As a ninth grader running for student body president on the Patriot Party ticket, he cut up and rearranged magazine ads into “Vote for Holder” insignia.
His victory showed him that his intellectual gifts and witty, down-to-earth demeanor could propel him to high places, his classmates said.
That same year, his high score on a grueling city test earned him a seat at Stuyvesant High School, where the prom was sometimes canceled because of a lack of interest and students had a penchant for reciting class rankings (Mr. Holder graduated 363rd in a class of 721 boys).
“We didn’t know if a black student was going to get admitted,” recalled his younger brother, William Holder, a retired Port Authority police lieutenant. “When he got in, it was huge.”
At Stuyvesant, whose students were primarily white and Jewish, Mr. Holder said his first year was one of the most difficult periods of his life, as he adjusted to a hefty workload and an hour-and-a-half commute. When the stress of taking biology and chemistry at the same time grew overwhelming, he turned to his mother for advice. She told him to stick it out, he said.
Today, Stuyvesant is roughly two-thirds Asian. The white and Jewish kids are an embattled minority. Eric Holder would feel more at home, I hope.
First David Axelrod, now this. Will the Obama White House be the most Stuyvesant-y administration in the nation’s history?