55th Reunion May 13-14, 2022
Our 55th Reunion will be held at the Harvard Club of Boston on May 13th and 14th. By now you should have received an email from Gene Skowronski and Linda Dewing with full details. You can see the schedule for the reunion and information about accommodations on the Class Website, hr65.org. If you log into the site, you can also see a list of the classmates who have already registered. There is an online version of Linda and Gene’s letter here. The button below will take you to the HAA’s registration page.
Optional Reunion Visits to Museums and Libraries, Friday, May 13th
HARVARD ART MUSEUMS
We have arranged a group visit to the Harvard Art Museums (housed in the expanded Fogg) starting at 2:00 pm on the afternoon of Friday the 13th. Admission fees will be waived for classmates who identify themselves as reunion attendees. (Note that the museums require visitors to present proof of vaccination and wear masks.) The maximum number for the group visit is 45. If one or two student guides are available, which at this point seems likely, subgroups of 15–17 each will be able to enjoy an approximately 40-minute guided tour in conjunction with the group visit. We need to confirm numbers (total and tours) with the museums by April 12. If you're going on a tour, you should plan to arrive by 2:00, but if not you can arrive at your convenience, then or later and stay as long as you'd like. The museums close at 5:00 pm.
Also, we are trying to arrange a tour of Houghton Library. Stay tuned (Houghton would require proof of full vaccination AND booster for admission.)
SIGN UP INSTRUCTIONS
Would you like to join classmates and their guests at the museums? If so, while you are there, do you want to go on a guided tour? And if we're able to arrange one, would you like to go on a tour of Houghton Library? (Numbers at Houghton are likely to be more limited.) Please email Susan Milmoe but by April 12 at the latest.
It might be helpful for out-of-towners to know that the No. 1 bus (now identified as Nubian rather than Dudley) will whisk you from Harvard Square to the Harvard Club in 15–20 minutes. It runs every 8–10 minutes and costs $1.70 in bills/change. Board in back of Widener Library; get off at Marlborough Street and walk a little farther on to Commonwealth. Or, going the other way, board at either Newbury a little to the south or at Beacon a little to the north. See www.mbta.com.
The Last Negroes at Harvard
Kent Garrett ‘63
and Jeanne Ellsworth
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston
Some fifty years after he graduated Kent Garret ’63 decided to take an interest in what had become of his fellow Black classmates. He spent ten years investigating and documenting both their time at Harvard and what they did afterwards. This fascinating book is the result of that work.
The first chapter records his impressions when he first enters Harvard Yard. It is clear that he feels a good deal more awe at his surroundings than I remember. He also divides the class into black and white. The Blacks are individuals with their own stories and personalities. The whites are much more of an undifferentiated, aristocratic, privileged mass. That is the inverse of my own memory, where it was the Blacks, rather than the whites who formed an undifferentiated mass.
Garrett documents not one but two studies of the eighteen Black undergraduates in his class. One was a paper written for a course taught by David Riesman. Among Riesman’s comments on the paper Garrett reports: “to admit even to oneself a desire to be white would be a kind of betrayal, as well as giving one a sense of loss and futility.”
The other was a work by David R. Branon ’62 and turned into a thesis that helped him earn a summa cum laude degree.
In both cases Garrett finds that the papers often misunderstood the perspective of the Black students but he also found that they revealed aspects of the situation that he had not considered.
A moving passages in the book is a comparison of James Meredith’s experience on his first day at Old Miss with Garrett’s uneventful return to Eliot House. This served to underline the huge differences between Harvard and the segregationist South. Harvard may not have been perfect but it was miles ahead of Ole Miss.
A suggestion: Garrett’s book lacks an index and I often found myself at sea because I couldn’t remember exactly who a particular person was or where they came from. An index would have helped me to find the paragraph that introduced each of the protagonists. Once I reached the end of the book I realized that Garrett had included a “Gallery” with two or three page summaries of the lives of each of the Black members of the class. If only I had thought of it that would have filled the need for which I thought I required an index.
The class of ’62 had two blacks; the class of ’63 had eighteen; we had eleven. The increase was the work of John Munro, the Dean of the College. We should all be thankful to him.
Optional Reunion Bird Walk Belle Isle Marsh, Sunday, May 15th
We expect to have a bird-watching expedition on Sunday Morning. This will go to the Belle Isle Marsh in East Boston. Further details coming next month!
Optional Reunion Brunch Cruise, Sunday, May 15th
Wind up the reunion with a festive flourish! We have reserved one of the Charles Riverboat Company boats, with room for 60 people, for a two-hour cruise up and down the river starting from the Charles Riverboat dock at the CambridgeSide Mall. (See charlesriverboat.com/directions; ample parking is available for a $4.00 charge.) In addition to coffee, tea, and a full hot brunch buffet, we'll have a credit card bar. The price of the cruise per person is $75.00. This will be first come; first served. Many classmates have already booked, so act now.
Born into a World at War
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Maria Tymoczko will provide a new copy of Born Into A World at War
, Second Edition, to each classmate who comes to the reunion. These books were printed at her expense and her hope is that classmates, and especially their grandchildren, will be enriched by learning about the lives of some our classmates and their families during World War II. If you are not attending the reunion and would like a copy, just email David Hannon