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first year at Columbia, Professor Woodworth -- and I think maybe
to some extent even my close friend and major professor, Otto
Kleinberg and Gardner Murphy, were somewhat surprised that Professor
Sumner taught me so my psychology that I could take the exams without
any special set of considerations being given to me -- which is one
of the things that's bothering the hell out of me now, in terms of
When I took the qualifying exam, Professor Woodworth called
me in to his office, and was telling me, you know, how well I did,
that mine was the best paper.
I guess I should have been flattered by his attention.
Professor Woodworth was certainly the most distinguished psychologist
at that time. And he asked me a number of questions, you know, about
Sumner, and wanted to know, how did I do so well? etc.
All the time he was talking to me, I was laughing inside.
A bitter kind of laugh. Obviously, it was a new experience for him,
you know, when a black could take a qualifying PhD exam at Columbia
and come up ahead of everyone else taking that exam.
Damn, it wasn't any new experience to me! You know, it
really wasn't. The exam wasn't hard. I mean, it was the kind of exam
that Sumner would have given us in our master's period.
I have to be very blunt -- no one of the professors that
I had at Columbia was ever as challenging as Sumner was. Not a
single one of them was.
Incidentally, what were his sub-specialties within psychology?
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