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Elizabeth Warren’s Evolution on Race Brought Her Here

After Ms. Warren’s father misplaced his job, her household struggled to remain within the district so their youngsters may attend the varsity, thought-about one of many academically strongest within the space. Friends described Ms. Warren as conservative on the time, and don’t recall spending a lot time discussing civil rights, whilst protests, sit-ins and integration efforts roiled her nonetheless largely segregated metropolis all through her highschool years.

Dr. Katrina Cochran, a childhood buddy who would go on to grow to be a psychologist, mentioned that Ms. Warren had been deeply acutely aware of the stigma then related to having a mom who labored exterior the house and that she had displayed an curiosity in financial inequality that might outline her profession. But the subject of race didn’t typically come up between the 2 women.

“It was so clearly segregated,” Dr. Cochran mentioned, of their highschool. “I look back on it now, and there wasn’t one person of color that I recall anywhere, except in the janitorial or kitchen staff. That’s how we grew up.”

Ms. Warren left Oklahoma City for George Washington University desperate to broaden her horizons past the confines of her upbringing.

“I had never seen a ballet, never been to a museum and never ridden in a taxi,” Ms. Warren recalled in her 2014 memoir. “I’d never had a debate partner who was Black, never known anyone from Asia, and never had a roommate of any kind.”

As an older cousin additionally had, a younger Ms. Warren discovered her method right into a sorority, pledging the Gamma Kappa chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta. The college had been formally desegregated in 1954, when it started admitting Black college students, however the sororities on campus remained a bastion of discrimination.

Sorority life on campuses as we speak typically stays divided by race, and traditionally Black Greek organizations, based greater than a century in the past throughout authorized segregation, might be locations the place Black ladies search sisterhood. (Ms. Harris joined Alpha Kappa Alpha, the oldest traditionally Black sorority, as an undergraduate at Howard University and has spoken about how significant it was.)

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