Fred L. Pincus, a member of TCNA, recently published his memoir entitled: Confessions of a Radical Academic: A Memoir. As my copy is on the way, I got the information for this neighborhood profile was obtained from an absorbing, entertaining interview with Fred. Written in the first person, the book covers his 44 years as a professor of sociology at UMBC beginning when the University was in its third year.
Fred was raised and educated in Los Angeles but moved to Baltimore at age 26 in 1968 to join the faculty. His inquisitive nature led him to activist groups protesting the Vietnam War and racism. The Catonsville Nine and Black Panther movement were informative in his early years in Baltimore. Fred was integral to UMBC’s efforts to increase black student enrollment and his passions lead him to participate in protests along side those very students on campus. Fred created courses on race relations that expanded as increasing disenfranchised groups began searching for a voice.
Next month Fred’s third edition of Understanding Diversity: An Introduction to Class, Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Disability will be released. During the interview Fred shared anecdotal stories about the fine line he walked, at times requiring him to be mindful of being the radical at the table. A simple lunch gathering at the College Board when the SAT test was being challenged for racial bias could have been a potential powder keg but somehow Fred knew how to navigate the discussion.
The path to tenure was a challenge but Fred’s boast of a 44 year career to professor emeritus speaks volumes of his character as a “radical”. The Sun paper published his op-ed piece on June 13th entitled “Can a white man teach about racism? I did my best for 44 years.” As a professor Fred taught 6,000-7,000 students and he has been reconnecting with some of the early activists in retirement and expressed that as a great joy. Fred concluded the interview stating he is always learning and I salute Fred in his ongoing journey. I look forward for mine to continue as I read his memoir.
CLICK HERE FOR Sunpaper OpEd written by Fre