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Copyright 2008 by
The Black Think
Dr. Nathan Hare
Dr. Nathan Hare is often called "the father of black studies." On February 1, 1968,
he was hired at San Francisco State, as the first coordinator of a black studies program
in the United States, to write a proposal for the first department of black studies.  Then
two semesters later he was fired in the face of his refusal to help the notoriously hard-
line college president S. I. Hayakawa break a five-months strike by a campus-wide
multiracial coalition of thousands of students and faculty members. Months after his
firing for his role in the largely successful black student led strike for an autonomous
department of black studies and a school of ethnic studies, Dr. Hare became the
founding publisher of
The Black Scholar.  

Commenting on Dr. Hare’s activities at
The Black Scholar, San Francisco State and earlier
at Howard University, the eminent sociologist Doris Wilkinson observed that "Nathan
Hare set a new standard for scholarly activism." Novelist John O. Killens dubbed him "a
scholar's scholar."

The Black University Manifesto
In September of 1966, as students returned to campus at the end of Black Power
Summer, Howard University's administration announced a rather optimistic if not
pompous plan in the
Washington Post to make Howard "Sixty Per Cent White by 1970."
They were motivated in part by a
Harvard Educational Review manuscript, early copies of
which were disseminated for urgent discussion at faculty meetings, "The American
Negro College," written by two prominent white Harvard scholars (David Reisman and
Christopher Jencks).  Among other things the alarmingly critical white sociologists
called the nation's Negro colleges (the "black college" misnomer was not yet in vogue)
"academic disaster areas" and “caricatures of white education" presided over by
"cowardly and tyrannical" presidents with “little taste for academic freedom or
controversy."  This was all the more unsettling for the Howard administration
accustomed to boasting of its law school's past historical role in civil rights cases and
the joys of calling itself "the Negro Harvard." Besides, the Harvard social scientists did
find something of value in "non-elite private colleges for Negroes," where the social
scientists said there had even been some attempt at "reaching out into the community"
("community service") to "blend academic instruction with more practical activities"
toward a "realistic education." These included colleges such as Miles and Tougaloo
(where the "Black Power" cry was made by Stokely Carmichael from the back of a truck
bed one night in June of 1966), colleges said to "allow civil rights activists to mix study
with "field work.'" Other promising pedagogy, the authors suggested, included trying
to "develop a distinctly 'black" curriculum" ("Negro Studies"). They even mentioned
"Negro Chemistry" toward crafting an education that would grow out of the Negro's
actual culture and situation and "create options and experimentations" that would be
"relevant" to solving the Negro's own situation, in the course of which it might be
necessary to spawn "revolutionary professionals" if not "professional revolutionaries." A
decade earlier Reisman, though already author of
The Lonely Crowd and a famed
sociologist at the University of Chicago, would regularly sit in on a course being taken
there by Dr. Hare in the winter of 1955. It was a course in "Community Studies," taught
by a former classmate of E. Franklin Frazier (Everett C. Hughes), who in a subsequent
course called "Race Relations" would often lecture on "
Bourgeoise Noir" a year before it
was translated and published to acclaim in America as "
Black Bourgeoisie." Looking back
to the 1960s and rereading the Reisman-Jencks article (which appeared to have
confirmed and duplicated to some extent
The Miseducation of the Negro published in 1933
by Carter G. Woodson, who was once a Howard dean), it is possible to conclude that
the Reisman-Jencks article was inadvertently as fair a justification as any of the need for
black studies. Incredibly, the American Council for Learned Societies had convened at
Howard and established the "Committee on Negro Studies" in 1941 but apparently any
expressed accolades to "Negro Studies" had abandoned Howard along with the
departure of Carter G. Woodson.

At Howard, Dr. Hare initially had done no more than write a partially tongue-in-cheek
but perhaps audacious letter to the campus newspaper, "The Hilltop," gently mocking
the grandeur of the "Sixty Per Cent White" scheme envisioned by the Howard
administration in a
Washington Post announcement of September 6, 1966. Hare's letter to
The Hilltop  suggested that everybody at Howard pause and remind themselves that
Howard students had just come in third among the seven colleges in and around the
District in number of books stolen that year. He then opined that "rather than give
Howard away, we should start trying to capitalize on this newfound interest in books
on the part of Howard students." Furthermore, Dr. Hare argued, inasmuch as whites
already had six colleges and universities in the D.C. area, he didn't "see why we should
have to give them Howard."

