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UC-BERKELEY LIBRARY

ALBERT LEPAWSKY

CLARK KERR

ROBERT BLAUNER

SANFORD E;BERG

 GABRIEL ALMOND

CAPTAIN JOEL SPINGARN

ARMY INTELLIGENCE

FOUNDER NAACP

FCS SCHILLER

FOUNDER PROTO-FASCIST PRAGMATISM

WINTHROPE JORDAM

DAVID WALKER

KALX

JAKE SILVERSTEIN

NEW YORK MAGAZINE


WEB DUBOIS

FREEDMAN'S BUREAU

UNIVERSITY PRAGMATISM

Black Thoughts For Multi-Cultural 

Readers

BLOG: THE BATTLE FOR CRITICAL RACE THEORY AT UC-BERKELEY

As The Government Passes Anti-Truth Laws To Outlaw Ethnic Studies And Make Teaching About Racism A Crime, Three Decades Ago The Black Student Union Fought A Historic Battle For Critical Race Theory Courses At UC-Berkeley

Eugene Stovall

Oakland, California December 2021

Sometime in the 1990s, the University of California-Berkeley Main Library withdrew my PhD dissertation from general circulation, restricting it from the university community. My dissertation, The Theory Of Black Politics, explored critical race theories and proposed social resistance strategies. As such, my dissertation was a part of the ongoing struggle to force the university to legitimize scholarly aspirations of others than the white ruling classes.

Originally, my dissertation was intended to discuss the benefits black people enjoyed from Roosevelt’s New Deal. My advisor, Albert Lepawsky, was a top New Deal administrator and, during WWII, served as Roosevelt’s economic attaché to Russia. After the war, Lepawsky, along with his brother-in-law, Gabriel Almond, a Stanford political scientist, participated in drafting the UN charter. However, my research revealed that the New Deal served to repay southern democrats for their support of Roosevelt’s presidency. The New Deal administrators confiscated thousands of black-owned farms without compensating their owners and turned them over to white-managed cooperatives. Furthermore, to make the cooperatives financially viable. Roosevelt outlawed black share-cropping. When the large plantation owners complained about labor shortages, Roosevelt entered into a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with the Mexican government, allowing braceros, Mexican migrant farm workers, to enter the US, illegally, and work the farms of the former black sharecroppers. When I discovered that other aspects of Roosevelt’s New Deal were equally racist, I informed my advisor that I changed the topic of my dissertation. Using elite, social contract, institutional and reference group theories, I developed a theory of black politics to show how whites use laws, institutions and Negro leadership to control black people.


From Idealism To Pragmatism


In the 1960s, the University of California competed with other research institutions for the multi-million-dollar research grants that the government and the defense establishment were awarding to academic institutions willing to assist in the overthrow of governments, training of para-military death squads and planning of wars against Third World countries. Another of my advisors, George Lenczowski who was the director of Berkeley’s Institute Of Middle East Affairs, brought several million-dollar research grants to the university as a result of his work with the CIA. Immigrating to the US after WWII, Lenczowski had served as in the Third Reich’s press attaché in its Iranian embassy during the war. In 1953, Lenczowski helped the CIA overthrow Iran’s prime minister, Muhammad Mossadegh and install Reza Pahlavi as Iran’s shah. In order to expand on the Middle East Institute’s success in winning government grants, University of California president, Clark Kerr, eliminated all objections to the university’s solicitation of CIA and defense department grants by changing the university’s academic goals from idealism and to pragmatism. The new direction aligned the University of California’s academic goals with the government’s goals of international aggression and world domination. Thus, Kerr signaled the deep state that the university was committed to serving the needs of the military-industrial complex.

The new pragmatism caused many scholars including Berkeley political scientist, Sheldon Wolin, to depart the university. However, Berkeley political science professor, Eugene Burdick, author of the anti-fascist novels and movies, The Ugly American, Fail-Safe and The 480, failed to heed the warnings. In 1965, at the age of 46, Burdick, died very suddenly and very mysteriously. As the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, had learned two years earlier on a chilly November day in Dallas, Texas, the deep state under the control of Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles would tolerate no interference.


