Speech to Naval Academy, (4 May 1972) Annapolis, MD

Speech Text

[1] Usually, when I begin speaking, I begin by saying, “Friends and sisters.” I’ve never spoken before an audience with so few sisters. I wasn’t sure really what I should say or how I should begin. I thought briefly of reading from one of those books about how to be a navy wife.

[2] But I decided that that probably was not necessary, that the women who were navy wives were taking care of their own. I was very curious to come here and, on the way here in the car, the commander asked me why it was that . . . he was curious, he said, to know why we had accepted, and the truth is that we were curious to know why he would have asked us.

[3] In fact, we’ve been doing this for more than two years now. When we began, they were very small discussion groups—rap groups, really—and we were able to sit around in a much more comfortable and less military way, in a circle, and to talk with each other as equals.

[4] Now we find ourselves up here lecturing to you. We’re sorry about that. We didn’t intend to repeat a military experience. But we don’t come as leaders of the women’s movement, we don’t come as leaders at all, but simply as women who wish very much to say to young people, especially now, what we wish so much had been said to us much sooner.

[5] I had a different, an additional motive, for wanting to speak because I am a member of the press and I was very distressed and humiliated by the kind of ridicule and distortion that the press has so liberally given to the women’s movement. I suppose I should say, therefore, here, above all other places, that, for instance, no one that I know of ever burned a bra.

[6] There was a demonstration against the Miss America meat packing contest in 1968, and the women threatened to burn a bra, a steno pad, an apron, a dish mop, and other symbols of oppression. But they didn’t do it because they couldn’t get a fire permit. Women have been much too docile, and too law-abiding for too long, but I think that era is about to end. I would like . . . Turn around . . . I see that here you have all the problems of a ghetto.

[7] What I would like to say, especially, though, is that not only is this movement not about bra burners—the wall my male friends in the press keep on putting in their lead paragraphs. It is also not about reforms. It’s about revolution.

[8] One of the things that has helped me to understand the depth of the revolution we are talking about is reading history. By that, I don’t mean the kind of history we read in our textbooks, which is white male history and an elitist white male of history of that. We all know, for instance, that this country and Africa were not discovered when the first white males set foot on them, and we don’t read about women at all really unless they give birth to, or sew a flag for, or carry a pitcher of water to a man. What we really need is women’s history and black history and Chicana history and Indian history and really we should, in fact, call it remedial history in order to express how cruelly and how hostilely everybody except white males have been left out of the history books up until now. Then, eventually, we can put it all back together into human history.

[9] But what’s helped me much more is reading what’s usually dismissed as pre-history and discovering that, in fact, the human animal has been on this earth for very much longer time than we would suppose from reading those books, and that for the 5,000 years of human history, from about 12,000 to 8,000 BC more or less, it’s probable that there was, in fact, a gynocracy.

[10] That means the treatment of women as first class citizens, the worship of women as “women were the gods” and not a matriarchy, which came later and imitated the structure of patriarchy, but a gynocracy in which women were, in fact, the superior people and the first class citizens. Now, much of the reason that that was true was because paternity had not been discovered yet. It was thought that women bore fruit like trees when they were ripe, and I always like to imagine that the day of the discovery of paternity is big light bulb over somebody’s head and they’re saying, “Oh, that’s why.”

[11] Actually, there’s considerable evidence now that women discovered paternity many hundreds of years before they told men about it because we wanted to preserve our independence. But the discovery of paternity was a very important event in the human history as cataclysmic as the discovery of how to make fire or how to shatter the atom, and it began gradually to drastically change all the social forms. Women were seen for the first time as they were to be seen for many thousands of years thereafter—as the means of production.

[12] We were, in fact, the means of production. We produced the warriors and we produced the workers. So, if the State wish to control that production, it had to control us—an archaic and obscene notion we still see in the minds of all those ancient white men in state legislatures who still think they have the right to legislate the reproductive freedom of the individual woman.

[13] With the discovery of paternity and with women locked up for periods of time, really, it was also the beginning of raising children in a different way who had previously been raised communally. The idea of ownership of children came about for the first time . . . of private property and passing that property down to the children. The origin of marriage which was really locking women long enough to make sure who the father was.

[14] And in general, the creation of women as the first politically subjugated group, a group which, as it turned out, all other political subjugations were to follow. Because as other groups and tribes were captured and brought into this community as slaves, they too were marked by their physical difference, often racial, and given the role of women. That is, both groups were used as a source of cheap labor. Both groups were given the task to do that men didn’t wish to do, which, of course, is still a working definition of a feminine task—anything a man doesn’t want to do.

