“for reasons distinctly racial I am seeing all the doors of universities closed in front of me,” 1928

This is a picture of the first faculty of Yeshiva College (now University), taken in 1928. I found it reproduced in a biography of Bernard Revel, Yeshiva’s first president, and when I looked at the names along the bottom my heart nearly skipped a beat. The young man standing in the middle of the back row is named Solomon A. Rhodes and I’d been searching for a picture of him for many years:

Rhodes taught French and Spanish at the Rice Institute for three years before joining the faculty at Yeshiva. Over time I’ve pieced together most of the story of his experience here, which is much too complicated for a blog post–or even a dozen blog posts–but which will have an important place in a larger work in progress on the history of Jews at Rice.

I visited the archives at Yeshiva last week, where I was met with a warm and generous welcome and two folders full of relevant material. There are several references in this letter that I will need to work to understand but the general point is both absolutely clear and utterly dismaying:

Bonus:

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7 Responses to “for reasons distinctly racial I am seeing all the doors of universities closed in front of me,” 1928

  1. N Bailey says:

    This makes me very sad.

  2. Melissa Crowfoot Keane, Jones ‘72 says:

    Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.

  3. Lynne (WRC '88) says:

    Wow. It’s always disappointing when you discover that an individual or institution that you care about is so fallible.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      It sure is, although I suppose it’s only to be expected. One of the biggest drawbacks of my work is that I see all the bad stuff as well as the good. It can get to be a heavy burden sometimes.

  4. Matthew Noall says:

    Let’s hope this kind of thing is in the past but if not we now have a history lesson that will put us on notice to look for this behavior in the future

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