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going there to be happy, I'm going there to learn.”
I've never let them forget it. When Jim Perkins was
president of Cornell, he invited me up to the colloquium, and I
have a tremendous amount of respect for Jim. We were on the State
Department Committee together, and I liked him and I think he liked me.
But I never told him that story, until the colloquium,
and it came my time for a presentation. I started out by saying that
I'm very happy to be here, because in 1937, I applied to this august
I'm nasty, I guess. I'm mean. I said, (quotes,
“jokingly,”) that solicitousness for my happiness prevented my admission,
and then I told the story.
Well, Jim was terribly upset.
I don't want anybody to be concerned about my happiness. I'll
take care of that, you know. But it was no major tragedy, because really
I did want to study with Kleinberg and Murpy. To me, they were the
outstanding social psychologists of the period.
Was this, then, the time that you veered with more emphasis on
Oh yes. Oh yes. This was the time when, you know, in spite of
the fact that my love was neurophysiological psychology, and I would
have loved to have concentrated on that, I was black, and it would
have seemed to me to have been a cop-out. I couldn't do it. I could
not afford the luxury of being a “scientific” psychologist-- that is,
a white coat psychologist. And furthermore, Mamie's master's thesis
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