T.G.I.F.; Throw away the key; Bump in night; City hall; Promises; et al.

Pafra & Scott Catledge scplc at GS.VERIO.NET
Sat Jun 26 13:00:18 UTC 1999

My father was well read and full of pithy sayings: I remember quoting him in
an elementary school arithmetic class in 1948, telling my teacher when she
would not answer a question I had on a homework assignment, "If you're not
part of the solution, you are part of the problem"--which action propelled
me to the Principal's Office once more for being a smart-alec.   It's at
least 20 years older than Cleaver's quote.
----- Original Message -----
From: Fred Shapiro <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Friday, June 25, 1999 8:44 PM
Subject: Re: T.G.I.F.; Throw away the key; Bump in night; City hall;
Promises; et al.

> On Fri, 25 Jun 1999 Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
> >
> >      The CODP has "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of
> > problem" from 1975.
> >      The Periodical Contents Index shows "Are we part of the problem or
> > the answer?" by Harry Emerson Fosdick, NEA BULLETIN, December 1943, pg.
> The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations has the following, which probably
> represents the coinage of the either/or formulation:
> What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution or
> you're part of the problem.
>         Eldridge Cleaver, Speech in San Francisco, 1969, in R. Scheer
> _Eldridge Cleaver, Post Prison Writings and Speeches_ (1969) p. xxxii
> Closer to the common form of the expression is this, which I found
> through JSTOR:
> Like the more modern black militant Eldridge Cleaver, many abolitionists
> believed that a person or institution that was not part of the solution
> was part of the problem.
>         Gerald Sorin, _Abolitionism: A New Perspective_ 71 (1972)
> I have a slight acquaintance with Cleaver's widow, Kathleen Cleaver.  Next
> time I see her I'll have to ask her about the origins of this saying.
> Fred R. Shapiro                             Coeditor (with Jane Garry)
> Associate Librarian for Public Services     TRIAL AND ERROR: AN OXFORD
>   and Lecturer in Legal Research            ANTHOLOGY OF LEGAL STORIES
> Yale Law School                             Oxford University Press, 1998
> e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               ISBN 0-19-509547-2

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