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168                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               As I headed forward to teach on a burning university campus begin-
            ning in 1965, I also carried his bipolar novel, Giovanni’s Room, because
            Baldwin mixed questions of race and sex in a way that intrigued me per-
            sonally as the gay liberation of the 1960s sparked into flame, and we
            homophiles seemed finally, free at last, to call ourselves gay.
               It was, at that time, correct to use the word Negro.

            II.  The essay as published in The Torch, Volume XLVIII, Number
               1 (February 1965), The Official Publication of the Third Order
               of Saint Dominic, Reverend Francis N. Wendell, editor, 141
               East 65  Street, New York, 10021
                      The Church Mid-Decade

                             and the Negro

                  by Jack Fritscher writing as John J. Fritscher

            I am white, twenty-four, the son of a salesman’s middle-class family.
            Despite the Civil Rights Bill I still live in the de facto segregated suburbs
            of a Midwestern city over 125,000 population. I am a student for the
            priesthood and I have sat on the floor of Chicago Mayor Daley’s office.
            For the heat of the last two summers [1962 and 1963], I have been in
            Chicago. I have lived with the Negroes on Chicago’s South Side. And
            since my return from the Black Belt many of my parents’ friends tolerate
            me with the cool regard or the heated remarks sacred only to the memory
            of Benedict Arnold.
               I am told by them that if they’re prejudiced, then I am just as preju-
            diced — but the other way. If it seems that way to them, then I am sorry
            that I have not been clearer, kinder in expressing why I walked alone for
            the first time through a colored neighborhood. Why I wore a roman
            collar door to door and talked for hours to people living in unspeakable
            conditions. Why I marched and why I sat-in.
               Like everyone else I’ve always seen and heard what I wanted to see
            and hear. But this time I tried to walk with my eyes wide open. I wanted
            to find if really it was true what is said: that by negligence and silence, I
            and my comfortable neighbors and the Church I intend to serve all my life
            are somehow accessories before God to the injustices committed against
               I’d read that Mayor Daley had said ghettos do not exist in Chicago.
            I thought they did, but figured I could be wrong. And I was wrong if a

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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