James Payne ‘68
Dartmouth College Oral History Program
Dartmouth Vietnam Project
May 31, 2020
Transcribed by Karen Navarro
LIBRE: My name is Matthew Libre (’21) and I am joined here today with Jim Payne. The date is May 31st, 2020, and the interview is being conducted over the phone with the Dartmouth Vietnam Project. I’m calling from Cabin John, Maryland, and Mr. Payne is speaking with me today from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I would like to start today by expressing my thanks to you, Mr. Payne, for speaking with us today. Thank you.
PAYNE: Of course. Yeah, happy to do it.
LIBRE: Thank you. Yeah. And just to begin, when and where were you born?
PAYNE: I was born in, the last day of the year, 1945, which is I think the day before the Baby Boom began, in Cleveland, Ohio. And grew up in Cleveland, and moved to Akron when I was in high school.
LIBRE: Can you tell me a little bit about your family? Do you have any siblings? Where were your parents from? What did they do?
PAYNE: Yeah. My parents were sort of, they were middle middle-class people. My mom’s family, my mom’s dad worked in a—and her mom were both Czech. Their parents had come from the Old Country. So, she was raised in the Czechoslovakian-Hungarian neighborhood of Cleveland. Her dad was a factory worker in one of the factories. And then, my dad lived in a neighborhood nearby. He was one of four siblings, also middle-class. His father died when he was 14, I believe, so he had to drop out of school at 14 and go to work to support his mother and his three younger brothers. This was during the Depression, and so he never had the opportunity to go to college, although he wanted to, and got his GED later.
And we grew up, lived, in the first five years we lived over my grandmother in the Czech neighborhood in a duplex, and then they bought a small house in Cleveland Heights, of people very much like them, the young marrieds with kids and all basically middle-class and middle middle-class people.
LIBRE: And do you remember—that’s actually, that’s very interesting that you had sort of both experiences, hanging out in an immigrant community initially, and then moving into Cleveland Heights thereafter. Do you have any recollections of what it was like in those first few years in the Czech neighborhood?
PAYNE: Sure. But mostly, though, my recollections are probably from, not from when I was five, but from going back to visit my grandparents, who lived there until I was actually out of college. Yeah, it was a nice neighborhood. There was brick streets. The Czechoslovakian Catholic church at one end of the street and the Hungarian Catholic church at the other. The neighbors often spoke Czech and Hungarian. There were Gypsy parades sometimes. Cleveland is a very East European ethnic city. Ultimately that neighborhood as the ghetto of Cleveland grew, that neighborhood got swallowed up by that, which is when my grandparents moved, which would have I think been in the early ‘70s when that happened.
Growing up in Cleveland Heights, it was nice. It was a nice place. We lived in a new development in a sort of wooded area. At the time I lived there, ours was the only street cut through. Others were platted and laid out, but ours was the only existing street. It was about two blocks long, and my memory is it was like a little village surrounded by woods because there were about 60 kids on that street and everybody went in and out of everybody else’s homes, and everybody’s parents were sort of surrogate parents. So it was very much like growing up in a little village.
LIBRE: That’s very interesting. And what kinds of stuff were you involved in growing up, you know, in high school?
PAYNE: Well, when I got to high school, I entered high school in Akron. We moved when I was in 9th grade, and I went to a really good high school in Akron, a big high school. I was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. I wrote some—that’s when the AP [Advanced Placement] courses were starting to come in. I got involved in a lot of those. I was president of the Latin Club, for those of us who were taking Latin, but the Latin Club became a sort of outpost for people alienated from majoritarian culture, I guess, the kids who tended to be more intellectual and used to write and perform plays a lot. So, I was really busy in high school, I remember. Between the course work and the extracurricular activities, I was a busy guy, and so… It’s now more than 50 years ago, Matt, so that’s about what I remember. I was just saying to someone, I don’t even remember my high school graduation. I’m sure I was there, but I don’t remember it at all.
LIBRE: Yeah, and I think it’s very interesting to hear, you know, what does come back and what your memories are. And I know you had said that your parents, because of their situation growing up and certain things that had happened to them, were not able to have the same sort of educational attainment that obviously you had.
PAYNE: No. No, my mom graduated from high school. You know, in those days, women didn’t go to higher education very often. And my dad was unable to go to college, even if they could have afforded it because of his own family situation. So they always—you know, I was the Baby Boom generation right after the war. People had just come through the Depression and the war, and they were anxious to get back to normal lives, and they did. And it was always expected. My parents did. It was just never—it was always a given that I would go to college. We didn’t know very much about it. I’m the first in my family to go to college. So, my parents were not particularly sophisticated about advising me on that, but it was a given that I was going to go.
LIBRE: Yeah. And so, I guess, looking forward from that high school experience, where…
PAYNE: I’m sorry. I just didn’t hear your question.
LIBRE: I was just—you were saying that it was a given that you would attend college and that you would be there. Where—you know, obviously this is the Dartmouth Vietnam Project. Can you explain a little bit about how you ended up looking at Dartmouth?
PAYNE: Yeah. I really—actually as I said, my parents were not sophisticated about colleges. It was assumed I would go to college, but the Ivy League was never really in their minds, I don’t think, probably because they thought it was, the Ivy Leagues were rich boys’ schools. So, I think we all sort of assumed I would go to an Ohio college, and they had some good ones: Oberlin [College, Oberlin, OH] and Denison [University, Granville, OH], Kenyon [College, Gambier, OH]. I know I was heavily recruited by Kenyon.
But, the Dartmouth thing was sort of an accident. I was into literature. I was reading Robert Frost in my high school. I loved his poetry. I always wanted to go to New England. And I applied early that academic year, like September probably, for a National Merit Scholarship. And by the way, and I got the Dartmouth catalog from our school library to look at the photos of New England. And in the application for the National Merit Scholarship, it asked me to list my first choice of colleges, and because Dartmouth was on my mind, I put down Dartmouth. And then, of course, since I put that down, I had to apply, which I did. I remember one of the—it was a difficult application—I remember one of the questions on the application that year was, “If you were the world’s greatest dying philosopher, on your death bed what would be your last message to the world in 50 words or less?” I don’t recall what I said, but I do remember the question.
At any rate, I got the National Merit Scholarship, and that was, I got the announcement of that in I think January. And then, shortly thereafter I got a letter from the Dartmouth admissions office saying that because I had committed to Dartmouth in my National Merit Scholarship and listed them as my first choice, they wanted to let me know that I would be getting a letter of admission on April 15th. And so, my dad and I and mom said I guess I should go up and see it.