[15] In some societies, it’s typing and, in others, it’s digging ditches, but it’s still anything a man doesn’t want to do. In some marriages, it’s paying all the bills and, in others, it’s driving to the station and still others. And still in others, it’s staying very far away from both the car and the check book. But it’s still anything that the man doesn’t want to do and, of course, the working definition of women’s work is shit work.

[16] We were able to see then as the other racial groups, other tribal groups, that were brought into the situation and also given the work to do that the ruling class didn’t want to do, that there evolved the closest kind of parallel between women, all women of any racial group and any group of men, physically marked as second-class. The parallel gave birth to very many parallel myths.

[17] I hope that some of you have read Gunnar Myrdal because there is a chapter there in which he describes the parallel between women and black men in this society as the deepest truth of American life. He’s not comparing the suffering and no one would compare the suffering because women, white women lose their identities, and black and brown people, male and female, risk losing their lives.

[18] But the myths are very parallel and it’s interesting therefore to look at them and see really how comparable they are. Because women and black and brown men have both been said to have and still are sometimes said to have smaller brains, passive natures, childlike natures, to be incapable of governing themselves, God forbid, they should govern a white male, to be irresponsible, to be always late, to not to enjoy working together, to be closer to the earth, to have more sexual natures, to have natural rhythm, I guess, according to television even to have peculiar odors.

[19] I don’t know how anybody who has ever passed the locker room can believe that.

[20] It’s interesting to look at those myths and to understand how close the parallels are because now that we have just begun to realize how deeply racist this society is, it helps when we hear ourselves or someone else making a generalized statement about women. To substitute the name of any other group, racially marked, physically marked as second class, and we begin to see what we’re really saying.

[21] The truth is that the role of the women varies greatly from one society to the next, even in the patriarchal society, so what we have come to believe is masculine and feminine are really social, cultural qualities, and not biological ones at all. There was a study done recently by the World Health Organization, which was interesting because it included many different societies, not just this one and that it could find no difference, emotional or intellectual or psychological difference between males and females as groups.

[22] What was even more surprising was that the much talked about differences of strength turned out to be, as they called it, marginal and transitory. Marginal because young men and women and old men and women have about the same degree of strength, it tends to last only for the childbearing years, this difference in strength, and marginal because it’s really very small, even within those years. So it really only makes sense to make all of our job requirements and lifestyle requirements and political requirements based on the individual, and never, never on the group of birth.

[23] The group differences, the differences between males—the genital differences between males and females as a group—like the pigmentation feature and feature differences between two racial groups are very much less great than the probable differences between two individuals of the same group, between two white people, between two black people, between two women or between two men, so it really only makes sense to think of the individual. And probably, 10 years from now, there will be no more ghettos like this one.

[24] We sometimes lecture with Florynce Kennedy, who is the lawyer and an activist of longstanding in the Black Movement and the Women’s Movement and all combinations thereof. And she has a much more succinct way of putting it than I do. She says there are very few jobs in the world that actually require a penis or a vagina, and all other jobs should be open to everyone.

[25] Now, what we see, therefore, is that this creation of the notion that there is an unchangeable masculine role and an unchangeable feminine role is really very political. Women are in fact, as they have been since all those 5000 years ago, a source of cheap labor, and that’s the way they are used by society, whether it is on their own kitchens or someone else’s kitchens or the factories or the offices or on campus. It’s still the same and, of course, women in this country still do get only between 50% and 60% of the pay for doing exactly the same work.

[26] It’s very important, therefore, that we are trained from birth to feel as if those roles are natural. It’s a political training—women are trained to feel like half people, so they will behave like half people and get paid like half people and behave politically like half people. They will enter into marriages that are meant for a person and a half, not two whole adult human beings, each with a full identity of her and his own.

[27] An example of political training, for instance, was given to me by a woman on campus and I never forgot it because I thought things had changed on campuses since my day, but it turns out to be wrong. She said, “Here is an example of a political situation.” She was going to the movies on a Saturday night with a friend of hers, a woman whom she liked and respected, and they decided to go. A man called one of them up. The man was four foot two and had terminal acne and no redeeming features of any kind. See, we give you a chance for redeeming features, which is more of them is usually given to us. But the woman went like a shot—but the woman went because she had been politically trained all of her life to feel that she had no identity without a man, that she was nothing without a man. She had become in another word, a man-junkie.

