News from EPI The Economic Policy Institute mourns the passing of AFL-CIO chief economist and Howard University professor William Spriggs

The Economic Policy Institute mourns the loss of William Spriggs, AFL-CIO chief economist and professor in the Department of Economics at Howard University, as well as former EPI economist. Spriggs was a fierce proponent of racial and economic justice whose influence as a public intellectual and economist reached across academia, labor, think tanks, positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations, and the civil rights community. In addition to broadening discussions about race and economics within these critical institutions, Dr. Spriggs worked tirelessly behind the scenes to expand representation of people of color within the economics profession and mentor the next generation of economists, including Valerie Wilson—EPI’s director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy.

“There is no exaggeration in saying that I owe my career as an economist to my friend and mentor, Bill Spriggs,” said Wilson. “Not only did he convince me to finish graduate school, but when Bill hired me for my first job as a research analyst at the National Urban League, he would often tell me that I was his retirement policy. Bill gave meaning to those words by selflessly giving his time, incredible intellect, wisdom, and personal connections while advocating for me on numerous occasions. I learned so much of what I know about economics and economic policy from Bill Spriggs, but more than that, I learned to lead with principles and purpose. I am deeply saddened by his loss, and I hope to do justice to his remarkable legacy as an unapologetic advocate for racial and economic justice.”