Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mandela and Harvard

That is the title of my opinion piece published in the Crimson today. It's about both.


  1. Hello, Professor Lewis,
    Your article about Mandela and Harvard is so poignantly interesting. I will print it and show it to my husband. Your article speaks of the racial issues that have been so much part of my husband's family. He and his father attended Harvard in the late 1920's and early 1960's, respectively (also did his daughter more recently) and were considered black men (although interestingly neither of them considered themselves of that race). My husband has always been curious as to the reason Harvard considers him a black man (my husband looks white and it was not until a few years ago he found out his grandparents were indeed African-American!). I say Harvard considers him black because we receive mail from Harvard that we interpret as interesting to someone who is African-American. Thank you,

    1. Wow! Are you saying that Harvard considered him black before he realized he had African-American ancestors??

      It is possible you are over-interpreting the alumni mailings. I seem to be getting 2 a day from the Hutchins (nee Dubois) Center and I don't know why.

      I had to trim my piece to fit the Crimson's word limit, but the story of the black lacrosse player from 1941 is stunning. His name was Lucien Alexis, and he was an Exeter graduate--and his father (also black) was also a graduate of Exeter and Harvard!

  2. He came to visit the week after I joined the University Choir, and singing there and shaking his hand is one of my fondest memories of my time at Harvard. Thanks for this.