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Kenneth ClarkKenneth Clark
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Session:         Page of 763

before you were offered the teaching post at Howard?

Clark:

Yes. After I became converted, by Sumner. He was my model. Mamie said, “Look, you're going to be just like Dr. Sumner.”

I said, “Never. I wish I could.” I never could be like him. I just wished that it were possible for me to be that conscientious. And whenever he said something complimentary, I always knew that I never really reached anywhere near his level of scholarship.

But he was my model, and I was ecstatic when he offered me the position in teaching, you know -- which, by the way, was his way of really preparing me for top level work at Columbia. He knew that I was going on for my PhD, but he said, “Look, take this year and teach.”

And I said, “Fine.” It gave me an opportunity to save enough money to pay Columbia.

Q:

You'd already chosen Columbia as your school?

Clark:

Yes. Oh, yes. I'd heard Otto Kleinberg talk once, and I'd read things that he had written. I said, “OK, this is where I want to go.”

Now, I applied at another place. I applied at Cornell. But my first choice was Columbia. Cornell wrote me back and said that they couldn't admit me because I was colored. And they said it, that the PhD work was very intimate and involved close not only working but social relationships with faculty and a rather small number of students, and they thought that I would be unhappy.

I read the damn letter, and I said, “Now, you know, I don't want them worrying about my happiness or unhappiness; I'm not



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