My parents came to Columbia in 1972, when I was two years old. My father, Kellis E. Parker, was the first black professor at the Law School. My interests were so scattered that I applied to a school of journalism, I applied to a phd program in anthropology, and I applied to the law school in Columbia, and I figured which ever I got first, I would just cancel the other applications. Columbia won, and my father was like “Hello? Of course you’re going to be a lawyer.”
The consul, whose name was Mendes de Sousa, had been ordered by the Portuguese government to return to Portugal and not grant any more visas—and, in the short span of a week or so, signed approximately ten thousand visas.