[WaPo] Why the homeless man who graduated from Harvard is still on the streets

July 17, 2015
Alfred Postell (Washington Post photo)

Alfred Postell (Washington Post photo)

[THE WASHINGTON POST] — Alfred Postell had been a ghost. He materialized on a bus rumbling toward Friendship Heights, appeared at a Silver Spring liquor store, on street corners, at Metro stops, astride a bench at a park off Michigan Avenue, before returning to his preferred post at the intersection of 17th and I streets NW. Nobody seemed to notice this bedraggled homeless man clutching his possessions in white plastic bags. He just came and went.

That changed Tuesday morning, when the story of Postell’s life appeared in this newspaper. It chronicled Postell’s ascent: He went from a meager childhood to Harvard Law School, where he graduated with a future U.S. chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr., before landing a job at a top law firm. And his decline: More than 30 years ago, schizophrenia seized him, and he never recovered.

The story of Alfred Postell illustrates the nondiscriminatory nature of mental illness — it’s the ultimate class leveler. [READ MORE]