In the fallout that followed, the Howard administration decided to sit on Dr. Hare's
contract renewal past the November 15th deadline despite the fact that their handpicked
committee (only "the senior members," a minority of the departmental faculty) had
voted unanimously nevertheless to renew Dr. Hare's contract, in spite of all that had
taken place by that point. After two more months of day by day harassment from his
superiors (two months past the deadline for renewal of his contract), Dr. Hare joined
with a militant band of student leaders to write and issue a "Black University Manifesto"
suggesting that "the Negro University" such as Howard (which was often self-
proclaimed "The Capstone of Negro Education") should be overhauled and transformed
into "a black university, relevant to the black community and its needs."  Unknown to
Dr. Hare, he was stepping into a replay of the century-old clash that occurred on the
founding of Howard in 1867, between Howard's first president Charles Boynton and its
namesake and subsequent president General Oliver Otis Howard. Both Boynton and
General Howard (then chairman of the Board of Trustees) were white, but Boynton
would quickly be  removed from the Howard presidency in his very first year because
he advocated that Howard should become a university dedicated to the cultivation and
celebration of the glories and contributions of the African race and the uplift and
aspirations of their descendants in America).

However, upon the replay of Howard's dilemma -- exactly one century later in the
spring of 1967 -- an unprecedented "black blitzkrieg" of student-faculty rebellion erupted
on the campus, led by the quasi-underground Black Power Committee supported by
Max Stanford's RAM (Revolutionary Action Movement), and the Student Rights
Organization influenced by Stokely Carmichael and SNCC (Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee). Unaffiliated individual student leaders included Ronald Ross,
who later became the distinguished urban educator, and Adrienne Manns, who
regularly wrote a satirical "Coon's Corner" column for the Howard student newspaper
and already worked for the
Washington Post. A law school student leader by the name of
Jay Greene went on to the Yale Law School on scholarship soon after becoming one of
eighteen students expelled by Howard.

In the course of the campus rebellion, Muhammad Ali (who had just declined to be
drafted to Vietnam) was brought in to speak at Howard, something so unique at the
time (it was later that he would become a popular speaker at white colleges around the
country) that when the Howard administration heard Ali was coming they padlocked
the Crampton Auditorium for the remainder of the school term. Dr. Hare personally
procured and set up the microphone on the steps of Frederick Douglass Hall and
introduced the popular pugilist, who gave his "Black Is Best" speech to an impromptu
crowd of four thousand "gathered at a moment's notice one rainy April Saturday
morning after the sun came out."  By mid-June, Dr. Hare was among six professors,
four of them white, who were eased out of Howard for so-called "Black Power

It happens that Dr. Nathan Hare, armed with his first Ph.D., had briefly boxed
professionally in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., sometimes under the name of “Nat
Harris,” while on the Howard faculty until Howard's acting dean decreed that Dr.
Hare's boxing was violating university policy forbidding a full-time professor to have
"outside employment" and thus Dr. Hare would have to "choose between teaching and
boxing." Four years later, after his severance from Howard, Dr. Hare returned to
professional boxing briefly and won his only post-Howard fight in two minutes and
twenty-two seconds of the first round at the Washington Coliseum, before abandoning
boxing to coordinate black studies at San Francisco State. The match was portrayed in"
Color Us Black," a film broadcast on National Educational Television (NET) stations

Dr. Hare had gone to teach at Howard in 1961, against the advice of just about
everybody, with people accusing him to his face of holding back racial progress by
turning down an entreaty to become "the first and only Negro on the full-time teaching
faculty" (though largely a research position) at Colorado State University, Fort Collins,
whose recruiters were dwarfing a modest Howard salary offer before asking Dr. Hare to
suggest a salary when he continued to balk.  In choosing Howard, Dr. Hare was
operating on his youthful premise that if he could make students at Howard more
aware and concerned about the black condition, other Negro college students would
emulate Howard students, and they would become "the leading Negroes if not the
Negro leaders" and in turn have an impact on the entire race.

