The Old Republic

Some More Memories

One of my history department chairmen had the habit of hiring at whim as instructors various unqualified people, lacking appropriate degrees and without the vetting that was usually done.  A new, more professional chairman decided, rightly, to get rid of them.  One was a radical African-American preacher, notorious for complaints and a cavalier attitude toward duties.  A discrimination complaint was duly filed.  Two African-American lawyers from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice showed up.  I was chairman that year of the tenure and promotion committee, and I was called in along with the chairman to be interrogated.  The two federal representatives wore very expensive suits and watches.  You had the impression they flew first class and stayed in the best hotels.  They were very polite as we humbly explained the problems with the complainant and apologized that our strenuous efforts to hire African-American faculty were usually defeated by the raids of wealthier institutions.  After a half-hour’s leisurely inspection they left, and nothing was ever heard from them again.

The business of African-American faculty and students taught me a lot about liberalism.  I always advocated that African-Americans who had teaching positions in the state and who applied for advanced graduate study be admitted. ...

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