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Uncensored: Zachary Wood ’18 Discusses His New Book on FIRE’s So to Speak Podcast

Zachary Wood ’18 is one of my favorite Williams College graduates. I was very pleased to see the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) interviewed him about his new memoir, Uncensored: My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America.

Wood’s backstory includes a tough life that gave him the fortitude needed to become one of the college’s most precocious and famous alums. He has a mom with schizoaffective disorder and grew up in Washington, D.C.’s extremely dangerous Ward 8 community. Ward 8 includes the historic Anacostia neighborhood where the overall crime rate is reportedly 223% higher than the national average.

Zachary Wood’s bravery was tested when he and his Uncomfortable Learning organization invited thought-provoking speakers like former National Review writer John Derbyshire to speak. The college administration, under President Adam Falk, cancelled the event.

You can catch up with Wood’s adventures and hear more of his story by clicking on this link: So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast

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#1 Comment By PTC On December 27, 2018 @ 3:02 am

What struck me is how much the college tried to deny him- even after publishing major pieces in world-wide circulated papers such as the NYT and appearing before the United States Senate while a student.

He was more published than most profs.

Williams would have preferred he was invisible. Which goes to show, when the college does not like the message, it will try to erase your voice. Even when your voice is an important part of a global conversation.

The irony…

#2 Comment By frank uible On December 27, 2018 @ 8:07 am

No surprise.The College behaves politically like almost all authority everywhere.

#3 Comment By PTC On December 27, 2018 @ 8:45 am

Frank- True. But Zach offered an opportunity to pivot the conversation. In some ways, Adam leaving was a result at how poorly he handled Zach and his message- by essentially ignoring him.

I thought that given the broad exposure and skill that Zach displayed on the national stage, and given that he was a student, as well as one of the very few Black students from an empoverished background, that the administration would not attempt to silence/ ignore him.

Glad they failed.

#4 Comment By frank uible On December 27, 2018 @ 12:47 pm

Zach and his activities must have threatened some vested interests. He is lucky that the College hasn’t stupidly crushed him.

#5 Comment By frank uible On December 27, 2018 @ 12:52 pm

P.S. Maybe it has, but prudently concealed it.

#6 Comment By PTC On December 28, 2018 @ 6:03 am

frank- It got away from the bubble- past the college’s control. Some things are bigger than Williams- although Williams would never admit that.

Hence the reason Zach was not given the response (from the school) that was deserved, and found it in the big bad world out here.

In the end, Zach became famous in part because the reaction of the college supported the story. He exposed the insular, self-serving, naive, and biased nature of the academy. Then the college proved what he described as the problem with its reaction.


Above he is testifying before the US Senate. He was published


Book review.

WAPO, NYT, WSJ, Chicago Times and Tribune. All as a student.

#7 Comment By frank uible On December 28, 2018 @ 6:37 am

Would the College be foolish enough to damn him with a campaign of faint praise?

#8 Comment By PTC On December 28, 2018 @ 8:24 am


Perhaps. But I doubt it would hurt or help him. It appears that Zach outgrew Williams when he was still a student. I doubt he cares- or that it would have any impact at this point.

DDF has good info on this (I think).