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Poet and Prejudice

January 11, 1987

I was saddened and angered by Sherley Anne Williams' comments ("Understanding the Impossible," by Mona Gable, Dec. 7) about her experience at the University of Alabama in Birmingham five years ago, when she gave a poetry reading. I was saddened because I thought, "Well, racism is alive and well at UAB." As I continued to read, I became angered because racism is alive and well in every state, including California and its universities. Come on, Ms. Williams, were you really fair to single out the University of Alabama in Birmingham as an example of one of your "wounds"?

As a black alumna of UAB, I by no means think racism or incidents of racist behavior should be overlooked. I do believe, however, that it is worth noting that Williams was probably invited to give the poetry reading because people there thought her works had some value. And I'm sure she did not perform without some form of compensation.

Ann Mitchell Sweeney

Los Angeles

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