We had our meeting of all of us at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Somehow it was arranged that we would stay in the dorms at Morehouse, maybe it was for a weekend, and the experience of being there on an all-black campus was my first experience at feeling what it would be like to be a minority. I remember feeling very self-conscious. Gaudino loved that. I remember him leading a discussion about that for quite a while. And while I was there my duffle bag, I carried all my stuff in an old Army duffle bag, my duffle bag was stolen from the room I was staying in. So I had no clothes. I had nothing.

So it was a bit of a crisis and I can remember him calling together all the students, the Williams-at-Home students, and we met in this room and Professor Gaudino announced that there were some thefts and John’s clothes had been stolen, his whole bag, all his personal effects. And then he started asking questions, started being a professor, “What do you all think about this?” “Do you think this has to do with race?” And blah, blah, blah. Now the other students really responded to that because their clothes hadn’t been stolen, but I remember being incredibly annoyed that he’s turning this into an intellectual exercise. It’s an emotional experience for me. It was a moment of learning for him. So it went on for a good half hour or something like that. And then what he did, he changed the tables and he said, “OK, this has been a good conversation.” He got up and I remember this clearly. He was wearing a basically red-checkered like lumberjack type of jacket, plaid. He took it off. He said, “John doesn’t have any clothes.” So he stood up, which was not easy for him at that time, and took off this coat and he walked over and he gave it to me. And he said, “We all need to chip in and give clothes to John.”

John Neikirk '73