Black Student Union And Critical Race Theory


Meanwhile, the Black Student Union [BSU] at UC-Berkeley along with other Third World student groups were demanding an Ethnic Studies College which would include a Black Studies Department. After a prolonged struggle, UC-Berkeley acceded to the BSU’s demands for an Ethnic Studies College, but prohibited the teaching of critical race theory courses. But the BSU continued activism, advocating increased student financial support, participation in the administration of the student union and the recruitment of black faculty who taught relevant black studies courses. The Black Studies Department, under university control, blunted the BSU’s influence by funding a rival student organization, the Black Student Alliance [BSA], headed by a white university operative who masqueraded as a black student. The BSA published a student newspaper, Black Thoughts, which opposed the BSU’s agenda. Most of black students taking Black Studies classes joined the BSA and its membership swelled. As the BSU began to dwindle in members and influence. It turned to enlisting the support of other Black campus student organizations such as the Black MBA, Black Law Students, Black Athletes and fraternal groups. These other black student organizations formed the Black Board, an umbrella organization, that made all decisions affecting the funding of black student organizations on campus. A black student organization, Black Media, was created to broadcasted over Cal’s radio station, KALX. Black Media became an effective method of airing black student concerns and countering the university-controlled Black Thoughts newsletter. Black Media used KALX radio to air the ongoing issues of racism on the campus, in the community and around the world as well as demand relevant black studies courses. Soon, the university forced Black Media to disband by having the FCC deny Black Media students the third-class radio licenses required to broadcast radio programs.

The Institute of Race & Community Relations, a research institute capable of receiving governmental and non-governmental grants was attached to Ethnic Studies. The faculty advisory committee that governed the institute included Harry Morrison, Physics, Paul Takagi, Asian Studies, Ken Johnson, English and Robert Blauner, Sociology. Blauner. who served as the advisory committee chairman, hired me as the institute’s coordinator. The institute administered two funds intended to provide financial support to UC-Berkeley’s minority undergraduate and graduate students. However, Professor Blauner and History professor, Winthrop Jordan, a self-proclaimed racist and white supremacist, embezzled the scholarship and fellowship funds through two government-funded projects, The Changing Nature Of Afro-American Culture and Racism And Manhood. Blauner instructed me to take applications for financial aid from minority students and, afterwards, notify them that their applications had been denied. In fact, no third world student ever received any support from these funds. When I complained to Sanford Elberg, Dean of the Graduate Division, who supervised all the university’s institutes, he fired me. Later, Ken Johnson, who sat on my dissertation committee, told me that Blauner and Jordan were studying me to determine whether or not I could be trusted to receive my doctorate, serve the university’s interests and enjoy an academic career. The Political Science Department accepted my dissertation, the Theory of Black Politics, and awarded my doctorate degree. Afterwards, unseen forces sent my academic career hurtling into oblivion. Nevertheless, critical race theories continued to emerge in the curricula at UC-Berkeley showing how racism works and how it can be defeated., inside Ethnic Studies and in other departments as well.


David Walker’s Appeal: The First Critical Race Theory


In 1827, David Walker wrote An Appeal To The Coloured Citizens Of The World. The son of a slave and a white man, Walker, traveled about freely, before settling in Boston where he manufactured work clothes for sailors and sold them in his waterfront shops. But alarmed by plans to use free blacks to colonize Africa, Walker wrote an Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World exposing the hypocrisy of the American creed and the lies told by white Christians. Walker was convinced that the coloured people of the United States, slave and free, had much to fear from white supremacy’s designs on Africa. He concluded that coloured people’s wretchedness was a consequence of the Christian religion, the African slave trade, white people’s plans for world domination and the ignorance of coloured people. Walker revealed that the Catholic bishop, Bartholomew de Las Casas, had the instigated the African slave trade and the initiated the genocide against the indigenous peoples. The white backlash against David Walker’s Appeal resulted in delegations of white Christian ministers recommending to state legislatures that they pass laws to outlaw teaching blacks to read. Shortly after the publication of his Appeal, David Walker died very suddenly and very mysteriously.