So, my dad and I flew to Boston and drove up along the river. At that point there was no highway. It was a two-lane road, and I remember it was I think late March probably, early April, I don’t know. It was raining. It wasn’t snowing. It was a blinding rainstorm, and we drove up along the highway and checked into the Hanover Inn. And I think I told you earlier, the rain stopped and the moon came out, and I looked out the window and the moon was shining on Dartmouth Row, and I thought, You know, I think I could go here. And then, of course, I took a tour of the campus and met people and I really liked it a lot. So, but we decided, I decided that’s where I would go. And my parents committed to financing it, although it was really difficult for them.
LIBRE: Obviously, this must have been a huge moment for you, you know, both getting that letter saying that you would be extended an offer of admission, and also actually showing up and having Dartmouth and the experience itself becoming a reality physically and picturing yourself there. What was it like?
PAYNE: Yeah, it was very exciting. It was sort of, I was a little intimidated by it. I’d never been really away from home. I tended to be an introverted, kind of shy person. I know my parents were worried that I would… They were worried about two things. They were worried that Dartmouth would be a rich boys’ school, and that I wouldn’t fit in. And I found that not to be the case. Well, I mean, not that there weren’t rich people there, but I found there were a lot of people from my economic class there during the mid-‘60s. I think at that time Dartmouth served as more of a gateway for the middle class than it probably does now, unfortunately.
And I was concerned that having never really lived away from home and being sort of a shy guy, that I would be homesick, because I wouldn’t—Dartmouth was far enough away from my home in Ohio that I wouldn’t be able to come home very often, probably at Christmas only. As it turned out, I was homesick for a month or so, and then I never wanted to leave Dartmouth. I didn’t even want to come home for the summer. So, I loved being at Dartmouth. I loved New England, like I had been born in exile and saw my true homeland for the first time. And I loved being around—I really felt comfortable at Dartmouth. I was really—it had a real combination of commitment to intellectual achievement along with fun things. I remember in high school I was never particularly into the rah-rah cheerleading football squad stuff, you know, the cheer rallies for the football games. But at Dartmouth I remember helping to build the freshman bonfire, and looking up the bonfire at the guy standing above me and sticking out of his back pocket was a copy of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and I thought, You know, this is a place I really like. Yeah, you can do this kind of thing and still have a commitment to intellectual achievement, and not be considered odd because you’re interested in things like that, as you were in high school.
LIBRE: Yeah. And I guess, what about on the subject of the experience for you, you know, going from Cleveland, Ohio, to then go to New England to Hanover, New Hampshire? Did you feel like these are two socially very different places because it’s kind of like, yeah, it’s even fairly diverse, I think as you said, right? There was immigrant communities. Yeah, how did…
PAYNE: Yeah, it was less—I mean, the landscape was different, and I loved New England. I loved northern New England. I loved the north country, and I realized that except for two years since I’ve been 18, I have either lived in New Hampshire or Vermont or Minnesota, all of them very far north. So, I liked that kind of climate. So, there was the difference of landscape. But the social difference was, I don’t know that it’s the difference between Cleveland and New England, or Akron then and New England. It was the difference between high school, public high school, and Dartmouth. And while it was a really good public high school, I got really well educated there and had some really good teachers there, and had good friends. Socially I just felt much more at home at Dartmouth than I ever did in high school.
LIBRE: What was your first sort of recollection of the politics of the ‘60s? Was it in high school?
PAYNE: Yeah, it was high school, certainly. I mean, the civil rights movements really started in the early ‘60s, and the riots were going in the early ‘60s, or some riots were. I mean, the Bull Connor and what was going on in Selma [GA] and in Birmingham [AL], all of that was going on while I was a junior and senior in high school. The summer before my senior year in high school was the summer of 1963, which was it was that August that Martin Luther King spoke at the Lincoln Memorial and gave his I Have a Dream speech, and I had a bunch of my friends who thought similarly to me come over and watch that. My next-door neighbor was the principal of one of the chief inner city schools in Akron at the time, and she was always a spokesman for racial justice, which caused everyone else in the neighborhood, including my parents unfortunately, to look with great suspicion on her. So we were all sort of attuned to the civil rights issue.
And then, of course, my senior year the President [John F. Kennedy] was shot. And that sort of threw things into a… He was the first—there was an uneasiness about society, like, Is it going to hold? that I think started with that assassination, because it was so shocking and so unlike anything we had ever experienced before. And it was also the first time, by the way, that TV ever gave back-to-back coverage of any one event, so we watched it for the whole four days, from Friday until the funeral on Monday, including watching Lee Harvey Oswald get shot on live TV. It was just astonishing. But the sense of uneasiness that came out of that, I think was an uneasiness that simply sort of grew through the ’60s.
I don’t have a clear recollection of when the anti-war movement started, because as I told you in our pre-interview, the anti-war movement grew while I was at Dartmouth, while I was a freshman. There wasn’t much of a war. [President Lyndon B.] Johnson hadn’t—I think he was just starting to escalate it at that point, and I don’t know that people were paying very close attention. Obviously, guys who were older than I was who were being drafted were paying attention. But, the anti-war movement grew through a few years of teach-ins, and there was a professor at Dartmouth who was quite a scholar. He was a China scholar, Jonathan Mirsky, who gave often lectures against the war. And it was a slow process of sort of saying, You know, this isn’t World War II. We’re not fighting the Nazis. The war was always billed to us as a fight against Communism and the domino theory. And, of course, we had grown up in the Cold War, and we had grown up watching things like the Hungarian Revolution be put down. And so, that was the initial assumption.
And it was only over the course of several years that people began to say, “Well, you know, this is really a civil war” or “this is an imperialist war” or “this is a… we don’t really have an interest here. It’s not really a fight against Communism. You know, Ho Chi Minh is actually a national hero,” etc. etc. All those kinds of nuances—or not even nuances—all those kinds of perspectives grew over the course of my two to three years at Dartmouth. And of course they didn’t convince everybody. As I told you, not everybody at Dartmouth was anti-war. In fact, I don’t have any statistics on it, but judging from at least one event, I would guess it was probably about half and half. And some people, you know, just lived their lives and didn’t pay any attention to the war.
LIBRE: Right. You say one event. I know we had spoken a little bit about this before. Can you talk a little bit about, and you know, I’ve heard you and some others talk a little bit about this, but on lining up around the Green?
PAYNE: Yeah, they were lining up, yeah, on the Green, and I… [break in audio] Hello? Are you there, Matt?
