SFA's Brahms Festival - workshops, concerts, and symposia - on Friday, April 6, and Saturday, April 7

Vol. IV No. 29   ·   6 April 2001 


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B.U. Bridge is published by the Boston University Office of University Relations.

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Dear Editor:

The caption you put under the picture of the women meditatively walking the labyrinth on the front page of the March 30 BU Bridge was rather strange. The purpose of the labyrinth is to pray, to find one's path in life, and to encounter a higher power. Comparing them to rats in a maze was in bad taste.

-- Carol Houser Pineiro, Center for English Language and Orientation Programs

Dear Editor:

Thank you for the wonderful picture of the labyrinth made available to the BU community during our recent Women and the Word Conference in the George Sherman Union. My only disappointment was with the caption, "Where's the cheese?" which is misleading and trivializes what has been a valuable spiritual experience for many. Quoting from the excellent article on the labyrinth from the March 17, 2000, issue of the BU Bridge, "Unlike a maze, which has dead ends and false turns, a labyrinth has a single, winding path from the outer edge of a pattern to its center." A spiritual help for both the churched and other seekers, the labyrinth has played an important role in Christian history, although its concept predates Christianity.

Thank you for the picture, but next time "Please hold the cheese!"

-- Margaret Wiborg, director, Anna Howard Shaw Center, School of Theology

The Bridge meant no disrespect to the Women and the Word Conference or the purpose of the labyrinth. -- Ed.

Dear Editor:

Recently, Brown University's student newspaper drew vehement student protest for printing an advertisement against reparations to victims of slavery. About the same time, BU's School of Law welcomed Alfred L. Brophy to campus. Brophy, a professor of law at Oklahoma City University, who teaches in the fields of property, remedies, administrative law, and American legal history, spoke on March 21 about the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Brophy was counsel to the Oklahoma legislature's commission investigating this incident and has written extensively on race and property law in colonial, antebellum, and early 20th-century America.

The Tulsa Riot was, in Brophy's words, one of this country's worst humiliations. The May 31 riot was precipitated by this event: Dick Rowland, 19 years old, stepped onto an elevator to travel to the top-floor segregated bathrooms. A white elevator operator claimed that Rowland either brushed against her or stepped on her foot. She screamed. Hours later, Rowland was arrested but later released when the woman refused to press charges.

That same day, says Brophy, the Tulsa Tribune printed an article entitled "To Lynch Negro Tonight." The white community of Tulsa was ready to take action. A violent clash started; the first shots rang out when the black community, which included World War I veterans, showed up at the jailhouse in support of Rowland.

Tulsa's black area of town, Greenwood, which had been considered a model black community, was completely burned and destroyed. Postcards commemorating the riot were printed and distributed; one carried the inscription "Running the Negro out of Tulsa." Insurance companies in Tulsa introduced a riot clause into their policies to avoid damage payments. Greenwood never recovered.

In 2000, the Tulsa Race Riot Commission recommended a bill to the Oklahoma state legislature that would enable reparations, including scholarships and a tax relief program, to riot survivors or victims' relatives. Some, however, claim that monetary relief is not acceptable.

The debate is still alive, and Brophy is part of the Tulsa Riot Reparations Movement. His appearance at BU is not only a timely reminder of the upcoming anniversary of the riot, but also serves as a wake-up call on racial violence and how best to deal with the fallout from racial injustice through legislation.

-- Astrid Harders (COM'03)


6 April 2001
Boston University
Office of University Relations