I certainly wasn't seeking any degree, the way a college confers a status symbol upon its students. My homemade education gave me, with every additional book that i read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness and blindness that was afflicting the black race in america. Not long ago, an english writer telephoned me, asking questions. One was, "what's your alma mater?" i told him, "books.
I travel a lot. It used to be, when i would go to any country, i could guarantee that the first question would establish my name, and the fact that i've written roots, and the third question, at least no later than the fourth question would not be a question, so much as a statement, something like, "we understand that in america white people do such and such bad things to black people."