PAYNE: Okay. I think that was my call waiting. So, yes, I think it occurred—I cannot recall really whether it occurred in my junior year or my senior year. I really can’t. I think it was my senior year. But, there was a peace movement at Dartmouth. And, you know, even people who were against the war really, these were activists and every Wednesday they would stand out on the Green in a single file line facing—they’d stand under the American flag on the Green right near Parkhurst, just stand in a line facing straight forward. And there were 10, 12, 15 people would show up on Wednesdays from noon to 1:00 or 1:00 to 2:00, I don’t remember, and just as a gesture against the war. And I think most people, even if they were against the war, felt that seemed a sort of futile thing to do, to just stand there, and it wasn’t affecting the war one way or the other.
But then, one week people who were, a group that was—and I forget what the group was. It might have been the Dartmouth Conservative Society, but I’m not really sur—they were in favor of the war, and they said they just wanted to demonstrate to Dartmouth that these peace activists were a small minority and they did not represent most students or faculty at Dartmouth, and therefore on that particular Wednesday they would come out and stand also and face these—they would stand in a line just the way the peace protestors were, and they would face the peace protestors. Well, when that became announced, a lot of people who opposed the war, but never bothered to stand, came out, too. And so did a lot of pro-war people. And the line, there was a silent—there were two lines of people, students and faculty, facing each other in silence for an hour. And it was long. It wound itself all over the Green and it was really long. There must have been hundreds of people out there. And it was a sort of a silent symbol of how divided the country was becoming over the war at that time.
LIBRE: And did you as a student—or obviously you were having intellectual conversations now. You were talking about Socialist views to some extent—and did you need this sort of events to sort of let you know that that is how the students, like they held these opinions and that’s how they felt? Or was this something, obviously it was an outward and very overt display of either you’re in one camp or you’re in the other, and it’s very clearly divided and there’s no majority.
PAYNE: Oh, no, I think there was lots of conversation about it. I mean, I think, as I said, I think the opposition to the war grew slowly over a few years. When we came… It was Kennedy’s assassination that I think first shook our faith in government in the sense that you saw that government wasn’t in control, for some reason. And then, that just grew over the course of the few years. So, I think ultimately… These two lines probably did occur my senior year, and I think by that time people were divided. But, the division grew, and it grew through conversation. There were teach-ins, there were lectures, there were all sorts of conversations.
So, and I have to say, many of us were torn about it, because we’ve always thought our country did the right thing. So, we were the heroes in World War II, right? I mean, that’s how we grew up, thinking we had saved the world from Nazis. So, it was difficult for many of us, I think, to accept the fact that what we were doing in Vietnam was wrong. And some people never did accept that, and some people sort of accepted it’s complex, it’s nuanced. Everyone had a sort of nuanced view, but it ultimately came down to whether you thought we should be in Vietnam or not in Vietnam. And I think by the time of this line, or this standing in line, that people had, at least enough of these people had formulated an opinion that they knew they were either pro- the war in Vietnam or anti- the war in Vietnam.
LIBRE: Yeah, and so this was certainly a difficult thing to digest. World War II was an ideologically easy war to support, right, in a lot of ways, for sure.
LIBRE: And being from the baby boomer generation, sort of a product of the war, and seeing so much of the worldview of the United States coming out of it, even I’m sure this must have been an incredibly difficult thing to wrestle with sort of to see. And I’m sure that—how did this affect, as you said, the early ‘60s was really the first time that you felt you didn’t necessarily have, you couldn’t have the exact same level of trust in the government?
PAYNE: Well, yeah, that level of distrust grew. You know, you’ve probably read about the credibility gap, that people didn’t believe Lyndon Johnson a lot. And then, of course, certainly the draft must have played a part in it because as the war escalated, more and more people kept getting drafted, and the body count kept getting higher. And it was also, just as Kennedy’s assassination was a sort of TV event, this war was a TV event, and there was, as I recall, not a lot of military censorship, and so you were seeing on TV what was happening in your name in Vietnam. And there are some images that are sort of indelibly etched on you, you know, the execution of the Viet Cong by the shot to the head and that little girl running naked having been bombed with Napalm, all of this. I just have to go back to say that this anti-war opinion is something that grew over time. And it was sort of, I think, agonizing for people that had grown up just assuming that their country was always a force for good and was always in the right.
LIBRE: So, given that, can you talk a little about activities and groups that you were involved with this effort? I know you talked a little bit about teach-ins being something that started to pick up and Dartmouth [inaudible]
PAYNE: Yeah, on campus I was involved in a bunch of things. I was one of the four people that formed the Dartmouth Experimental College, which was our junior year, which was Bob Reich and I and two guys who were from lower classes, not from the Class of ’68: Bob Harrington [‘70] and Ron [Ronald M.] Silverman [‘69]. And the Dartmouth Experimental College was modeled on the Berkeley Free University. So, the DEC was the second free university in the country. And it was basically, it was all part of, there were other things going on in the ‘60s, Matt. In addition to the war and the civil rights movement, there was a whole movement towards educational reform and towards a relevance, and now a term that I abhor, but it was on everyone’s lips at the time; there was a whole focus on poverty that people—Michael Harrington’s book, The Other America, had come out then. So, it was a mixture of all of these things.
But the DEC was part of the educational reform movement. And what it did was people just formed—people could decide “I’m gonna be in charge of a course,” and they’d decide what the course was and they would get people to come teach it. Sometimes it was Dartmouth faculty, sometimes it was outside lecturers, sometimes it would be, if I recall—it’s a long time ago now—the course would be a series of, it would go one or two or three times. Sometimes it would just be a one-time lecturer. There was a DEC course catalog. And I think it was pretty successful. I don’t know. I think it only went on for a year or two, or we stepped out. So I was involved in that. I was involved in things like Green Key. I don’t know if you still have that.
LIBRE: We do.
PAYNE: Yeah, I guess they still wear beanies and white bucks like the way we had to do?
LIBRE: Well, it’s not… [laughter]
LIBRE: We don’t wear those anymore.
PAYNE: Oh, okay. Oh, I was involved in, I pledged a fraternity. I pledged Delta Upsilon, which later, two years after I had pledged we made the decision—or the one year after I pledged we made the decision to drop out of the national because of some of its racist policies. And we called it Foley House, named after Al [Allen R.] Foley [’20], who was a favorite history professor at Dartmouth. And that was a really interesting fraternity. Again, it was not your usual rah-rah fraternity. I was a combination of people who were pretty much involved in student politics or student government. There was the editor of The Dartmouth was there, the head of WDCR was there, and then a bunch of theater people. Really an interesting place.
