Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2021  Vol. 20  No. 1
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It Is to Laugh
The Crisis, January 1921

THE high gods who know that all is well must be often faint with laughter over some aspects of this race muddle of ours! This gem appears in the Danville, Va. Bee:

No action will be taken by the authorities of the Medical College of Virginia in regard to remarks on the race question alleged to have been made before the junior class by Mrs. Margaret M. Haskins, newly elected professor of histology and a Ph. D. of Yale University. The lecture was given several weeks ago, and is now regarded as a closed incident.

“The remarks of Dr. Haskins seem to have been much exaggerated,” said Dr. E. C. L. Miller, dean of the college, Friday morning. “She used an unfortunate illustration in the course of a purely academic lecture several weeks ago. Had she said what is now being quoted, or in any way advocated inter-marriage of the race, I am quite certain the students would have risen and left the room.”

Dr. Haskins came to the medical college this year from the University of Minnesota. Her father is an emeritus professor at Yale. In the lecture before the junior class, which has caused comment, she was making the point that from a physical and medical standpoint the individual should be considered and not the race, and is quoted by some of the students as having illustrated her point by saying that were the choice to be put up to her, she would prefer to marry an intelligent, cultivated and refined Negro rather than an ignorant, low, white man.

The incident created much talk among the student body, but Dr. Miller said that no action had been taken or was contemplated either by the student or the faculty—the whole being regarded as a closed incident.

“Dr. Haskins realizes,” he said, “that the illustration was unfortunate, especially for one coming from New England, to use in the South.”

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Who said Americans had a sense of humor?  end

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