Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

New Haven, CT

Before visiting Yale University in 1888 for an honorary master of arts degree and in 1901 for an honorary doctor of literature Twain spoke in 1885 to the Kent Club, a student group that debated the issues of the day. Twain was introduced by Warner McGuinn, a black Lincoln University graduate in his first year at Yale Law School. McGuinn was paying his way by working several jobs, including waiter and bill collector. Twain quietly covered McGuinn’s board for the remainder of his time at Yale. Twain wrote to the law school dean: “I do not believe I would very cheerfully help a white student who would ask a benevolence of a stranger, but I do not feel so about the other color. We have ground the manhood out of them, & the shame is ours, not theirs, & we should pay for it.” McGuinn would later establish a law office in Baltimore, help start the local branch of the NAACP and mentor a young attorney, Thurgood Marshall, who would become the first African-American justice to the United States Supreme Court.

October 14-October 17

Posts from New Haven, CT

‘Who Is The Other?’ Interviews at the Yale School of Drama

What makes a woman The Other? Race? Ethnicity? Sexual orientation? Skin color? Wanting a family, not a career, first? Or does a woman become The Other by just being a woman, not a man? I’m asking … Read more >>

Women of Yale Drama talk race, loss, money and being caught in the middle

You’ve probably noticed that this video is six minutes long. So far, I’ve been making an effort to keep the videos I upload brief, sometimes (read: most times) under a minute. That’s, of course, a response … Read more >>

“The shame is ours”: the unlikely history of diversity at Yale Law School

When Mark Twain visited Yale in 1885 to lecture, Warner T. McGuinn, one of the first African-American students at Yale Law School, served as his campus guide and introduced him at a public meeting. Impressed by … Read more >>

Journalism professor Ed Alwood questions current gay rights movement: ‘We come across as clowns’

The Saturday morning we went to see journalism professor Ed Alwood at Quinnipiac University, it happened to be parents’ weekend and the campus was abuzz with activity—music playing, lots of hand-drawn cardboard signs, mothers and fathers … Read more >>