[28] She needed a shot of identity because unless she had a man standing next to her on Saturday night or throughout life, she was nothing. Of course, if men only understood how little it mattered which man.

[29] Women always laugh at that first, I think men would be rather shocked to discover that. Men, on the other hand, receive the reverse kind of training. White men especially in this society are taught to feel that no matter how bad things get, they can be pretty automatically superior to other groups, to all women, no matter what their color, and to black and brown men.

[30] White men’s ego comes to depend upon this, through no fault of their own, but through very stiff cultural training. They are made to feel that their cultural, that their masculine identity depends upon earning a lot of money, or being violent, or winning all the time, or going off to Indochina, or wearing short hair, or uniforms, or beating each other up in bars, or killing small animals, or being members in good standing of the “jock-ocracy” whether they want it or not.

[31] They are thought that they can’t show feeling, that they can’t admit weakness, that a man is—I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place where the frustration level was this high since I was last in the Senate dining room.

[32] This notion, this fiction of the masculine mystique is so deep in our consciousness that we really don’t examine it, we really don’t think about it, we just accept it. It goes very deep indeed, the California Institute of Gender Identity, a name I love it can only exist in California, discovered for instance, that it was easier to surgically change the sex of a male adolescent wrongly brought up as a female than it was to change his cultural conditioning, that’s how deep it goes.

[33] But, in fact, it is beginning to change. The idea of equality and social justice are very contagious and subversive ideas, and we are beginning to look at the way in which the masculine mystique has deeply affected this country. I don’t think, for instance, a few years from now, it would be possible anymore to look at foreign policy without examining the ways in which the masculine mystique has affected it.

[34] I think it has been culturally assumed for so long that we still are missing the very most obvious of our definitions, and the very most obvious of our categories. I get the feeling from your response that you may believe that I’m trying to prove that women are superior to men, I am not. I would not repeat a masculine mistake. We are only trying to show that human beings are human beings, first and foremost, and it’s the individual that matters.

[35] One of the arguments most often used to prove male superiority, that is to prove why they should be political leaders and military leaders and so on, is a hormonal one. Perhaps you remember Dr. Edgar Berman who was a member of the Democratic Policy Council, now referred to as Mad Dog Berman, who was forced to quit, I’m happy to say, because he insisted upon saying such things that a woman could not be in the White House due to raging hormonal problems, “Would we want a menopausal woman in the white house during the Bay of Pigs?” he said.

[36] Well, we had a non-menopausal man and it didn’t work out very well. The truth is that men have cycles, men also have a menopause, and the degree to which it is shown more by women is cultural rather than biological. We all go through an aging process, we are all governed by the lunar cycles and various companies, including the armed forces of Japan, have greatly reduced their accident rate by having each individual male figure out what his monthly cycle is and therefore when he is most likely to be accident prone.

[37] I think the degree to which our foreign policy is affected by this assumption of the necessity of the masculine mystique is best expressed in Indochina. Why we got there? Why are we staying there? Why can’t we admit failure? Why can’t we understand that it would be in the country’s best interest to get out?

[38] We can’t, say many people, say many people who have closely examined the power structure at the top, Bill Moyers among them. We can’t because a man cannot lose, and because presidents successively have equated their manhood with that of the country. President Nixon has accused, for instance, those to the left of our Vietnam policy of being appeasers, and compromisers, and bums. Lieutenant Calley on the other hand, convicted of a battlefield atrocities by military court, was spared such reflections on his masculine character and transferred from the stockade to the comfort of his own apartment by presidential command.

[39] Nixon’s statements are full of concern that the United States may become a “pitiful helpless giant,” second-rate power, and that the country may be defeated or humiliated. He seems to identify strongly with wartime leaders, particularly Winston Churchill, and states often that he doesn’t want to be the president, “see this nation except the first defeat in its proud 190-year history.”

[40] Two years ago, in Saigon, he spoke about the Vietnam War as one of his country’s finest hours. After the Republican convention in 1968 Nixon was quoted as saying that he chose Agnew as his Vice President because, among other things, he had been a tough guy with black leaders as governor of Maryland. Nixon also admired his forcefulness and his strong looking chin. At the same time, Agnew was not likely to be a superstar, in Nixon’s phrase, who would outshine Nixon, as a man.

