A century of academic sovereignty

Frederick T. Gates, chairman, General Education Board, “Occasional Letter No. 1”, 1906:

In the state of Wisconsin, now perhaps the best governed of all our states, the University writes the laws that go on the statute books, University professors guide and control the main departments of state administration and inquiry; there is no limit to the financial resources which a grateful people are placing at the disposal of learning, thus consecrated to the service of the commonwealth.

Our more ancient seats of learning pride themselves justly on their antiquity, on their dignity, on the reverence in which they are held, on the great names that have been and are associated with them. But it is yet theirs to reign over empires now undreamed; to inherit a kingdom that has awaited them from the foundation of the world; to write the laws of obedient states; to know the love of a reverent, grateful, and generous people; to

“Scatter plenty o’er a smiling land And read their history in a nation’s eyes.”

No shit, n--a. Could a n--a make this shit up?

No limit to the financial resources? Write the laws of obedient states? F--n’ A, n--a! You can sign this n--a up for that. N--a shakes with Rockafella makes history like Nelson Mandela.

Taken out of context? Au contraire, mon frère. There is no context. The “Letter” ends here. The entire piece is delightfully freckled with cowpies in this vein—many with a thick frost of early hippie-Jesus. Read it and grimace with sheer bruxist mirth. Oh, and if you think these n--az didn’t matter? Yo, n--a, you wrong.