By Danny Schechter
Ithaca, New York: How can you be in the past and present at the same time?
Go to your college reunion.
I did, this past weekend, up on the forever beautiful and very green Cornell campus in Ithaca, New York. About 350 members of a class of 2400 trekked back to remember how we were, and to see how the ravages of age and affluence have affected us. I probably hadn't bonded with as many fellow students because I was an independent, and not in a fraternity or athletic team. I was an early responder to activism.
We also had a moving memorial for more than a hundred, of the fallen, including my late friends Bernie Moss, Daniel Patrick Cassidy and Robin Williams. My co-editor Kenneth Barry Rubin of Dialogue Magazine was not on the list because he had dropped out earlier.
There were many people there I didn't know then, and perhaps didn't want to know, but I did run into some old friends and was thrust back into discussions of the racial /civil rights issues that mobilized us to care in our college years, and still top the list of the University's and the country's unfinished business.
Somehow, there was a convergence of concerns raised about the color line, the crisis that the black scholar, W.E.B Dubois, saw as the THE issue of the 20th Century. It is not surprising that it continues to dominate what should top our agenda in this century even as Cornell turns 150 this year.