[41] In his book, Six Crises Nixon described his life experience in a battlefield, in sports terms, speaking often of victory and defeat, and never of anything in between those two inhuman extremes. Unfortunately, foreign affairs very rarely come to a complete victory or a complete defeat as required by the masculine ethic and, certainly, the war in Indochina doesn’t. An obsession with winning becomes an even greater obsession with not losing, in appearances at least—an obsession with not losing face. That theme emerges very much when you read the Pentagon papers. It’s the underlying premise of nearly every document.

[42] An Assistant Secretary of Defense under McNamara, John McNaughton believes that this face saving was the single most important goal of our country in Vietnam, more than keeping territory from the communist and much more than permitting the South Vietnamese to enjoy a more free way of life. Peace at any price is humiliation, but victory at any price, even genocide in Indochina and chaos at home, is quite all right . . . so goes the masculine mystique.

[43] It’s this kind of thinking that has caused us to consistently over-estimate the domestic sacrifices Russia was willing to make for the arms race, and it’s this kind of thinking that makes an SST crucial to our prestige, though it may be a disaster from every other point of view. That makes us add up nerves to our existing capacity for overkill, and it sees being number one as some kind of end in itself. It’s this kind of thinking that denies the courage in admitting mistakes, in forfeiting false positions, and so locks us into the unnecessary inhuman gamesmanship of global showdowns in the okay corral.

[44] Increasingly, there are male leaders, not all of them young, with the courage to question the masculine mystique. Some of them work for the government, though they are not fairing very well, I’m afraid, and some of them are even in Congress. But women are the only large group not usually conditioned to believe that their identity depends upon violence and aggression.

[45] Again, the difference is cultural, not biological. We are not preaching the superiority of women, but it is vital to have women in positions of power until these sex roles are humanized, until they become less polarized into the inhuman masculine and the passive feminine, particularly in the area of foreign policy. We don’t want just one or two tokens, where we have to conform in order to survive. We need enough of us so that we can challenge and change bureaucratic machismo.

[46] Challenge and change from women may be exactly what some men are afraid of, but that’s their problem. I don’t believe, for instance, that women are spared military service because men want to protect us from being killed. If that were true, abortion laws would be repealed so that American women would not be dying from butchered abortions at greater than the rate that American men are dying in Indochina.

[47] Men are afraid that women would not be culturally conditioned enough to play the hierarchical game of the Armed Services and would not be cruel enough, which is exactly, of course, why we should be in the Armed Services. Someday there will be 50% cadets here and someday the whole mystique will have changed.

[48] There are men, Daniel Ellsberg, for instance, who are giving speeches about women’s political power as the primary way of turning our foreign policy around. He says that women don’t respond to the issues of humiliation, prestige, and number one-ism so important to Nixon’s imperial policy. Polls show that they are more against the war by every measure. “I believe that the sex differences in political opinion are much larger than we have been led to believe and much more independent of social class and of education.” If we look at the voting patterns of women, we discover that they do, in fact, betray an enormous cultural difference but no one has taken the trouble to look. It has been assumed that we voted like our husbands. There was a poll recently taken of Princeton graduates in which, as a large, they ask the questions of the wives as well as the men. The husbands were two to one for Nixon. The wives were two to one for Muskie. If one counted all the other Democratic candidates, it would have been more like three to one.

[49] When the men were asked whether they thought that women voted the way they did, whether they agreed with the husband’s political opinion, 88% of the men said, “yes.” We vote very differently. There is a cultural difference. We do tend to vote like an outgroup. We do vote more like the black community and the brown community than we vote like white men in general.

[50] There is also an argument made by Geoffrey Gorer, who is an anthropologist, who set out to study the few tribes in the world that do not go to war to gain territory. He did not set out to discover that the difference was one of sex roles, but he discovered it nonetheless—that the only common characteristic of peaceful societies is that the sex roles are not polarized, that men are not taught that they have to go out and go to war, or earn a lot of money, or be authoritarian, or impose their will upon other people, or fight for a better place in the hierarchy in order to be men. And women are not taught that they have to be passive, and docile, and supportive in order to be women.

[51] That has led the Prime Minister of Sweden and many other people to suppose that this fight to humanize the sex roles is possibly the only and at least the best hope for peace in the world at last. We may survive the atomic age and get to humanism yet, but only if we are willing to sacrifice the masculine mystique. This means changing everything we do, everything we think, the way we treat other people, the very way that we form our lives.

