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at City College, because I knew damn well that unless they lied,
they could never tie me in to Communism.
Even when I was at Columbia, and left wing or Communist
fellow students, again, condescendingly approached me as if because
they were approaching me, and because I was the only black, studying
for the PhD, that I should be so grateful as to join their groups.
I just said, “Go to hell.” You know, “Leave me alone.”
I didn't want any more solicitousness from them than I wanted from
anybody else. The result was, I never joined a damned thing. And
I guess, --
Did you ever go to any of their formal meetings?
Hell, no. I wanted them to leave me alone. You know,
they'd come to me in the library, and --
What am I telling you about myself? I didn't want anybody
to do me any damned favors. It was just that simple.
It's a peculiar thing about being a black, -- black
intellectual, I guess, or a black in my field. Very soon after
one moves out of the protective environment of, say, Howard
University --and I guess it is a selective thing, because few of us
do move into the larger competitive arena -- very soon after you do
this, you become aware of peculiar and special kinds of reactions to
Let me see if I can classify them. There is the, “Oh,
I'm so glad you're here,” reaction -- you know. This generally
comes from liberals who are surprised, in a way. For example, my
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