I was born in Niagara Falls, New York, but at about the age of five my parents moved to Buffalo about twenty miles away.
My primary and secondary education took place in overcrowded ghetto
schools where students were not prepared for nor encouraged to enter college.
Consequently, I was unacceptable to all accredited colleges to which I
applied on graduation from high school. As a freshman in high school, sciencewas
my favorite subject but, I was encouraged by my advisor to become a clerk
because I was a girl, and probably because I was a Black girl. I entered
a non-accredited junior college in order to prove my competence in college
work. After graduation from this school I moved to Toronto, Canada where
I worked at the York University Bookstore for one year saving money in
order to return to school. In 1967 I was admitted to the SUNY at Buffalo
night achool on a provisionary basis. Despite many barriers, and despite
the necessity for working part time throughout myeducation, I was choosen
for the Dean's list every semester of my college career and graduated in
1970 with a BA degree in Anthropology, Phi Beta Kappa. I am not resentful
of my past, the people I had to deal with whose energy were not in my interest.
I am rather, a part of a struggle for change, and that implies I have not
lost faith in mankind. I simply say No to the mainstream of society around
me and Yes to a vision of what I think life could be.
In the fall of 1970 I began graduate work at the University of Washington, Seattle, where I have narrowed my studies to Biological Anthropology. I could not see that cultural Anthropologist has been useful and I would like to be. I see more potential in Human Biology.
More personally, my struggle is for an alternative to traditional education, to the traditional university system, to the traditional ":American way of life." I am particularly frightened of what traditional universities, most institutionally racist are doing with "their minorities" .The mass recruitment of minority students to universities with no one there to help and understand their needs, the creating of antagonisms among minorities for the distribution~of""specia.l'scholarships", the placing of a few minorities in titled positions with little authority I see as "trinket offerings" to become a part of the existing system. I am frightened of it because of its power to perpetuate the same old values~ of racism, and anti.working class
ideas and feelings. I am sorry I have to use the same old language, and words which have nearly lost their meanings.
I have come to Evergreen because it appeared to be attempting an alternative way of life and learning. Its structure gives it a flexibility that most traditional universities do not have. I am happy and optimistic about being here. I only hope that students and faculty are allowed to maintain this flexibility.
Changing cultural values is a different task. It requires a great deal of consideration and understanding. I have a lot of energy.