The year was 1968 and the King was dead—assassinated.  The streets were red and black—thick with blood and smoke.  It was during this summer that what was once ivy towers opened their doors.  And so, I departed the projects of Chicago, boarded a plane or train (I can’t remember now) for my first trip outside of the West side to New Haven, Connecticut.

There I became part of an experiment.  Give inner city children the opportunity to read “great books” like Hegel’s Phenomenology, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn (which we wanted to burn after reading), Jean Genet’s play, The Blacks, and you can transform their lives. 

The director, Larry Paros, has spent his retirement time and money, making a documentary about the summer of 1968 at the Yale Divinity School that changed many lives. In the summer of 2009, we met again at Yale to see where those “great books” and summer of 1968 had led us.  We mourned those who had died, and talked about the different paths our lives had taken. We came from across the country, and one person flew in from Brazil.

I learned that as one of the 30 women students, out of 120 people, I was among the first to make Yale co-ed before it officially changed. To read more, visit:

Photo Opt: Jean Genet's Play, "The Blacks," Courtesy of