Roxbury Arts Center
Free, Open to the public
Meet the authors as they speak about the journey from then ’til now and the publication of this passion project. Books will be available for purchase and can be signed by the authors.
The Class of 1963 and the 18 Young Men Who Changed Harvard Forever
The untold story of the Harvard class of ’63, whose Black students fought to create their own identities on the cusp between integration and affirmative action.
In the fall of 1959, Harvard recruited eighteen “Negro” boys as an early form of affirmative action. Four years later they would graduate as African Americans. Some fifty years later, one of these trailblazing Harvard grads, Kent Garrett, began to reconnect with his classmates and explore their vastly different backgrounds, lives, and what their time at Harvard meant.
Garrett and his partner Jeanne Ellsworth recount how these young men broke new ground. By the time they were seniors, they would have demonstrated against injustice, had lunch with Malcolm X, experienced heartbreak and the racism of academia, and joined with their African national classmates to fight for the right to form an exclusive Black students’ group.
Part journey into personal history, part group portrait, and part narrative history of the civil rights movement, this is the remarkable story of brilliant, singular boys whose identities were changed at and by Harvard, and who, in turn, changed Harvard.
Meet the authors:
After graduating from Harvard in 1963, it took some time before Kent Garrett found his passion. There was a stint in medical school, a flurry of acting classes, an adventure in advertising, and, finally, a landing in news journalism. Since then he has lived a life of tens— ten years at CBS News, ten years at NBC News, ten years as an organic dairy farmer and ten years working on this book. During his time as a farmer, he was also news director at a television station in Binghamton, New York. He says that those were the best years… cows during the day, news at night. He currently hosts and produces (along with classmate John Woodford) a daily morning news radio broadcast in Roxbury, New York on WIOX, 91.3 FM and streaming on the internet at wioxradio.org.
Jeanne Ellsworth grew up in rural New Jersey (not an oxymoron, or at least it wasn’t back in the 1950s). She has more formal education than is probably good for a person, and she has been a teacher, in one form or another, for nearly fifty years. She has taught art to second graders, science to sixth graders, math to incarcerated men, English to recent immigrants and to women in China, and various education courses to wannabe teachers. When she’s not trying to teach anyone anything, she enjoys birdwatching, traveling, and hanging out with family and friends, preferably in Roxbury, New York, aka The Center of the Universe.