And we tried to reform the fraternity system by pledging faculty members. And that didn’t really work very well, but we would have these associate members and we would try to have cocktail parties with the faculty members to sort of get to know them better, and they got to know us better. Alan [T.] Gaylord, the professor who taught Chaucer who was a great professor, came over one weekend and we had a keg of beer and he read The Miller’s Tale in Middle English for us, which is quite bawdy and was lots of fun. And we had chamber recitals. So it was an unusual fraternity. The thing about the fraternity was, everyone who was a member of it sort of, it was their fourth priority. They all had better things to do with their lives than fraternities.
So, ultimately I ended up my junior year, at the end of my junior year I was elected along with Bob [Robert] Reich [‘68] and some others to Palaeopitus. Reich was the president of the student government. And that was the year that the people who were elected to Palaeopitus were not your general student government types. The people who had been involved in student government all, since we were freshmen who tended to not be concerned with things like the war, civil rights or educational reforms, this was an interesting sweep. In addition to Reich and I who had formed the DEC and had just gone to the National Student Association Convention on student power, another Palaeopitus member was the president of the Afro-American Society. Another one was the president of the Students for a Democratic Society, in addition, of course, to the people who were the head of the Dartmouth, the Interdormitory Council and Interfraternity Council.
So it was a pretty—it was a Palaeopitus that was not characteristic of past Palaeopiti—or was there a plural to that? And I remember the dean coming up, Dean [Thaddeus “Thad”] Seymour, who was great, saying, “This is going to be a historic year. Let’s not make it too historic,” or sort of words to that effect.
LIBRE: And did you feel at that stage you made—it sounds like it would be incredibly [inaudible] and even in your fraternity Foley House and Palaeopitus, of course, at the time was truly a fairly political organization, or at least these are voices in discussions that were being had. And do you feel like, were you all, even within these groups, that there was a large diversity of opinion, and sort of background of what they thought about the war, about sort of social movements?
PAYNE: Within the groups, within Palaeopitus and within Foley House there was probably less diversity of opinion than on the campus as a whole, because, you know, fraternities tend to be like-minded people. And so, I don’t recall… I’m sure we had one very prominent conservative at Foley House, very smart, who also he went on to clerk for Chief Justice [Warren E.] Burger, and he was probably the only conservative voice in my fraternity that I remember. But that’s the fraternity. Dartmouth, the wider Dartmouth was a far different story. There were conservative fraternities. There were fraternities that were very unlike Foley House.
LIBRE: And yeah, I guess, were there any accomplishments and things that you feel like you brought to Dartmouth as a member of these groups that you really felt like you had a big sort of, you had portable achievement for you all, doing the work that you were doing?
PAYNE: No. I think the Dartmouth Experimental College, which was actually Reich’s brain child, was a good accomplishment. I think we did raise some issues about education, about curriculum. I think looking back on it, we were fairly arrogant about how much we knew. You know, I don’t know that I—in fact, looking back on all of those things that I did in the years of 18 to 22 or 23, I don’t know how much good any of it did. But we were young and trying to figure things out, and trying to act as though we were adults. But we all had limited experience, limited knowledge. So, but yeah, Dartmouth was, we were certainly active there. The year before my senior year was the George Wallace riot, as you might recall that, hearing about that.
PAYNE: And I had a marginal part in it, but I always regretted… Wallace had spoken at Dartmouth before. And, you know, at Dartmouth if you say something funny, Dartmouth guys sometimes applaud you rather than just laugh. And I was told--I don’t know this, but we were told that when Wallace had spoken at Dartmouth before, he said he was the biggest supporter of the Negro that Alabama had ever had, and people laughed and applauded because they thought it was funny. And then he went back to Alabama and said, “When I was at Dartmouth, I was applauded ‘X’ number of times. They have people up there that think just like we do.” So, we published—we had mimeographs then. We had no email or computers, but we went to a mimeograph machine and we wrote up, “This is what happened last time, guys.” And published, and mimeographed all these flyers and passed them out as people were going into the house, and basically saying, “Don’t applaud,” you know. “He’ll misinterpret it. He’ll misconstrue it.”
And what happened, of course, was really a riot. He was not only not applauded; he was jeered down, not allowed to speak, people surrounded his car. It was awful, if you’re a First Amendment supporter as I am. And so, it was my first lesson that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And it was a lot of soul-searching. We had big meetings at the Hop, huge meetings with lots of students to just talk about that. We talked about what happened. That was a very growing experience.
LIBRE: Can you tell me about just sort as you became a junior and a senior, well, you’re leaving Dartmouth, and can you tell me a little bit about the draft and how it sort of—how you saw your role, and how it might be in terms of the war?
PAYNE: I didn’t hear the question, Matt, for some reason. There’s a plane going overhead and I…
LIBRE: No worries. Can you tell me a little bit about the draft? And obviously, you were a junior and a senior, and all of a sudden…
PAYNE: Yeah. We began to be concerned with… We all, of course, you know, one of the things that I’ve always wondered, and I think, is how much the threat of being draft affected our opinions on the war, which is, and I think it affected people’s opinions a lot if they had a personal stake in it, and I think that’s probably why they abolished the draft because it’s a lot easier to carry on a war when your soldiers aren’t rebelling. But, my year, I graduated in ’68, and everyone who was an undergraduate had a 2-S deferment, and everyone who went on to graduate school could continue that deferment. And in ’67 they have changed the law and basically abolished graduate deferments, or deferments for graduate school, and that would start my year. That would start with kids who were graduating in ’68. And I just did a little research because I couldn’t remember, but apparently the law said that the President could designate the exemptions, and I didn’t research enough to know which he did designate, but I can tell you from memory that people who went to medical school were deferred. They continued to get grad school deferments. And people who went to divinity school did also. I don’t remember what other ones might.
