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Gates immortalized communist, linked to radical black activists

July 28, 2009


JERUSALEM – Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Harvard professor at the center of the current national race controversy, has recruited radical black activists to his university department, is a prominent supporter of reparations for the descendents of slaves and has immortalized a communist and socialist activist.

Since 1991, Gates has been teaching African American studies at Harvard, where he serves as the director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. De Bois, an American civil rights activist, sociologist, historian and author, was an avowed communist and also a socialist sympathizer.

Du Bois was for a brief time a member of the Socialist Party. In 1927 he infamously traveled to the USSR, where he called the Soviet system “the most hopeful vehicle for the world.” Eight years later, he published the book “Black Reconstruction,” which offered a Marxist interpretation of the Reconstruction Era.

The leftist icon officially joined the communist cause in 1950, when he ran for the New York State Senate on the American Labor Party ticket. He lost the election, but eight years later joined Trotskyists, ex-communists, and independent radicals in proposing the creation of a united left-wing coalition to run for seats in New York State elections.

Du Bois joined the Communist Party USA in 1961. He emigrated to Ghana, where he became a naturalized citizen, living in the country’s socialist police state. Two years later, the Communist Party named its new youth group the W.E.B. DuBois Clubs.

Serving as director for the Harvard institute immortalizing Du Bois, Gates cultivated black radicals to his race studies department, most prominently bringing in Cornel West, a controversial adviser on Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March with close ties to socialist and black extremist groups. West is a declared personal friend of Farrakhan.

Gates also lured to Harvard socialist sympathizer Kwame Anthony Appiah, a Ghanaian philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist, as well as William Julius Wilson, who is close to the Democrat Socialists of America.

Gates authored two books with West, a long-time member and honorary chair of the Democrat Socialists of America.

West served on the black advisory board of Obama’s presidential campaign.

From a young age, West proclaimed he admired “the sincere black militancy of Malcolm X, the defiant rage of the Black Panther Party … and the livid black [liberation] theology of James Cone.”

Cone’s theology spawned Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s controversial pastor for 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ. West was a strong defender of Wright when the pastor’s extreme remarks became national news during last year’s campaign season.

Gates himself is a strong supporter of affirmative action and a key member of the reparations movement for the descendants of African slaves. He joined an effort to bring a class action lawsuit for reparations and reportedly has been working privately to urge political and business leaders to keep the issue of slavery at the forefront of social-justice discussions and to support his campaign for reparations.

One of Gates’ major sources of intellectual inspiration is Herbert Aptheker, a seminal scholar of African-American history who was a radical American leftist. Aptheker was for decades a leading theorist of the Communist Party U.S.A. before resigning in 1991.

Gates was quoted stating Obama’s election last year rivaled the day in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and the day 101 years later when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

“There’s never been a moment like this in our lifetime, ever,” Gates said.

(ht/Alan Peters) Link

  1. tpt/ny permalink
    July 28, 2009 5:12 am

    One question:
    Does “Frank” (Marshall Davis) fit into this at all??

  2. July 28, 2009 9:12 am

    Of course-

    Davis died in 1987, in Honolulu, of a heart attack, at the age of 81.

    Davis and Barack Obama

    In his memoir Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama wrote about “Frank”, a friend of his grandfather’s. “Frank” told Obama that he and Stanley (Obama’s maternal grandfather) both had grown up only 50 miles apart, near Wichita, although they did not meet until Hawaii.

    He described the way race relations were back then, including Jim Crow, and his view that there had been little progress since then. As Obama remembered, “It made me smile, thinking back on Frank and his old Black Power, dashiki self.

    In some ways he was as incurable as my mother, as certain in his faith, living in the same sixties time warp that Hawaii had created.” Obama also remembered Frank later in life when he took a job in South Chicago as a community organizer when he took some time one day and visited the areas where Frank had lived and wrote in his book, “I imagined Frank in a baggy suit and wide lapels, standing in front of the old Regal Theatre, waiting to see Duke or Ella emerge from a gig.”

    Gerald Horne, a contributing editor of Political Affairs magazine, claimed that “Frank” was Davis, and that he was a “decisive influence” in helping Obama to find his present identity as an African-American.

    Claims that Davis was a political influence on Obama were made in the anti-Obama book The Obama Nation. A rebuttal to The Obama Nation released by Obama’s presidential campaign, titled Unfit for Publication, confirms that “Frank” was, in fact, Frank Marshall Davis, but disputes claims made about the nature of their relationship.

  3. July 28, 2009 2:15 pm

    Despite misrepresentation from right-wing pundits that Davis was “Obama’s Communist Mentor” there is only evidence that Davis advised Obama on ethnic affairs. Although “I’m hardly interested in proving my research to Kincaid or any of those whose work is a travesty to scholarship,” University of Kansas Professor Edgar Tidwell, whom AIM’s Cliff Kincaid cites as “an expert on the life and writings of Davis,” dismisses misrepresentation of Davis’s influence in one simple paragraph:

    “Although my research indicates that Davis joined the CPUSA as a “closet member” during World War II, there is no evidence that he was a Stalinist, or even a Party member before WWII. Further, to those attempting to make the specious stand for the concrete, there is no evidence that he instructed Barack Obama in communist ideology. Frank Marshall Davis did NOT believe in overthrowing the USA. He was committed to what the nation professed to be. For him, communism was primarily an intellectual vehicle to achieve a political end-a possible tool for gaining the constitutional freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL Americans” (see ).

  4. July 30, 2009 8:07 pm

    Nice post, Mark!

    Besides every other claim made about Davis, even speculating he fathered Obama, I don’t believe he was in fact Obama’s father.

    Obama is the spitting image of Sr Obama. imo

  5. July 30, 2009 9:14 pm

    Thanks for the kind words.

    For a detailed analysis of the right-wing disinformation campaign against Frank Marshall Davis, please read “specific misrepresentation” in the post at

  6. August 3, 2009 8:31 pm

    You’re very Welcome, Mark-

  7. Katie permalink
    August 18, 2009 10:37 pm

    Are you kidding? Obama looks a lot more like Davis than Obama senior.

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