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, .,4oXilpfsto. 7 The Texas Observer DEC. 25, 1964 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South 25c BRAINS Winston Bode In the summer the light-skinned, smirking, _side-burned, mustachioed Negroes sat around in sandals in the light, drained-out atmosphere of the patio of the University. They sat with one foot up in the lawn chair with them, lounged, and fought the battle of integration with words and, like sudden, slowly-developed, but shocking and quickly-acting showers, action. Placards sprang up, there was a drizzle of marching by blacks and whites along the forlorn sidewalk in front of the theater ; puzzled, curious, non-committal packs of standersby viewing t h e phenomenon, along with blue-suited campus cops standing like firemen or flood-gaugers watching the dry gulch suddenly flow, waiting for the tide to reach a certain mark. The patio retty much belonged to the Negroes, the drama students, the Arabs, Assyrians, and the silently-laboring custodians in blue overalls, raking on the sidelines, that summer. To describe the Group, the Negro intellectuals, as being light-skinned, bearded, and all, would of course be to describe only certain stand-outs. Many were slight and dark and worried and bespectacled; many tall, flaccid, placid, black, big-butted, and softer than their counterparts in the fields and in busboy uniforms. To talk of the light-skinned ones is to talk of a fewone or two reallyand maybe the image of only one will linger: the compact, side-burned boy in dark glasses, in sandals, with the insolent loose independent manner in his walk as he strode casually across the long hard sidewalks of the campus, holding his head back at an angle, his mouth in a quizzical embittered position, talking sharp behind the dark glasses. He always seemed so tired, and so hopeless, really. That was Haney, from Beaumont. And to talk about the Group, you have to also talk about the girls, but it’s hard to remember what they looked like. The summer was a good time to get off heavy reading courses, in Faulkner, say; and it seemed to many Negroes that once you got in the University set-up, with the money coming in from whatever source, there wasn’t much of anywhere else to go; you were dedicated to learning and going into teaching or mission work or political action, beatnikism, or social service; the Y. It wasn’t so good out there in the interim. Better just stay in school; a delicious sort of feeling really to those still new to the experience, walking across the integrated campus and, many a day, on your street, under the elms in front of the two or three frame houses which were a center for your race, seeing just as many Negroes as others. The Administrationstill not to be trusted, somehow, giving, but giving grimly and still dispensational, or grudgstrategic about it, knowing when a pressure was realthe Administration was on your side; social right. And the really tasty thing, oh my; the way the editor of the liberal paper bared his breast for the Negro brother; what a rare day. SUCH VOLUPTUOUS thoughts were not to be Haney’s, though. The worrier he was, with the waxen, yellow, knitted brow; the ever-working brain; a mixture of hate, now sublimated, and train schedules and meetings and names to remember and attitudes to catalogue. It was land, in the greyed-out no-man’s-land where there were just BRAINS uprooted from the culture, with whites hating the whites just as much as the blacks hated what the whites did to them; meeting in the darkened bars and seeing the young grub-worm white rich boy drink in dark glasses and long hair scheming with them and shaking hands and making pacts and dancing with the girls.. Oh, the kids and nuts you had to fool with. But worse than that, the white careerists, like from Halfway House; serious, bespectacled, looking and talking like preachers and speaking intimately of Christ as if he wore Ivy Leagues and talked with them; but they not being ministers, not being with the church; and next year, what? maybe with some Foundation HE IS MY FOUNDATION Aunt Roby used to sing that. They didn’t know it was a war, those safe bastards; they would pull back into the white wall when they grew tired, or decided to settle for epistemology for a year or two ; and maybe a summer in Belgium! Arthur, his, Haney’s shade, would be likely to try the New -York route, be an Arab for a while, or an intellectual nigger in the never-never land. Haney never wrote home anymore. His grandfather said he was going to hell. And the cool ones, the musicians and such and their girls, popped the taps on their heels and toes, sitting slumped and relaxed in the drug store booths sucking on sweet limp straws and twiddling the paper soda cups; looking with veiled eyes at Haney as he came in small and quick and slightly bowed of back. “Say, how’s the push, man?” they would say without moving, and Haney would say quietly, “There is movement,” and he would pass suavely on, and in the booths they would shake their heads. “Man, I don’t dig that route.” The silent Negro artists had nothing at all to say, nothing at all; just look so sad, and paint pictures of all sorts of people, lots of soul and quite a bit of loot along the way sometimes ;. they and their cute-twat little wives and the modern apartments and the little cuties in white rompers; he wished he could get married and paint or something; blow, blow is what he really wanted to do, but it was “Haney, you_ have BRAINS, man, BRAINS, we need your brains, you are the cleverest fox ; you would have made a good lieutenant, Haney.” Too, getting the utmost trust and brotherhood from the white men, the inner corps, but it never being quite the same OH MISTUH JOHNSON IT’S WORTH TAKIN’ WHAT YOU GET ALL WEEK TO BE A NIGGER ON SATURDAY NIGHT! So you were left with your handful of brethren in the Group; fanatics and sicks included; the haters were good for a while but that had to be trained out of them \(was that a lie, or was the psychiatrist in Houston being paid to release a worker of his you had to let them go. It was a shame about the good ones who didn’t stay. Like long lean hard knotty Specs; oh, a good man if there