[52] It is the revolution that we live every day, not one that is thousands of miles away. It’s the revolution that mean you will be ridiculed for fighting it because this country reserves enormous ridicule for those of us who choose not to play this polarized sex roles. This administration, certainly, ridicules than most administrations for people who do not behave like proper men and proper women in the way that America is supposed to stand for.

[53] But if we dare to fight it, if all of those groups that have been used as cheap labor, women of all races, and black and brown men stand up in this country and say, “no more, we aren’t going to be half people anymore, we aren’t going to play this role anymore,” then we have a chance for a deep change, a change that comes from the bottom up. And if we really do live this revolution every day, then perhaps we have a chance because we’ve had 5,000 years of gynocracy, the superiority of women, we’ve had 5,000 years of patriarchy and racism.

[54] We are at the beginning now of a new period, which just might be one of humanism. If we really do it, tough as it is and ridiculed as all of us will be, then perhaps historians will look back at this day, 50 or 100 years from now, and say that for the first time the human animal stopped dividing itself up according to visible difference, according to race, or according to sex and started to look for the real and the human potential that’s inside every one of us. Thank you.


[55] I think I will ask you to excuse me if I laugh because I’ve been so tickled here this evening.

[56] I wondered what I would do with a number of smaller group of the same people that are in this room, except the people up there and over here. If I was going to try and put into practice or help you to put into practice some of the things that Gloria’s been talking about, in order for us to become total whole people with more human potential, what would I do?

[57] Because I’m given that task so many times working in a community where we need to do a number of things in order to be able to move fully toward humanizing our roles, where we have to also deal with horrid tactics, where we have to almost every minute think of survival. I almost feel a need here to put that kind of survival attitude into play.

[58] Because your people and especially the young men here, who may have very soon a lot of thinking to do about yourselves as human beings and where you’re going, which has a hell of a lot to do with my life right now. And your reactions to a number of things said something to me about my being here. Maybe I could talk with you about some of the things that you’re probably missing. This is a very unique type of community and thinking about community control—all of you are here and you’re having to communicate with each other.

[59] I wonder how many of you would have felt much much easier had you gone through West 80th Street Day Care Center? How many of you would have felt it easier to relate to the 80 black men that are among you? How many of you white men would have not have to work out so much racism and classism?

[60] One of the things that we are doing, one of the closest things to me, is developing kinds of systems that will eliminate in human beings, sexism, racism, and classism. For me, racism comes first over sexism since it has probably a lot more to do with my lifestyle. It doesn’t seem to be as immediate as walking out of a house with my three daughters and not being able to get a cab even though I have money because the driver is white and he works in the public. Or not being able to get an apartment in a decent environment either anywhere in this country because the environment does not reflect the system under which we live.

[61] When Gloria said that this is a ghetto, I hope that you can understand two things about a ghetto. When I say decent environment, I’m not talking about running away from black people and the problems. I already know that the problem in black communities are not produced by the people in the community. But ghetto, to me, is a state of mind, one which white America has not been able to break out of. And so white America to me is in a ghetto. With the first uprising in black communities in ’64, which is a time that I could relate to, I found that black communities were becoming communities rather than ghettos because the state of mind had developed, a state of mind was coming through.

[62] In order for us to relate to each other as human beings and for you to relate to the things that you’re going to do in your life, I think that a lot of human development needs to go on, especially when you’re so regimented, when you’re so confined. I have a feeling that you’re confined from the community around you, that you know, for the time that you’re here, you will know very little of what’s going on outside of this community.

[63] I feel the need to say something about the present social policies. I don’t know if any of you have heard about HR 1 and know what it is. HR 1 is President Nixon’s welfare reform bill. The welfare reform bill says something to a lot of Americans. It says that this country is ready already, with the social policies, to open a part of its values that said that it was free and to openly obtain fascism. The reason I say that is because the bill totally intends to control a large number of people. That large number of people happens to be mostly all women and non-white male and females.

[64] If we were to have good reform, thousands of millions of dollars would go into human services, living wages, and a way for us to have good educational systems not built on one “white middle-class value” system. But an educational system that would relate to individuals, the needs of women, the needs of nonwhite people, and the needs of white males because liberation for women cannot happen unless liberation from men is happening.

[65] We cannot be liberated unless you are, but we’ll take you to deal with your own liberation. You should come together and think about the roles that you’re playing—whether or not they are human roles. This reform that is taking place now intends to control people. It says something about a man and some of you men out there, especially you black men, may have to go through this, may have to live with this.

