In the mid-1920s, few experts in the world were more concerned with the meaning of a word than U. of C. Professor Leonard Bloomfield—noted in linguistics for having introduced rigorous scientific methodology to the study of language.Yeah, I know, Bloomfield's role in the history of linguistics isn't exactly accurately portrayed here, but it's an interesting bit about Bloomfield's politics, at the very least.
In this instance, the word was “democracy.”
“We cannot call this nation a democracy,” he told the U. of C. class in which Despres sat, “until we have elected a Negro President.”
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Check out this piece by Kenan Heise in the Chicago Daily Observer. The article reports a recollection from activist Leon Despres, now over 100, about a class at the University of Chicago: