When Henry Met Angie

Guests who appear on “Finding Your Roots” with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., are usually in for a big surprise. For example, Gates showed singer Carly Simon that she was some 10 percent black through a pardo Cuban ancestor, the descendant of slaves. African American radio host Joe Madison learned that his great-grandfather was a Confederate soldier who fought with Robert E. Lee and married a black woman. 

On the February 21 episode titled “And Still I Rise,” the guest was Angela Y. Davis, billed by PBS as an activist “deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world,” and “building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.” 

As DNA and meticulous research revealed, Davis’ 10th great-grandfather was William Brewster, who was born in England in 1570 and came to America on the Mayflower. The black social justice warrior was stunned. 

Yalonda M. James/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

No, I can’t believe this,” Davis said. “My ancestors did not come here on the Mayflower. That’s a little bit too much to deal with right now.” The audience might have been more surprised if Gates had exposed Davis’ political roots. 

Angela Davis’ “community of struggle,” her “movement for social justice,” was the Communist Party USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Communist Party member Davis was so dedicated to this totalitarian dictatorship that the USSR in 1979 awarded her the Lenin Peace Prize

Communist Party nominee for Vice-President Angela Davis waves to the crowd, Chicago, 1984. The Abbott Sengstacke Family Papers/Getty Images

The following year, Davis ran for vice president of the United States with the Communist Party on a ticket with white Stalinist Gus Hall. Davis and Hall made another bid in 1984, again losing to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. 

Black American Angela Davis, who styles herself a feminist, dedicated herself to an all-male, all-white Stalinist dictatorship, and ran for vice president with the political party founded and funded by that Communist regime. Viewers might think that a government-funded television “service” would mention those historical facts. 

Social justice advocate Angela Davis is a “founding member of Critical Resistance,” which deals with the “prison-industrial” complex. Davis, the show noted, did spend “eighteen months in jail and on trial after being placed on the FBI’s ‘Ten Most Wanted List,’” but no word of the reason. 

As Matt McGregor explains in the Epoch Times, Davis was wanted by the FBI for “her alleged involvement in the armed seizure of a Marin County courthouse in California that left four people dead, including a judge.” Davis “purchased the guns used in the attack,” so her involvement wasn’t exactly “alleged.”

Davis comes billed as “a radical social justice Marxist and former member of the Black Panthers,” but nothing about her Lenin Peace Prize. Davis emerged “in California during the late 1960s as a prominent civil rights figure and a member of the Communist Party,” but nothing about her two runs for vice-president with the Communist Party USA under Gus Hall. It was certainly big news at the time. 

As readers learn, “Davis has been a proponent of Critical Race Theory (CRT), a variation of a concept put forth by German philosopher Karl Marx called ‘Critical Theory,’ which divides people between oppressors and the oppressed.” Karl Marx, born in 1818, also had some fascinating theories about black people. 

In a July 30, 1862 letter to Engels, Marx wrote, “The Jewish nigger Lassalle,” is leaving at the end of the week.” Marx is glad that Ferdinand Lassalle, founder of the social democratic movement in Germany, will soon be gone. 

“It is now quite plain to me—as the shape of his head and the way his hair grows also testify—that he is descended from the negroes who accompanied Moses’ flight from Egypt, unless his mother or paternal grandmother interbred with a nigger. Now, this blend of Jewishness and Germanness, on the one hand, and basic negroid stock, on the other, must inevitably give rise to a peculiar product. The fellow’s importunity is also nigger-like.” 

Marx partnered with Lenin to launch the Communist movement, and Marxism-Leninism was the sole ideology of the Soviet Union, supposedly a workers’ paradise. Some blacks went there during the 1930s, and in Black on Red: My 44 Years Inside the Soviet Union, Robert Robinson described the conditions. 

Soviet racism toward blacks was “worse than anything I recalled in the United States during the 1920s and without question worse than in the United States after the decade of the 1950s.” Robinson was a skilled machinist and inventor, but the Soviet Communists addressed letters to “Negro Robert Robinson.” 

For Angela Davis, however, the USSR was the wave of the future. By contrast, the America remains an evil oppressive place to her, except for Davis’ professorship at the University of California at Santa Cruz, except for her 10 books and success on the lecture circuit, and except for her celebrity status and television appearances such as “Finding Your Roots” on PBS.

 Professor Gates’ show is well worth a look. You never know who might be a descendant of William Brewster, who came to America on the Mayflower.

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Angela Davis, who was fired as a philosophy professor at UCLA because of her Communist affiliations, speaks at Mills College, October 23, 1969. (Duke Downey/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

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