First Coordinator of a Black Studies Program
On the rebound from Howard, and with a second match scheduled for February 22nd,
he was recruited to San Francisco State on February 1, 1968 by Black Student Union
leader Jimmy Garrett and the San Francisco State College president, John Summerskill,
to become the first coordinator of a black studies program and to write a proposal for
the first department of black studies. Against dogged administrative and sundry
opposition over the first three months, Dr. Hare wrote "A Conceptual Proposal for a
Department of Black Studies" and, after much interference and blockage in particular
from the Vice President for Academic Affairs (John Garrity, his immediate superior), Dr.
Hare also wrote the official proposal later adopted by the college.  President John
Summerskill, who supported the idea of a black studies program, was booted out ahead
of Dr. Hare. However the person most responsible for the emergence of black studies at
San Francisco State prior to the strike, by which time he had graduated, was Black
Student Union founder Jimmy Garrett, a veteran Student Nonviolent Coordinating
Committee (SNCC) activist, in collaboration with fellow students Maryanna Waddy (a
nationalist with artistic and cultural roots) and George Murray (who was
simultaneously the national Minister of Education for the Black Panther Party). Aside
from inspiration from the mid-1960s SNCC "Freedom Schools," Garrett and his
collaborators were privileged to be operating in the Lyndon Johnson era "community
involvement" also being fostered by innovative white liberals supporting student
endeavors encapsulated in the so-called "Experimental College" and its pedagogy
emerging at that time at San Francisco State to which Garrett conceived and hooked up
the black connection. Garrett recruited to the campus as "Visiting Artist" the Black Arts
Movement spearhead, Amira Baraka, and BAM poets Sonia Sanchez and Askia
Muhammad Toure (Rolland Snellings) as black studies instructors. The Black Student
Union, the first so named in the nation, was building on the work of previous students
such as San Francisco State's legendary LaBrie brothers and the BSU's "cultural
nationalist" precursor, the Negro Student Association. It was by chance a younger
LaBrie brother, Huey LaBrie, now deceased, who led the Black Power Committee in the
1967 uprising at Howard.

When San Francisco State’s administrators (hogtied by then powerful conservative
politicians in control of California governance) continued to balk on the promised
establishment of a black studies department, Dr. Hare, as black studies coordinator,
joined with the Black Student Union and thousands of black and white and Third
World students, professors and community activists in a five-months strike for black
studies. Navigated largely by George Murray, Jerry Varnado, Benny Stewart, and other
members of the BSU Central Committee, the strike is believed to be the longest in
American college history. Off-campus activists among those arrested on the campus
during the strike included Dr. Carlton Goodlett, who published
The Sun Reporter
newspaper and later became president of the National Newspaper Publishers
Association. There was also Rev. Cecil Williams, of the Glide Memorial Church
(immortalized in "The Pursuit of
Happyness," starring Will Smith). Another was a
young organizer and civil rights leader, Oba Tshaka, who would eventually become a
noted chairman of the Department of Black Studies at San Francisco State for many
years. Former congressman Ronald Dellums, now Mayor of the city of Oakland,
California, would come out almost daily during the strike to speak to the
predominantly white black studies noonday rallies, as did Sarah Webster Fabio, the
militant Merritt College Black Arts Movement poet. Willie Brown, now former mayor of
San Francisco, supported the strike and provided complimentary legal services.

However the "nonnegotiable" black studies strike (later joined and augmented by the
"Third World Liberation Front" and most white students as well as the American
Federation of Teachers) was led by the Central Committee of the Black Student Union,
which included George Murray, Benny Stewart, Jerry "the Godfather" Varnado, Terry
Collins and Danny Glover (now actor and activist). Dr. Hare sat as an ex-officio, ersatz,
member of the Black Student Union's Central Committee in its strategy meetings night
and day throughout the course of the strike. An erstwhile Black Student Union
supporting cast of leaders of the strike included coeds such as Dr. Romona Tascoe, M.
D., Dhameera Ahmad, the Bay Area educator, and Sharon Treskanoff, who went on to
Harvard and a career in political science. Student leaders also included Vern Smith, who
became an editor of
Newsweek magazine and wrote the novel, The Jones Men. And quite a
few others were perhaps just as deserving in their own way of mention but too many
to name here for fear of leaving somebody out. For instance George Colbert, who is
now a retired San Francisco judge, was a member of the Central Committee. Some were
"special admissions" students when they first arrived on campus, even dyslexic in a
couple of instances, but swept up and stirred by their involvement in the community-
connected pedagogy and apprenticeships of the  pioneering San Francisco State
movement for black studies, would later rise to stellar heights in the full panorama of
professional life.  

On the faculty level there was the now late actor Mel Stewart (
No Place to Be Somebody)
Scarecrow and Mrs. King), who was a black faculty leader, as was Robert Chrisman,
now poet and editor of
The Black Scholar.  Dr. Hare himself (as so-called "Acting
Chairman," despite not being an actor, of the nominal Black Studies Department  
hastily established in the administration's attempt to prevent the strike) teamed up with
the Central Committee of the Black Student Union and the faculty strike leaders such as
the American Federation of Teachers during the struggle for official acceptance of
departmental status for black studies. He would ultimately become a casualty of the
strike for black studies when the often hilariously hardcore college president S.I.
Hayakawa (later an elderly conservative U.S. Senator noted for openly falling asleep
during Senate sessions) declined to renew Dr. Hare's contract because Dr. Hare had
refused to bow to Hayakawa's demands designed to force Dr. Hare to collaborate with
him to break the college-wide strike. Hayakawa was convicted on charges of
unprofessional conduct by two of  his own Academic Senate's panels, even after he had
exercised his options as a defendant to remove any three of his choice from each panel.
Although Dr. Hare did not bother to employ his right to bump any three of the
panelists from his Academic Senate juries, he was acquitted in both hearings against
him. Yet Hayakawa, twice convicted by his own faculty senate, fired Dr. Hare instead of
himself. Then Hayakawa (having gained the title of "no-nonsense little national folk
hero" among college presidents in the mainstream media after he jumped on a student
sound truck and yanked out the wires of their microphones) went so far as to insert Dr.
Hare in a well-circulated "Blacklist" of five hundred individuals and was eventually sued
by some of the students on the blacklist, albeit with minimal results. In any event Dr.
Hare would never again be given a full-time faculty position in black studies anywhere.

Founding Publisher of The Black Scholar
After Hayakawa (an ironic lover of jazz whose office walls were covered with an
African art collection more redoubtable than that of the millionaire black studies
professor Henry Louis Gates) had exercised the audacity of dismissing Dr. Hare instead
of himself, Dr. Hare moved on to become the founding publisher of
The Black Scholar,
with Robert Chrisman as editor, under the tutelage of a Russian immigrant Allen Ross
(who co-owned and operated the Graphic Arts Printing Company, where
The Black
initially had its office in Sausalito, California). The three men chipped in as much
as three hundred dollars apiece and went on from there. It probably helped that Dr.
Hare was already a well-known and widely published author before setting foot in San
Francisco (for instance, when
Negro Digest changed its name to Black World shortly after
that it boasted in
Jet magazine of having "discovered novelist Earnest Gaines and
essayist Nathan Hare)." He had also briefly worked as a typist for the editor of the
Journal of Asian Studies while a graduate student in journalism at Northwestern
University in 1959. His lead article in the first issue of
The Black Scholar was a report on
the First Pan African Cultural Festival, which was held in Algiers. The article set the
tone for the journal and was soon anthologized and spotlighted in Penguin's paperback
New Black Voices. The New York Times called The Black Scholar the best black intellectual
publication since DuBois's
Crisis with the NAACP. Dr. Hare was also able to procure
the presentations of leading African intellectuals as well as famous black power  
intellectuals for publication in the journal's compelling maiden issue. As a prominent
member of the nation's "Black Power" intellectuals, he had been invited to Algiers by the
OAU (Organization of African Unity), and he later served on the North American
Zonal Committee of the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture
(FESTAC), held in Lagos, Nigeria. He had also been on the steering committees of the
initial National Black Power Conferences as well as the First Black United Front, which
was organized by the black power leader Stokely Carmichael who (like at least three
other members of the national leadership of Black Power SNCC) had been one of Dr.
Hare's former students at Howard.

