ^ a b "Fox News Gives Juan Williams $2 Million Contract." Article at, Folkenflik, David, 22 October 2010
  23. ^ "PBS VIDEOdatabase Resource: Eyes on The Prize: Bibliography". 
  24. ^ "Official "This Far by Faith" page at". Retrieved 4 August 2010. 
  25. ^ "Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons to Speak on May 11 at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus Commencement". Long Island University. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  26. ^ "Juan Williams Speaks at 173rd Commencement" (in Lafayette College). Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  27. ^ "Wittenberg Senior Class Selects Juan Williams As 2007 Commencement Speaker". Wittenberg University. March 13, 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  28. ^ My Soul Looks Back in Wonder: Voices of the Civil Rights Experience - By Juan Williams, David Halberstam - March 2004 - acknowledgments, page xv - "special thanks to my daughter Rae son Antonio .. and my youngest son Raphael"
  29. ^ Rothstein, Betsy (April 6, 2006). "Tony Williams: young, Republican and no relation to the mayor".  
  30. ^ Williams, Juan. Williams: Say it loud: Black, GOP and proud, The Hill, November 17, 2014.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Juan Williams." Contemporary Black Biography. Vol. 80. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Gale Biography In Context.

External links

  • Juan Williams: Fox News Biography
  • A Conversation with Juan Williams — Video from
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
    • , October 11, 1998.Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary interview with Williams on Booknotes
    • interview with Williams, August 2, 2009In Depth
    • interview with Williams, July 31, 2011Q&AC-SPAN
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