One morning in 1984, while I was attending a conference with 30 medical students from the UTMB to review psychiatric cases, a man was brought down from his room in the closed ward of the hospital.
He was black, about 50, wore painter’s pants and sported salt-and-pepper hair. His name was Eldrewey Stearns. At first glance, Stearns appeared to be a disheveled, vulnerable and angry man whose life had been spent under the stress of poverty, racism, alcoholism and mental illness. Yet he sometimes spoke in scholarly, even eloquent phrases.