Hare’s own professors had included Melvin Tolson, hero of "The Great Debaters" -- the
acclaimed Hollywood film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington  --  and
Allison Davis, the first full-fledged black professor at a white university in the United
States. The U.S. Postal Service has issued a postage stamp in commemoration of Allison
Davis. Dr. Edwin R. Edmonds (Dr. Hare's major professor in college and one of the
persons most responsible for his pursuit of an academic career) became the Chairman of
the  Commission For Racial Justice of the United Church of Christ when Benjamin
Chavis, of the Wilmington 10, was its Executive Director and consecutively Executive
Director of the NAACP and National Director of the Million Man March. Still another
Langston professor was Thelma Perry, who became Editor of the
Negro History Bulletin at
the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History founded by Carter
G. Woodson, author of the textbook used in the course in "Negro History" taken by Dr.
Hare while he was a sophomore at
Slick, Oklahoma's Toussaint L'Ouverture High School
during the days of segregation in
1948, coincidentally the same year the white
anthropologist Melville Herskovits became the first chair of an "African Studies"  
program, and founded the African Studies Association ten years before he established
"Afroamerican Studies." Indeed Herskovits was promoting "Africana" as early as 1928,
before Aimé Césaire but after W.E.B. DuBois, though both DuBois and Herskovits
appeared to get the notion from Frantz Boas as early as 1906.  However, although
Herskovits's concept of "Afroamerican studies" was similar to that of today's black
studies -- not to mention "Africana" studies emerging to replace "black" studies -- all this
has led to a distortion of the concept of black studies advocated by the Black Student
Union and promoted at San Francisco State and around the country in 1967-69. Dr.
Hare has continually complained since the Sixties that what we may regard as the
Herskovits-Hayakawa model of black studies (now increasingly called "Africana")
essentially torpedoed the transformative potential of  the pedagogy of black studies
sought in the late 1960s. It is similar in this regard to conventional education and
glorified black carbons and caricatures of white education, polka dot studies, white
studies in black face. Both pedagogies are abstracted and set apart from the daily lives of
student and community; they relinquish the indigenous black community imperative
and abandon the very instrument of "
relevance" students and activists talked so much
about in the late 1960s black studies movement. The "Africana" concept of black studies
encases it in sociological mummification and  mythical
pastness and tends toward a
museum approach to knowledge that is largely divorced from the everyday needs and  
interests of the black community. It is an  affectation of a race-conscious sliver of an  
intellectual segment of the black bourgeoisie preoccupied with racial acceptance and
identity as the quintessence of racial empowerment that is chiefly symbolic and almost
completely impervious and foreign to everyday people on the streets of the black
community and its reality. Interestingly, Dr. Hare's office during his first year at
Howard (1961-62) was in the anthropology building where students (mostly appearing
to be white adults engaged in or aspiring to diplomatic work) took courses toward a
master's degree in "African Affairs."  Mark Hanna Watkins, the distinguished linguist
and chairman of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology including E. Franklin
Frazier, taught courses in Swahili, Hausa, and Yoruba. Yet in 1967 Prof. Watkins
apologetically explained to Dr. Hare that the reason he had voted to fire him in the
administrative proceedings (after earlier voting for his reappointment and tenure at the
University) was because he read in the
Washington Post during the winter/spring campus
uprising that Dr. Hare had advocated that Howard undergraduates should be able to
use a course in Swahili for the language requirement.

Two Earned Ph.D.'s
Dr. Hare holds two Ph.D.’s (in sociology from the University of Chicago, and clinical
psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at San Francisco)
having returned to school following his banishment from black studies at San
Francisco State. A few months before receiving the second Ph.D., he resigned as
publisher of
The Black Scholar in a dispute over the direction of the journal following the
departure and ultimate death of Allen Ross, who had long but unsuccessfully implored
Dr. Hare to leave the journal and collaborate with him in developing The Black Scholar
Book Club, something of a novelty at that time. Having previously returned to school
in the course of his disenchantment, Dr. Hare received the second doctorate less than
six months after leaving
The Black Scholar. His alma mater (Oklahoma's Langston
University) then gave him its Distinguished Alumni Award for 1975, unaware perhaps
that though he held two Ph.D.'s -- something virtually unheard of in those days -- Dr.
Hare was unemployed.  

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a psychiatric social worker who is now Chairman of the
Congressional Black Caucus and the only congress-person to vote against the Bush
invasion of Iraq, gave Dr. Hare his first job in psychology, at C.H.A.N.G.E.
(Community Health and Neighborhood Growth and Education), a clinic founded by
her and three other female graduates of the University of California at Berkeley's School
of Social Work.  Dr. Hare also  worked for Alameda County's Child Development
Center (then on Oakland's Pill Hill) and the Children's Hospital Medical Center in
Oakland before going into private practice with the late Dr. Carlton Goodlett, M.D., Ph.
D. ( the first black person to earn a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of
California, Berkeley).   