The Backlash Against Critical Race Theory


On May 4, 2020, a relatively unknown professor from the University of North Carolina, Nikole Hannah-Jones, received the Pulitzer Prize for her introductory essay to the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project. Jake Silverstein, New York Times Magazine editor in chief, initiated the 1619 project which launched a white backlash demanding the passage of anti-truth laws to criminalize critical race theory all over the country. Silverstein worked with Christopher Rufo, a Jesuit-trained right-wing filmmaker, who was responsible for engineering the entire campaign to outlaw ethnic studies programs. Rufo, a graduate of Georgetown University, the institution established by the Jesuits from the sale of African slaves, was given the task of achieving the Catholic Bishops Conference’s long-held goal of eliminating ethnic studies throughout the US. Ever since the Vatican canonized Junipero Serra a saint, the Catholic Church has sought to prevent academic discussions of its sordid history of enslaving, torturing and murdering non-white peoples. The Church gave Christopher Rufo the mission of reversing efforts to ‘re-engineer the foundation of human psychology and social institutions through the new politics of race.’ Rufo initiated the recent white backlash against critical race theory by using the press to create a negative response from white people to any story about ethnic studies. In support of the Catholic Church’s anti-ethnic studies campaign, the New York Times Magazine and the New York Times newspapers gave Rufo a platform to make critical race theory, a negative term in the minds of the public. Whenever the opportunity presented itself, Rufo sent out goons to demonstrate against ethnic studies programs proposals and create the sensationalism the press could use for propaganda purposes. Like the Christian ministers who urged the passage of laws against teaching blacks to read, Jake Silverstein and Christopher Rufo created the backlash that urged the passage of laws to criminalize the teaching of ethnic studies and critical race theory. Rufo wrote on Twitter that “...the goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory,’ ...We have decodified the term and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with [white] Americans.” With Rufo and Silverstein’s assistance, the Catholic Church’s campaign to outlaw ethnic studies has succeeded.


The Myth Of Colorblindness


The term, critical race theory was not originated by the New York Times or Nikole Hannah-Jones. There have been other more recognized critical race theories such as Frederick Douglass’ Autobiography, Carter Woodson’s The Miseducation of the Negro, Harold Cruise’s The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, Derrick Bell’s Faces At The Bottom Of The Well, Carl Rowan’s The Coming Race War and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness. Prior to the Jesuit’s anti-truth campaign, charges of systematic and institutional racism never instigated a white backlash because, critical race theories also maintained that the law and institutions were essentially colorblind.

Since the constitution promised liberty and justice to all citizens, Negro leaders have always argued that non-white people owed their loyalty to the republic. These handpicked spokesmen argued that racism resulted from racist individuals who administered essentially colorblind institutions. When fair-minded Christians were responsible for enforcing the law, racism would end. Influenced by this argument, earlier critical race theorists applauded the fairness of American political institutions, despite the daily reminders of America’s deeply racist practices, that even influenced the laws the Third Reich passed to control the Jews.

Frederick Douglass’ critical race theory, found in his Autobiography, promoted the myth of colorblindness. Newspaper editor, William Lloyd Garrison, sponsored Douglass’ speaking tours throughout the US and in Europe. Douglass told white audiences that slavery was evil, but, when slavery was ended, good Christians would take control and America would live up to its lofty ideals. Douglass, whose father was white, lectured told white audiences to allow non-white citizens access to public accommodations and public transportation, however, housing, education and wealth were not on his agenda. When President Andrew Johnson asked Frederick Douglass to head the Freedman’s Bureau, the half-breed Negro demurred. Even though the position would have given Douglass control over the 200, 000 Union soldier stationed in the South, power to suppress Ku Klux Klan violence and authority to give land and economic assistance to the former slaves, the Negro leader chose to accept a diplomatic post in the Dominican Republic, instead.

Booker T. Washington attempted to rescue millions from the racist black codes by stressing self-reliance and industrial skills. But white supremacists found another half-breed, W.E.B. DuBois, to block Washington’s agenda. Maintaining that America was colorblind, DuBois attacked Washington as an Uncle Tom and advocated the selection of colored leaders from the ‘talented tenth’ to represent the interests of black people. The US Army was impressed by DuBois’ proposal; it was just what it needed to control the black population. The Army ordered Captain Joel Spingarn, an Army intelligence officer, to establish the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People [NAACP] to implement DuBois’ program. In July 1918, DuBois wrote an editorial entitled “Close Ranks” urging blacks to forget their grievances against whites and support the European war effort so white Christian Americans could resolve their grievances against white Christian Germans.

Martin Luther King, Jr has done much to further white supremacy’s goals. His non-violent mantra, ‘if any blood be spilled for justice, let it be our blood, still remains what whites expect to hear from all black leaders. Unlike David Walker, Frederick Douglass and WEB DuBois, King did not have a white parent and was not conflicted about his racial identity. So, when King turned from civil rights to economic needs, urging the acquisition of industrial skills and demanding that labor unions accept black members, whites launched a backlash against King’s new critical race theory and assassinated him. Today Martin Luther King’s critical race theory would recognize that America’s half trillion- dollar annual military budget provides national socialism for the whites while consigning blacks to capitalism and that institutions like the University of California, the New York Times and the Catholic Church are still intent on imposing a racist agenda.

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