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8 Plympton Street
February 9, 1944

Dear Panma,

I am concentrating on Blow now practically to the exclusion of everything else. Am overhauling the biography chapter, I hope for the last time. I have found some interesting pictures to have photostatted for the thesis, including a view showing the Great Sanctuary on the left (where Blow lived most of his life), Westminster Abbey on the right, and St. Margaret's Church in the background.

I did go to a meeting last night where a colored friend of ours, who works at Harvard, spoke movingly of the depth of feeling with which the Negroes love and consider themselves a part of the U.S.A. He told of being at St. Nazaire in France a few months after the Armistice of 1918 and standing beside a big, strong six-foot colored American boy as they watched American ships flying the Stars and Stripes and sailing back home. As they stood there, the colored boy wept and declared if he ever got back to the U.S.A. he would never leave it again. (Later he discovered that this same boy's father had years ago been lynched!)

I enclose a gay card from Doc. Please return it.

Tomorrow I have to take another Army physical exam. If I pass it, it does not mean that I will be inducted, but merely that I will be put back in one-a, so that they can call me later if they wish. It was rather strange to be asked to go over to Boston again when I never received any notification from Princeton that I was anything but one-a. I still think it is very unlikely that Uncle Sam will want my services. I presume I shall have to go through all the same stunts again that I did in August, but under the new system, it is a pre-induction exam., i.e.an exam. for classifying, not for immediate inducting, those taking it.

Jean-Marie and Carol spent Monday night here. He is leaving an excellently paying position teaching French position at Exeter to become a private in the U.S. Army (although he was a second lieutenant in the French army years ago). They brought the two little boys with them, bright, blond, and angelic- almost too angelic. Then a kind Exeter friend took the boys back home on the 1:15, so that the parents could have the afternoon and evening together in Boston (when Julia went to a Child Care meeting and I did Blow).

Well, here is Julia, so I guess we'd better go to bed so that I can make my 7:30 a.m. appointment. Will let you know what happens.

Lots of love, H

How about Hingham?

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Henry Clarke was inducted into the army after he completed his Ph.D. in musicology at Harvard University. In this letter he writes about polishing off a chapter of his dissertation on John Blow who was an English composer working at the end of the seventeenth century. Clarke also writes of having heard a talk about Black veterans of World War I. American Blacks were allowed to serve only in segregated units of the United States military during the First World War. The lecturer, "a colored friend of ours, who works at Harvard," recounted his first-hand knowledge of the staunch patriotism of Black soldiers. He told the story of standing beside a young soldier in St. Nazaire, France, and watching, an American ship headed for home. The speaker remembers, "the colored boy wept and declared if he ever got back to the U.S.A. he would never leave it again. (Later he [the speaker] discovered that this same boy's father had years ago been lynched.)"


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WWII letter on African-Americans

author   Henry Leland Clarke (1907-1992)
date   Feb 9, 1944
location   Cambridge, Massachusetts
width   8.5"
height   11.0"
process/materials   typescript
item type   Personal Documents/Letter
accession #   #L06.058

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See Also...

WWII Registration Card belonging to Frank Dahowski, Jr.

WWI letter to Emily Gladys Bartlett

WWII letter regarding African Americans

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