Considering the cynicism many of us feel about the current state of American education, at least with the curriculum there is one vast improvement from the past: its diversity. In the excellent public schools I attended in Iowa in the 1940s and 50s, I learned absolutely noting about our country's diversity--unless Pocahontas is supposed to count. Though I concentrated on American literature for both my BA and MA, I never once encountered an African American writer. It pains me to admit this because I took several courses in American literature from a distinguished professor, who was a Negro, to use the racial designation of the time. He even directed my MA thesis on William Faulkner, but it was not until after I graduated that I discovered that he had one of the finest private collections of works by African American writers in the United States. But never a mention of any of those books, or their writers, while I was enrolled in his courses.
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