The works and authors I have in mind include, but are not limited to,the following: from classical antiquity -- Homer, Sophocles, Thucydides,Plato, Aristotle, and Virgil; from medieval, Renaissance, and 17th-centuryEurope -- Dante, Chaucer, Machiavelli, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Hobbes,Milton, and Locke; from 18th- through 20th-century Europe -- Swift, Rousseau,Austin, Wordsworth, Tocqueville, Dickens, Marx, George Eliot, Dostoyevsky,Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Mann, T. S. Eliot; from American literature and historicaldocuments -- the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, theConstitution, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Lincoln's Gettysburg Addressand Second Inaugural Address, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a BirminghamJail" and "I have a dream..." speech, and such authors as Hawthorne, Melville,Twain, and Faulkner. Finally, I must mention the Bible, which is the basisfor so much subsequent history, literature, and philosophy. At a collegeor university, what weight is given to which authors must of course dependon faculty competence and interest. But, should not every humanities facultypossess some members qualified to teach at least something of these authors?
Doctorow, Rita Dove, James Tate, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Wilbur, and Donald Hall has appeared alongside that of emerging artists such as Christopher Coake, Holly Goddard Jones, Kyle Minor, Ginger Strand, and Charles Yu, whose short-story collection, was selected recently by Richard Powers as one of the National Book Foundation’s “Five Under 35.”More than one-hundred short stories, poems, and essays first published in The Gettysburg Review have been reprinted in the various prize anthologies—, , , and as well as
My story begins on August 7, 1928, in the segregated Deep South.
I always dreamed of becoming a doctor, even though this was nearly impossible for Blacks. My grandfather encouraged me to follow my dream. Along my journey, I would battle Jim Crow.
I grew up in my family's small rural community, Madison Park, outside Montgomery, Alabama. I vividly remember hooded KKK members crowded into cars driving through and yelling racial slurs while gunshots pierced the night air. I will never forget the look of hate.
Undaunted, I graduated from Alabama State Teacher's College and earned a Master's from Columbia University. I did not want to teach, and enlisted in the Air Force. Being Black, I could not enter as an officer or become a supervisor. Assigned to be a cook, I worked under a supervisor who had finished high school. I decided then I would strive to help all people as a doctor.
But first, I had to gain the right to vote.
Before the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Black people had to pay a $3 poll tax and pass a test to vote. The first time I went to vote, a White registrar told me my test was to recite the Constitution. I began: "Four score and seven years ago… all men are created equal." The registrar was impressed. I got to vote because of the Gettysburg Address!
I graduated from Meharry Medical School and was Montgomery's first Black board-certified surgeon. My career spanned 50 years. The sole surviving doctor who treated the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery marchers, I have witnessed Jim Crow's defeat and the election of the first Black President.
There is still much work to gain equal rights for all people. I did my part. Will you?