Barack Obama’s pal Henry “skip” Gates (above), the Harvard professor who couldn’t understand why a white police officer would stop and question him for climbing in his own window, is now having trouble understanding why a black contractor won’t give his school historical papers he found in an abandoned house.
When cleaning contractor Rufus McDonald found an old trunk in an attic last year, he discovered that it contained the personal papers of Richard T. Greener, Harvard University’s first black graduate.
The find sent waves of excitement through the academic world, especially at Harvard, where Skip Gates works. Per his own description, the 140-year-old papers gave Gates, who heads Harvard’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African-American Research, “gooseflesh” upon hearing of the accidental find.
This should be a great moment in African American history. This should make Rufus McDonald a legitimate hero for the black intellectual class to laud. It should; but so far, it has not because Mr. McDonald is threatening to burn the papers if he isn’t paid what they are worth by Harvard or anyone else who wants them.
McDonald has already sold two of Greener’s papers to the University of South Carolina, where he taught and studied, for $52,000. The remaining papers have been appraised at $65,000, and therein sits the problem. Harvard, which is the richest university in the world and a self-proclaimed champion of black America, has offered McDonald just $7,500 for his holdings.
McDonald’s response has been something Harvard’s hucksters had probably not expected. When you venture outside of the Ivy Tower, the real world can provide some rude awakenings. Calling Harvard’s offer insulting, Rufus McDonald has publicly said, “I’ll roast and burn them [rather than sell them for such a small price].”
Harvard claims that it offered him “significantly more” than $7,500. So someone is lying.
Since using other people’s money to buy the things that make them feel good is a basic element of liberalism, this appears to be more of the same from liberal academia.
Rufus McDonald appears to be ready to stand tall against pressure to “give his find away.” He wants to use the money from this sale to send his children to college; that probably doesn’t include Harvard. Stand tall, sir; stand tall.
Photo credit: The Humanihilsocialist (Creative Commons)