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Jennifer Vaughn

author, educator, and economist, was born Walter Edward Williams in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father and namesake was a latherer, someone who prepared foundations for the plasterer during the construction of plaster houses; he divorced Williams's mother, Catherine (Morgan) Williams, when Williams was a young child. Williams's mother was left to raise him and his younger sister alone in the Richard Allen housing projects, a predominantly low-income black neighborhood in North Philadelphia, until her marriage later to Thomas Burchett.

In his teens Williams held a number of low-wage jobs to help support his family while attending Benjamin Franklin High School from 1950 to 1954. Despite being economically one of the lowest-ranking schools in Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin provided Williams with a solid learning experience including no nonsense teachers and a first class curriculum Being black was not an excuse to do poorly in school Williams had ...