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Kenneth ClarkKenneth Clark
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Sometimes I've wished that I would have been able to, but I think I knew myself well enough to know that I was really going to be a social busybody kind of psychologist. And when I was at Columbia, this posed a very important strategic problem for me, of how to get the Columbia PhD without alienating my professors who had the power to give and --or withhold it, when even as a student as brash as I was, I knew damned well that the pure scholarly part of me had to be the one that was projected, when I was a graduate student at Columbia; and that if I had taken too overt and obvious a stance of my concern with problems of social justice, that this would have been a liability, in terms of my professors' response to me.

And I knew this in 1938, ‘39, ‘40, when I was at Columbia. I knew it. And even the professors with whom I felt closest, such as Gardner Murphy and Otto Kleinberg. It seemed to me that it would be the better part of wisdom not to present them with the need to defend the first black who was moving toward a PhD in the department, who would add to that problem the fact that he was a maverick.

Incidentally, I was aware of this, and acted pretty much accordingly, as much as I could. Apparently I wasn't truly successful, because I remember once, in one of the seminars in social psychology, -- I don't remember what I said, but whatever it was, it stimulated my friend and professor Gardner Murphy to say to me, “Kenneth, the problem with you is, you're too moralistic.”

I knew damn well that if Gardner Murphy could say that,

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