Northwestern U. Student Jeopardizes Degree by Refusing to Perform Whitman

Northwestern U. Graduate Student Refuses to Sing Verse by Whitman</I> 1

Timothy McNair (center) sang last fall in Northwestern U.'s production of "Bastianello," an opera about marriage. When he refused to perform verses by Walt Whitman this spring, he failed his course and might lose his scholarship.

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close Northwestern U. Graduate Student Refuses to Sing Verse by Whitman</I> 1

Timothy McNair (center) sang last fall in Northwestern U.'s production of "Bastianello," an opera about marriage. When he refused to perform verses by Walt Whitman this spring, he failed his course and might lose his scholarship.

Walt Whitman, the acclaimed "poet of democracy," made several racist statements toward the end of his life. He called black people "baboons" and "wild brutes," said America is "for the whites," and predicted that in the competition for racial survival, "The nigger, like the Injun, will be eliminated."

It was statements like those that led a black graduate student at Northwestern University to protest a requirement of his chorale course that he perform Howard Hanson's "Song of