But anyway, ours was the first class where going on to study history or whatever, getting on a Ph.D., whatever, would not be getting a graduate school deferment. And that was a big issue. I was part of the—there was a meeting of the Ivy League student governments that winter, I think, winter or early spring, and one of the things that we were going to opine on was our opinion on the abolition of graduate school deferments. It was a big fight within that group, that Hap Ridgway [‘68] and I, who he’s also a Class of ’68—he was a Palaeopitus—he and I represented Dartmouth on that. And that was a big fight. There were, my memory is that Princeton [University] and Penn [UPenn] maybe were pretty pro-war, or at least not anti-war. And then Columbia [University] was way off and wanted to come out with a strong statement against the graduate deferment abolition. And Dartmouth joined with Brown [University] and Yale [University] and Harvard [University], and said that the issue is not the abolition of graduate school deferments; the issue is the war itself, and that there was no reason why people who were fortunate enough to go to grad school should be exempt, which by the way was the argument earlier when they amended the draft law to abolish the graduate deferments. There was an effort in Congress to abolish all student deferments, saying for that same principle of equity. But, that never passed Congress.
LIBRE: And yeah, obviously as a representative of Dartmouth, how did you find yourself on this committee?
PAYNE: Oh, I was representing—I was on Palaeopitus. Hap and I were both on Palaeopitus. And this was an annual meeting of representatives of all the Ivy League student governments, and so we were there representing Dartmouth because we were on Palaeopitus.
LIBRE: And going forward with that, what were your personal opinions on this? And also, how did the draft affect you directly? Were you getting a draft notice or was…
PAYNE: Yeah, I was worried about it, I remember. And as I think I told you, there was a lot of unrest at the time, and there was a Dartmouth graduate, Jim Copperthwaite who, I think he was a ’62 or ’61 or ’63. He was four or five or six years older than we were, and he was at the time—he was a radical—he was at the time, he was working through the Dartmouth Christian Union with some religiously based underground in Brazil, which at that time was under the dictatorship of [Joao] Goulart. I don’t know exactly what he was doing, but he had the reputation as being a not necessarily a radical, but an agitator, an activist for social justice, and I think the administration thought, Well, this is some guy, he’s young and he can speak to the students. And they brought him back and made him assistant dean, and we all called him Jim and not Dean Copperthwaite, and he became our draft counselor basically, among other things. We could go and talk with him. And I remember he told me, “You know, if you have a legitimately—I know you’re opposed to the war, and there are lots of people here who are going to jail or going to Canada…” At least one of my fraternity brothers went to Canada. Others went to jail. Others were sort of burning draft cards—he basically said, “Don’t be a martyr. You can do a lot more good not being a martyr if you can find a legitimate way to get out of the draft.”
And I had a history of severe allergies, in fact, that I was still being treated for even during my freshman and sophomore year at Dartmouth, and that history… I remember there was a letter from my doctor describing the history which must have gone to my draft board. It must have been my senior year, I don’t recall when, but I got a 1-Y deferment, which is sort of like a 4-F. 4-F is a physical deferment. It’s people that are just not physically capable of being in the military. But, as a 1-Y is “we preferred not to have you because of this history, but in a national emergency you can be called up.” So I had the 1-Y, which essentially insulated me from the draft. And that must have happened at the end of my senior year, I think. I just don’t recall.
LIBRE: So you, going forward, once you got this notice that you were not going to be drafted, where did that, where did you feel like that you put you as someone [inaudible] and what your duty was, or a certain one way—do you have any thoughts on that?
PAYNE: Yeah. Well, I still was an activist at the time, and I mean, I still felt like I had some obligation. So, but also I had a really good graduate fellowship that I got. I was a Senior Fellow at Dartmouth and this was a fellowship at Indiana University that would have continued the kind of thing I was researching. But, I felt like I ought to do something, and so I found this position, and it was mostly anti-poverty work, Matt, rather than anti-war work, because as I said, this was all sort of in the mix of the ‘60s. Civil rights and anti-poverty and educational reform and the anti-war movement, they were all sort of mixed in, and ultimately that moved into the women’s movement and the gay liberation movement and all that.
But at the time it was the anti-poverty movement that I was concerned with, and I, through the Dartmouth Christian Union, I found a volunteer position for the summer after I graduated at Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, Kentucky, which is the heart of southern Appalachia. And so, I spent a summer down there, which was my attempt to do something to combat the effects of poverty. So my job there was two days a week I would work in some of the school’s recreational programs that they had in some of the surrounding hollows, and then three days a week I assisted two VISTA volunteers who were stationed at the school, and what they did was teach Neighborhood Youth Corps classes. The Neighborhood Youth Corps was an anti-poverty program to provide jobs to unemployed youth who were basically like 18 to 22, and but a requirement of getting a job through the Neighborhood Youth Corps was you had to go to class one day a week. Most of these kids who were in the Neighborhood Youth Corps, at least in Appalachia, had dropped out of school sometime before the 6th grade, but they were our age essentially and with less than a 6th grade education.
So, Lou and Sue, the two VISTA volunteers, and I taught in different counties each day. They taught four days a week. They taught in four different counties, the four poorest counties in eastern Kentucky at that time. And I taught with them three of those days. So, we were basically, these were kids with less than a 6th grade education, so we were basically teaching reading and math and geography. It was astonishing actually. So, that’s what I did with that anti-poverty summer.
LIBRE: And I’m sure that must be—can you talk a little bit about your experience then? You said you came from a middle-class Akron, Ohio, where your parents had not been able to go to college, and then you go to Hanover, New Hampshire, to Dartmouth, to what your family worried was going to be like a rich boys’ school. And then, to then go to Kentucky. How did it feel to sort of be jarred around that way and to sort of experience…you know, did you feel— [Both talk at the same time.]
PAYNE: Go ahead. I’m sorry.
LIBRE: Well, yeah, I wonder, and maybe this wasn’t ever your intention, but did you feel like you having been the first person in your family to go to college, that influenced you to want to help kids in other areas towards this goal?
PAYNE: Yeah, absolutely. But it was mostly shocking to me that… I mean, this place I was in in Kentucky was an eight-hour drive from my home in Ohio. And my old Dartmouth roommate, he was a rich boy, and his graduation present was a trip through Europe. He went on with another friend. And I was getting postcards from him from Paris and Rome, and I thought, Gee, I’m here in Hindman, Kentucky, feeling far more culture shock than he’s probably feeling in Paris and Rome right now, because this was it was really out of my experience, I mean, even high school. I mean, the ethic of high school is very different from the ethic of Dartmouth, but they were educated kids. And these kids were, they were people my age sometimes who couldn’t read, or couldn’t read well. And there were some of them who did not have a very good idea what the United States was, which was shocking to me. Not all of them by any means. But, they didn’t really have a very good conception of what it was. Their extent of geography was knowing about Cincinnati and Detroit, which was where some of their older brothers had gone to get jobs. That being said— [Both talk at the same time.] Go ahead.
[Both talk at the same time.] It was just shocking to me, and I remember we calculated once, the two VISTAs and I—they were my lifeline there because there really wasn’t a lot to do in Hindman, Kentucky, a town of 800. I can tell you another story. Usually after class we had to drive a long way to get to whatever county we were going to go to, so it was like an hour drive home back to the school after class or more with these winding mountain roads, and it was always incredibly hot. It was hot and humid. That’s what I remember a lot about it. But on Thursdays we taught right in Hindman. The students we taught came to the Settlement School, and so we were off early. And I said, “Well, what do you do when you’re off early?” And they said, “Oh, it’s great. We go down to the drugstore, the air-conditioned drugstore, and we get a Coke or a soda, and then we go to the air-conditioned library and we read the new magazines like Time. And I thought, My God, really? You look forward to that every week? And I can tell you by the end of the summer I was really looking forward to Thursdays when I could have an air-conditioned Coke and read an air-conditioned magazine.
LIBRE: Wow. It’s sort of a change in perspective, I guess, then. And…
PAYNE: I’m sorry?
LIBRE: Yeah, sort of a change of perspective there that, you know, all of a sudden you…
PAYNE: Yeah, it sure was. It sure was, yeah. We also watched, I remember watching the Republican Convention with my VISTA friends, which is when they nominated [Richard M.] Nixon and [Spiro] Agnew, who we did not support. I remember, we figured out at one point that the total anti-poverty budget, not just Neighborhood Youth Corps, but totally for the four counties we were working in was probably, it probably wouldn’t run the war in Vietnam for more than a minute or so, and then being outraged at that. That was the summer that the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia. I remember that there were two older ladies who worked at the school, sort of missionary types—they were stationed there—the kinds who were, they were old religious missionary types, and they paid attention to the news, but always sort of got it wrong. So I remember them telling me in alarm that Czechoslovakia had just invaded Russia, which of course made no sense at all. But, I remember that for some reason.
LIBRE: Going forward from there, where did this take you from there? Doing something…
PAYNE: Yeah, well, I went to grad school at Indiana, had an all-paid fellowship, and I have to say, it was—I don’t know, you haven’t experienced grad school yet, but it was in an academic discipline and they, the people wrote monographs and it was their attempt, perfectly legitimate, they expected to make us into scholars and teachers. And I can tell you, having been through the anti-war movement and the other politics at Dartmouth, and having seen Appalachia, just being aware of what was going on in the country at that time, because the war was still going on and the civil rights movement was still going on. The civil rights movement by this time had evolved from the Martin Luther King era to more of the Stokely Carmichael era. That started to happen when I was at Dartmouth. Actually as a freshman, I heard Malcolm X speak in Spaulding [Auditorium] about a month before he was assassinated.
But, so at any rate, being in grad school, it just didn’t seem like I was doing the right thing, that being a teacher scholar in an obscure subject just didn’t seem like a good use of my time. So, I said I was going to take a leave of absence, and I ended up deciding not to come back. But, after a summer of sort of wondering what I was going to do next, I got the job in the ghetto in Cleveland. And the way I got it had to do with the war, too. It was one of my Dartmouth colleagues, another Class of ’68 member who I still see all the time, and vacation with sometimes because—Andy Epstein [‘68], he had been accepted to [Case] Western Reserve Medical School, and of course, there were deferments for medical schools, and but unfortunately the medical school couldn’t take him that year of ’68 to ’69, but they could take him the following year. So, to keep him out of the draft and keep him on, I don’t know how it worked, but they found him this job helping at this family health care center in the Cleveland ghetto, which is very near Western Reserve, and for a year. And when his year was up, he was going to enroll in medical school.
Well, his year was up. And I was talking to him, because he was living in Cleveland and I was living in Akron, and he said, “You should talk with my boss.” And I went in and interviewed with his boss, who hired me on the spot to take Andy’s position. David became one of my first real mentors. In fact, he just died around Christmas at the age of 89, and unfortunately his memorial service which is going to be in June has been cancelled because of the COVID issues. But, he was a friend and a mentor all the rest of my life. Anyway, David hired me, and so for almost a year I worked as just an administrative assistant. I am a sort of a jack of all trades. And this is again a poverty program issued in the ghetto in Cleveland, so I could live at home with my parents and then just drive into Cleveland, and then drive home at night. And it was a, I still look at it as the best job I ever had, in terms of a growing experience. It just stretched me in all sorts of ways. For one thing, I was a minority. I mean, there weren’t a lot of white people there, and I was one of them, and that’s a useful experience to experience that for the first time, to feel like you are not a member of the majority here racially.
But, the health center had two purposes. It was intended to provide community health care to residents of the ghetto, which were mostly black, but there was one little neighborhood, a Croatian neighborhood that it also served. And it was just family health care, you know. We had x-rays and labs and we had physicians on staff and provided family health care. And it served, I think it was 30,000 residents. It might have been 50,000. But it was a lot. We served those residents of the ghetto and of the Croatian neighborhood. And the other purpose it had was to train community members from the ghetto to be health care workers. So, you know, our x-ray technicians, our lab technicians, our medical records people, the nurses, janitors, they were all people from the ghetto, and these were jobs and they were being trained.
Well, I remember that, you know, we never—and this was one of David’s… David was about 15 years older than I am, but when he was about 30 he was the head of the Metropolitan General Hospital in Cleveland, which is a huge position. So he was sort of a wunderkind as a hospital administrator. And then he left that to go run this health center in the ghetto. But, one of his practices was, everyone was addressed as Mr. or Ms., so that I would call the janitor “Mr. Hill.” He would call me “Mr. Payne,” but it wasn’t, as you would often find, where the lower staff people were addressed—only the top administrators as Mr. and Ms. You addressed everyone there not matter how low their position was. And that was all part of this culture of inculcating respect. And I remember, I just learned so many things that year. It just stretched me in all sorts of ways.
LIBRE: Yeah, how did that going forward help you to draw strength and feed what you wanted to do for the rest of your life? These were immense problems societally that you wanted to continue fighting against or…
PAYNE: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. It certainly did. I mean, I wanted to be part of this—we were in Cleveland that year. That was the year Carl Stokes was mayor of Cleveland, who was the first black mayor in the country. You know, it’s interesting just because of the weekend we’re in with the riots all over the country, as I told you earlier, sometimes today, this week has sometimes had the feel of the ‘60s of things falling apart. But one real advance that’s been made, as I was watching TV today, and the Attorney General of Minnesota is on it, and he’s black, and the mayor of St. Paul is on and he’s black, and our Commissioner of Public Safety is on and he’s black, and a Dartmouth graduate, by the way. And I’m looking at the mayor of Atlanta who is black and the mayor of Washington who is black. A lot of the leaders are black and Afro-American, and that would just not have happened in the ‘60s. So, that’s at least some sign of progress, which gives me some hope. It says this is not quite the same as the ‘60s.
But it certainly, it did affect how I wanted to go forward. Ultimately, David, my mentor, left the health center. He had an opportunity to—there was a special grant, health care grant. I don’t need to go into the details, but it was a federal grant and the object was to try to create a sort of integrated and rational health care system on sort of the HMO [health maintenance organization] model, etc., but only covering an entire state, and they chose Vermont because it was small and could probably do it. And David was hired to go to Vermont and try to oversee this program. And he asked me to come with him to be his assistant, so I left and I did do that because I jumped at the chance to go back to New England and I jumped at the chance to have a little more time to think about what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I did not want to go back to graduate school at that point.
And it was at that job where I was ending up, we were doing community organizing and health care, and I was running public hearings and issuing decisions on things, and I thought, You know, it would help to have a law degree, and a law degree will give me those skills that I can use in public service, those skills that I felt were sorely lacking when I was at Appalachia certainly, and were not quite as lacking but weren’t well developed when I was in the ghetto. So, a law degree would give me some of those skills. So it was my intention to become a health care lawyer. I came to Minnesota for that following because I could afford it. My parents and I had a deal: they’d pay for Dartmouth and I’d pay for anything else. And a Dartmouth fraternity brother had come here and done really well, president of the Law Review, and gone on to clerk at the Supreme Court. So I came to Minnesota, thinking I would only spend a few years here, and then go back East. But I’ve been here since 1972 now.
LIBRE: And your work, and going forward, and I think it’s very interesting to hear— obviously we’re talking in the modern context, you know. How do you feel—you know, this is something that I think you’re particularly well suited toward because you experienced part of being in the ‘60s and the unrest and the social movements—how exactly now are you feeling, you know, sort of seeing and processing what’s going on in America right now, especially in Minneapolis with regard to…
PAYNE: Yeah, we’re under curfew tonight again. There were National Guard helicopters flying over my house last night, and two friends came over who live near ground zero to shelter in my basement last night because they didn’t want to be near the center of action. And you could occasionally get a smell of tear gas. It has a feel of the ‘60s in the sense of the combination of the pandemic and of the economic collapse and of the rioting or the civil disorder. It’s not the same thing that was happening in the ‘60s, but it has the same feeling of having a sense that the center is not holding, that things are falling apart and that you don’t know… of having leadership in Washington that seems contrary to what you want to see being done, which certainly was the case in Vietnam; it certainly is the case now, at least for me; and the sort of sense that you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t necessarily know things are going to be all right. And that’s certainly the sense we had in the ‘60s. I remember not knowing that, not having confidence that things would be all right.
LIBRE: I’m sure that’s the jarring feelings could be brought right back. As you said, the progress we’ve made to be—it certainly is a very different place than the ‘60s in many ways, but obviously still is the truth here how some things that have really lasted, and that it’s still it’s an ongoing struggle [inaudible] have a conversation about, right?
PAYNE: It is an ongoing struggle, and I regret especially that we haven’t made more progress in the civil rights, in the racial justice movement. In Minnesota it troubles me. I give to a lot of organizations intended to eliminate the educational gap, racial educational gap here. It’s generally an area filled with people of good will who generally support racial justice, and yet the inequality gap here is big, and I don’t quite get it, to be honest with you. I don’t quite get it. But, it troubles me. And, you know, it’s not to say that no progress has been made. As I said, it’s just seeing all those Afro-American faces in positions of leadership on the TV this morning tells me things have at least in that regard changed. I remember the summer I was in Appalachia was the first summer you ever saw black people appearing in TV advertisements. You never saw a black face in a TV ad before that summer. And I remember those two ladies I mentioned to you who got the Czechoslovakian Russian invasion mixed up, were outraged at that, outraged, that why would they use Afro-Americans in TV advertisements? So, things have changed, but they just haven’t changed fast enough.
In other movements I was involved in, things did change. I did not become a health care lawyer. I ended up joining a public interest law firm right after law school, where we did a lot of First Amendment and environmental work and civil rights work, and civil commitment things, sex discrimination. But I ended up becoming very much involved in the environmental fights, and became an environmental lawyer, and ended up doing that full-time. Starting in 1984, I became a full-time environmental lawyer. And there’s been an enormous progress in environmental issues, and solving air and water pollution, cleaning up Superfund sites. And, you know, my law firm and I, we were engaged in that fight here in Minnesota from the beginning, so I’ve seen a lot of changes for the good there. Now we have the climate crisis, which I’m more discouraged about, but because it takes so much more concerted and unified action around the globe and political action, which it takes more political will than I see right now to solve that problem. So, that’s discouraging.
LIBRE: You know, another part, and I’m not sure if this was on the forefront at maybe in your experience at Dartmouth, and then sort of the early ‘60s, but in really your entire, the rest of your career you devoted yourself toward, you started environmental justice and environmental, you know…
PAYNE: No, just saying I’m an environmental lawyer doesn’t always necessarily mean I represented environmental sides. So, you know, I have represented all sides of environmental disputes. I’ve represented environmental groups and citizen groups, but I’ve also represented big companies and I represented one of the biggest clients I have here was the University of Minnesota. It’s amazing how many environmental problems a big university has. But, I represented mining companies here, too. I represented 3M. You know, I’ve always said when I left the public interest firm to join a big firm, and I left it so I could be a full-time environmental lawyer. But the people that have environmental problems are those that are being regulated. And I have often said to my friends, you know, I’ve done far more for the environment acting in my client’s interest and advising big companies. I can say to a company, “You know, the law doesn’t allow you to do this, so stop, get those tanks up out of the ground or you have to close down this line” or whatever.
But, I remember, it’s fun at cocktail parties when people say, “What do you do?” and you say, “I’m an environmental lawyer,” and they say, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re defending the environment.” And then you say, “I represent the mining companies,” and then there’s this huge look of suspicion on their face. And they don’t quite get the nuances. I’ve learned that in environmental issues there aren’t just two sides to a dispute; there generally are about eight. And solving, if you’re a good environmental lawyer, what you are is a problem solver and trying to balance all the different interests that have to be put together. I mean, no one creates pollution because they want to pollute. Pollution is a byproduct of something else, which is generally good. So you have to figure out how to do it right.
LIBRE: Right. And just sort of, and I meant to connect that back a little to mention, I mean, obviously the start of the movement there, where you see Silent Spring, [by Rachel Carson] and maybe it wasn’t as apparent until afterwards that the US’s role in Vietnam was actually, as I’m sure you know, incredibly environmentally destructive. Agent Orange.
PAYNE: And I have to say, the environmental issues… I’ve always loved the outdoors. It was one of the reasons I liked Dartmouth so much. I loved, as I said, I grew up in a neighborhood which we were surrounded by woods. I used to spend my childhood out in the woods. I used to be upset when they would cut a new road through and my woods were going to be cut down.
But, to be honest with you, Matt, in the ‘60s, environment wasn’t very high on my radar, and it even wasn’t high on my radar when I went to law school. Health care was what I was working in at the time. It became high on my radar because of this public interest firm I joined happened to represent the Sierra Club locally. They happened to have drafted the major environmental statutes in Minnesota, so we had created a sort of infrastructure of environmental law here. And then I got involved in a very big national case as a young lawyer. I mean, I was working under a senior partner, but I had great experience as a young lawyer on a national case for the National Audubon Society, working against a major water project in North Dakota and trying to stop it and we won. But it was an eight-year battle.
So, the ‘60s I have to say probably got me committed to trying to fix things that are wrong, but the environment as a particular subject really wasn’t on my radar until after law school, after I joined this law firm. And then, my change as I’ve—you know, I went into it as a crusader, and then I got tired as the laws grew and it became more—laws grew and the ethic in the ‘70s was will there be environmental protection? And that’s what the laws ensured. And at some point, you know, the generations change and people become committed to environmental protection, and environmental cases become more nuanced and more complex, and it’s not a question anymore of “should we preserve the environment?” It’s “How?” And that’s when you need problem solvers. So, I think I grew up, too. I began to see crusading, at least in a situation where you’ve basically won the war, as not a particularly effective tool.
LIBRE: As a way to, wrapping up your reflections on this, you know, sort of looking back on the ‘60s and the early ‘70s and the work you did and all that you saw, and then fast forwarding to today, do you feel like that we’re almost experiencing sort of just a similar sort of, a similar wave of consciousness, you know, social consciousness, whether it be environmental or political, military? Do you think it’s something that we’re seeing again today?
PAYNE: Certainly in the police—the police killing of black men is something that is worse, I mean, that hasn’t changed. So I think the racial divisions and the racial disparities are… I think a lot of, certainly, I mean, there’s no denying that a lot of progress has been made since the ‘60s, but, you know, it’s not enough, and, you know, they’re still there, and so that still needs working on. The other, I don’t—you know, the environment, I think we’ve made a lot of progress on. I think climate change is going to present a huge challenge. On poverty, at the time, you know, we were looking at poverty like migrant farmworkers and Appalachia, and I have to say looking back on it, I sometimes think I as a young man, I took too much of an anthropological perspective and didn’t really view some of the Appalachian folks as real people, because they were more like—they were new to me. Then, that’s a perspective I’m hopefully more adult about now.
The problem seems to me right now is income inequality and that kind of social justice. I’m hoping that the pandemic, not that you want a pandemic to solve problems, but I’m hoping that the pandemic, which has sort of been an MRI on every one of our weaknesses in our society where you see that the essential workers tend to be racial minorities and tend to be underpaid, and these are all the people we’re depending on while we can shelter in our homes. And I’m hoping that we’ll come out of this with a renewed sense of commitment to solving that. It’s a basic problem of justice, I think, and it’s easy to forget when you’re living well. So, and I think now, so if there’s anything good that came out of the pandemic maybe, it will be that.
What I fear, and I have to say what the pandemic shows is, you know, people always say in a crisis, everyone becomes an animal, and we’ve learned that’s not true. In a crisis, people often are their best selves. But, there is a dark side here, too, and, you know, I have fears which way the country will choose in November. I think they were—I just, it makes me nervous. I’m very nervous about that, because I think another, I think a wrong choice will just have a—will make problems not reparable anymore. I mean, we cannot postpone dealing with climate change for four years. We cannot postpone some of these things for four years. And by the way, I’m a moderate. I may sound like a radical, but I’m not. I’m really not. I used to vote Republican even, sometimes, not anymore.
LIBRE: Yeah, I think that’s definitely… [inaudible] reflection on… in summary, and yeah, that you do see a lot of the worst things over and over again, and also glaring problems that needed to be addressed back then and that still need to be addressed…
LIBRE: Right. Yeah, and I think to reflect on that is one of the main things we can do.
PAYNE: Yeah. Well, one of the things that 50 years has taught me in the environmental movement and others, I mean, I’ve seen the women’s movement, I’ve seen the gay movement, all of these things, problems can be solved if people of good will come together and decide to solve them, you know, and have the political will to solve them, and have the political clout to solve them.
LIBRE: Yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing all this.
PAYNE: Yeah. It’s been fun.
LIBRE: Is there anything you feel like you would like to address or say, or any notes?
PAYNE: No. But I have to say that, I think a lot of this commitment, I mean, it was shaped by Dartmouth. You know, Dartmouth… When I first got to Appalachia and I drove down there through eight hours and I was taken to my room, which was awful, you know. We all shared a bathroom and there was only a bathtub and it was sulphur water, so it smelled terrible. I opened my closet and there was a tree branch in there on which to hang my clothes, and it was 90˚ and humid. And none of the people I was going to work with were there. They were all teaching or out in the hollows, and I was greeted by these two older ladies. And I thought, You know, I’m just gonna turn around and go home. This is all volunteer. There’s nothing that requires me to stay here. And then two things happened, which is one, I woke up to the sound of bluegrass. The people had come back and they were all down on the porch playing bluegrass music. And then I thought, You know, I’m here for Dartmouth. Dartmouth got me this job and it would reflect ill on Dartmouth if I were not to follow through on this. And the other thing is, Dartmouth instilled in you, I think, or at least it did when I was there, the sense of the world’s problems are your problems, and that from those to whom much is given, much is expected. And, you know, we at Dartmouth were given a whole lot, so… So those are my final reflections, I guess.
LIBRE: Thank you so much for your time today. And yeah, it’s incredibly meaningful what you just said and I think it may help… It’s a good thing for a student today and a student currently to know and reflect on that, and while I’m still here, I think it is incredibly important to know here, and then going forward.
PAYNE: Thanks, Matt.
[End of Interview.]