Several years after receiving the second Ph.D., Dr. Hare was licensed as a professional
boxing trainer in the state of California and appeared for a while as a second to the
legendary trainer Tommy Elder in the corners of mostly winning amateur and
professional fighters throughout the state. It was during this time that he co-founded
the Black Think Tank with his wife, Dr. Julia Hare, initially to edit and publish a
journal called
Black Male-Female Relationships (the subject of Dr. Nathan Hare's second
Ph.D. dissertation) designed to be a catalytic force for the ensuing black male-female
relationships movement that flourished across the country in the 1970s and 1980s.
Newsweek magazine featured the launching of the journal and its movement in an article
dealing with “The New Black Movement" ("The Black Male-Female Rift").  

Dr. Hare presently remains with The Black Think Tank and in the private practice of
psychology in San Francisco, for more than thirty years in the same location (in the
historic building that was once the home of Mary Ellen Pleasant, the controversial  
black abolitionist who was a supporter of John Brown but counseled him in vain to
delay his going to Harper's Ferry). Today, the San Francisco Bay Area African-
American Historical and Cultural Society identifies Mary Ellen Pleasant on a monument
to her on the grounds of the site where she lived, at 1801 Bush Street (at the corner of
Octavia), as a leader of the "Western Terminus of the Fugitive Slave Underground
Railroad from 1850 to 1865." Dr. Hare was selected an honorary member of the Board of
Directors of the San Francisco Bay Area African-American Historical and Cultural
Society, in 1981.

Awards and Honors
Among the scholarly honors received by Dr. Hare: the Joseph Himes Award for
Distinguished Scholarly Contributions to Sociology (from the Association of Black
Sociologists -- the highest award the organization gives) . He has twice received the
National Award for Distinguished Scholarly Contributions to Black Studies from the
National Council for Black Studies. Both the National Association of Black School
Educators and the National Conference on Blacks  in Higher Education of the National
Association for Equal Opportunity have honored Dr. Hare, and he has been inducted
into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. He has received  the
"Distinguished Alumni Award" from Langston University and is listed among the
distinctively intellectual University of Chicago's "Notable Alumni," living and dead, as
well as its "Notable African-American Alumni."

Widely Published
Author of the underground classic, The Black Anglo Saxons, Dr. Hare has written and
published many articles in such scholarly and popular periodicals as
Ebony, Negro Digest,
Saturday Review, the Massachusetts Review, Newsweek, Newsday,  The Black Collegian, Social
, Social Education, The Black Scholar, the Journal of Negro Education, Black World and
The Times of London, to name a few.  Some of his articles have been reprinted in
anthologies and two of them, "Black Ecology" (from
The Black Scholar) and
"Understanding the Black Rebellion" (from the
London Times) were translated into other
languages around the world. Dr. Hare has also collaborated on articles and books with
his wife, Dr. Julia Hare.

An anthology of Dr. Nathan Hare's most innovative essays from the early and late
1960s, titled
Rebels Without a Name: Selected Essays on Black Studies and the Study of
is set for publication in 2011.

Then, coming in the whirlwind to complete a double whammy, is his
psychobiographical study already thirteen years in the making,
Intruder in the Ivory

For Dr. Nathan Hare
The Black Think Tank
Phone: (415) 474-1707
White Minds,  Black Bodies.  Who
are they -- and why? A brutal and brilliant
indictment of America's social
schizophrenics, the "Oreos," -- black on the
outside, white on the inside.
The Black
Anglo Saxons
, called "one of the most
important analyses of the black middle
class" by poet and publisher Haki
Madhubuti, is sometimes poignant,  often
hilarious, in its apt descriptions  of  a certain
category of black individuals  or "people of
color" (postmodern colored people) who
dis-identify with the black race in order to
take on the aura and mimicry of the white
middle class, sometimes going  to sleep at
night and dreaming  they will wake up
white. First published in 1965 by Marzani
and Munsell, with an introduction by the
great black sociologist, Oliver Cox,. it has
remained in print; first reissued in 1970 by
Thunder and Lightning Press, with a new
introduction by the late civil rights leader,
Floyd McKissick  (distributing  through
Macmillan), then in 1990 a third edition was
issued by Third World Press. The Black
Anglo Saxons is available from Third World
Press,, and your favorite
bookstore, and may be pruchased by
visiting The Black Think Tank Bookstore
on this site.  
FOR A BETTER         
By Nathan
Reprinted from EBONY
, 1976
[From the forthcoming anthology,
Rebels Without a Name: Collected
Essays on Black Studies and the
Study of Blackness]