[66] It says that any family, any children on public assistance of a father who crosses the state line, and the father I’m talking about is the one who crossed the state line—it doesn’t say for what or under what circumstances—if he crosses the state line, he can be fined $1,000 or put in jail for one year. If they can’t find him and he comes to get his Social Security at age of 65, he can then be sent to prison for one year or he will have to pay $1,000 before he gets his Social Security.

[67] If a child of a family is on public assistance and the child is not doing well in the schools in this country, the mother will be sent to a psychiatrist paid for by the Department of Social Services. It seems that the priorities again, domestically, are falling into the hands of those people with that masculine mystique. Welfare has always been for a number of people—a gigantic big white father who looks in the closets, who looks everywhere you look, who looks to see that you don’t have any friends, who looks to see that women have only one dress.

[68] And the people who are really getting the welfare are the airlines, the ballparks, the space programs, and many, many, many other things that really does not relate to human life and our development as people. This may be boring to you, but I would say to you that you could be very, very much shocked by the conditions probably right outside these confines. Because as I came into Maryland, on the train, I saw conditions just looking out a window that I wouldn’t pass very many times without questioning what I’m doing in my life.

[69] So if you want to spend some time at getting to know America before you leave, to go off into other places, to help other people to be human, more human, I would ask you to question. Send in the possibility of sending care packages next door or to even just think about the role that you are going to play wherever you go.

[70] I’ve worked with children that are both economically . . . the school that I work in is both economically and racially integrated. All of the children must somehow get to, walk to school, but one of the things that we’re trying to do there is to develop a system of education that could come across even this kind of an academy where people can learn to respect each other’s values and each other’s differences racially, sexually, and economically. Hopefully, one day, America will stop equating class with economics as I know some very rich people with absolutely no class and lots of poor people with lots of class.

[71] One of the things that we need to look at is our own person and question how much we, I, am contributing to the system of classism, racism, and sexism. I think it can only begin with us. We must live our own revolution. We must begin to change ourselves. If white women, white Americans would say to their landlord, “I will not pay you for an apartment or house and also allow you to tell me who my neighbors and my friends are going to be,” we would have open housing, possibly.

[72] That’s only if we were thinking about ourselves because the educational system or all being in one system should depend on our getting to know each other, and communicating with each other, and being uncomfortable with each other. I’m sure now that another parallel could be the fact that men are afraid of what women will do to them if they gain equality. Just as whites have been afraid of what blacks or non-whites would do to them if we gain equality.

[73] We can begin to eliminate a lot of fears just by coming together and learning how to respect each other. It’s very hard for me to say that “Good evening sisters and friends” as Gloria usually says because usually, I can’t . . . In most of the audiences that we speak to, I don’t see very many friends or sisters because white women have not yet learned or come to the conclusion to change for themselves how much they have been part of my oppression, as a black woman, and only until that is changed can we have sisterhood.

[74] It is much more easy, I think, though, for us to get together and for non-whites and white women to get together, then it will be for white males and all of these groups to get together. I think I can tell that by looking across this audience and seeing lemons and oranges, [laughter] and all kinds of fruits that I guess was supposed to be thrown.

[75] Did you see that?

[76] Every time that Gloria would say something that you disagreed with, I would see a lemon go up or an orange.

[77] I began to think about that. There have been many times that I’ve been afraid in my life, [laughter] but somehow, this is not one of those time.

[78] I came from Lumpkin, Georgia. Literally, living between Ku Klux Klan on one side and Ku Klux Klan on the other side, and seeing lots of fear on the face of my parents when they had to take the mattress off of the bed and put it on the floor. Because on Friday nights and Saturday nights, the whites in that community would come through the community and shoot into windows on the street that I lived on, so I’ve had a lot to fear.

[79] Somehow, I decided that I wanted to be free of it and that’s why I got into education. Because you have to know the system and know the people. And, once you do learn the system under which you live and how it works, you learn the lies that it entails. You learn how to survive without it. You lose the fear and then you really are beginning to be free, and that’s where am I at. So, I hope that I haven’t angered you enough for you to throw them.

[80] I’d like to say to you that I’ve enjoyed being here, but I’m saddened—well, maybe I’m not, I don’t know if you have. I’d like it if you really did. I’d like to know and if you don’t have it, please try to begin to learn at this academy, black history and female history, so that you’ll know how to relate to us when you leave here.

[81] Thank you.