To the Class of 2009
After speaking to some African American members of the Harvard Class of 2009 and their parents the evening before graduation (6/3/09), several of them (parents and students) asked for my words-of-rhyme about "shakers" and "pickers" with which I ended my remarks. I’m no Langston Hughes, but here is that rhyme:
Education, like freedom, has never been free.
When we picked up peaches, someone else shook the tree.
I was a picker, now may I a shaker be.
As I have gained, let someone else now gain from me.
Of course, I exhorted them to become "shakers" for the many "pickers" needing their help and influence.