The Drake

Decades Overdue

Editor’s note: The June 29 issue of The New Yorker included a profile of a woman named Corina Newsome, a 27-year-old black birder and grad student working in southern Georgia. In the piece, Newsome was quoted: “Birding in the marsh is as remote as I’ll go. There’s no way I’m going in a remote area, or the woods, without a white person as cover.”

I would’ve thought her quote barely believable, were it not for an incident in Oregon 30 years ago. It was maybe 1989 or’90, and I took a black friend of mine, Ben Falco, fishing on the Luckiamute River, about an hour west of Corvallis, where he and I went to college. We had to cross private property

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