26 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 1041 (2001)
Ralph Ellison, Fredric Wertham, M.D., and the Lafargue Clinic: Civil Rights and Psychiatric Services in Harlem

handle is hein.journals/okcu26 and id is 1049 raw text is: RALPH ELLISON, FREDRIC WERTHAM, M.D., AND THE
LAFARGUE CLINIC: CIVIL RIGHTS AND PSYCHIATRIC
SERVICES N HARLEM
JAMES E. REIBMAN*
One must descend to the basement and move along a confusing
mazelike hall to reach it. Twice the passage seems to lead against
a blank wall; then at last one enters the brightly lighted auditorium.
And here, finally, are the social workers at the reception desks; and
there, waiting upon the benches rowed beneath the pipes carrying
warmth and water to the floors above, are the patients. One sees
white-jacketed psychiatrists carrying charts appear and vanish
behind screens that form the improvised interviewing cubicles. All
is an atmosphere of hurried efficiency; and the concerned faces of
the patients are brightened by the friendly smiles and low-pitched
voices of the expert workers. One has entered the Lafargue
Psychiatric Clinic.'
When Ralph Ellison moved to Harlem in 1936, he met Langston
Hughes, who introduced him to Richard Wright.2 Ellison and Wright
became fast friends because they shared a sophisticated interest in the craft
of writing, as well as sharing left-wing political sensibilities. Their
intellectual and social relationship deepened to the extent that Ellsion
* James E. Reibman teaches literature and media studies at Lafayette College in
Easton, Pennsylvania. A specialist on law and literature, he has published widely on legal
writers of the Scottish Enlightenment and on Samuel Johnson and his circle. His most resent
lectures and writings are concerned with the graphic novel, popular culture, and violence in
the media. Reibman is the biographer of Fredric Wertham, M.D., and has annotated
Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent and is co-editor of the forthcoming Fredric Wertham
Reader. Professor Reibman received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and his
Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh.
1. RALPH ELLISON, Harlem Is Nowhere, in SHADOW AND ACT 294, 294 (Quality
Paperback Book Club 1994) (1964) (unpublished manuscript written for Magazine of the
Year in 1948).
2. John Hersey, A Completion of Personality: A Talk with Ralph Ellison, in
CONVERSATIONS WITH RALPH ELLISON 272,292-93 (Maryemma Graham & Amritjit Singh
eds., 1995).

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