If I had to name the most tragic
failure of black people historically
in the United States, I’d have to
point to the relations between
black males and black females.  
Our confusion, our negligence, in
this area is both curious and
shocking, because the relations
between male and female are the
most crucial for the subjugation of
a people.

When the Swedish social scientist
Gunnar Myrdal (with the
collaboration of leading black and
white liberal scholars) made his
study of An American Dilemma
during World War II, he found that
whites placed sexual and social
intimacy first as a source of
contention around the issue of
black equality while blacks put
such matters last.  Unfortunately,
many black leaders and scholars
echoed  Myrdal in seeing this
contrast as either irrelevant or as
a cause for glee and nationwide
chuckling.  But I suspect that is
merely shows that white folks
know more about the art of racism
than black people know about it.  
Whites, not blacks, are the
professionals in the practice of
racism against blacks.  

Meanwhile, we are left with an
agonizing duality of racism and
sexism, which combine to confuse
us and to control and defeat our
collective thrust.  Almost anybody
will acknowledge these days that
we live in a society that is both
sexist (or patriarchal) and racist.  
In such a society, it was
historically the black male’s place.  
However, at the same time as
they endeavored to emasculate
the black male, they also sought
to defeminize the black female.  
Her beauty was denied, her
femininity and her virtues
denigrated, and she was robbed of
the chance to nestle comfortably
on a pedestal of protected
womanhood or otherwise to enjoy
the privileges of a woman as
defined by the white slave master
society and her own, the slave
society.  She was not to be a
woman any more than a black
man could be a man.

Yet black crusaders have attacked
inequities in every major social
institution in American society
except the family (let alone black
male-female relations as such).  
In the area of education, we have
fought for school integration and
have raised the alternative of
community control and quality-
black-oriented education.  In
politics, we now have the right to
vote, and already have elected
mayors, congressmen and
women, state legislators and the
like.  In economics, we have the
fair employment laws, “black
capitalism,” and black left-wing
efforts to replace capitalism with
socialism.  In esthetics, we have
excellence in music and
entertainment, acting on
television, and black movies
produced and directed by blacks as
well as Hollywood proper.  And in
religion we have established our
own churches and our own
denominations, even our own
sects, and now are searching for a
universal black theology.  But
what have we done for the black
family collectively, aside from
asserting the notion of its
strengths and tracing its elusive
and ancient African roots?  This is
good anthropology but it is not
black reconstruction.

Too many black scholars and
intellectuals have tried for shaking
reasons in recent years to pretend
that all is well with the black
family, despite our recognized
economic, educational and political
deprivation.  Appalling is the only
word I know that begins to
describe the way we have begun
to play down and neglect the
psychological effects and the social
destruction of the inability to earn
an acceptable living.  We pretend
that somehow we can’t see the
deadly significance of the
unemployment and
underemployment of the black
male—for whom a program of
mass employment and
reconstruction other than in
prisons and military camps is
necessary if the black family is
ever going to be restructured as a
viable leverage in the quest for
social and economic elevation.  
The black male’s endeavor to
camouflage or overcompensate for
his own awareness that society
has frustrated his performance of
his role too often takes the form of
a flight from the family nest.

According to a United States
Census report of late July, more
than one out of three black
families are now headed by
females.  Never mind the rhetoric
to the effect that that may be
ideal, ask most of the black
females involved instead of the
black and white liberal social
scientists who live in two-parent,
two-car families.  Like most
indices of social decay, this figure
for black female heads of families
is more than three times the rate
for whites.  Black children are
about as likely to suffer the loss of
at least one parent, (usually the
father) as not to; among those
black families with incomes under
$4,000, the figure is nearly all of
them—nine out of ten.  We love
and lose our parental figures too
early and too often as children,
and this frustration (and conflict)
manifests itself in many subtle an
complex ways in later adulthood
love life.

It is no wonder that black males
and females are finding it
increasingly hard to get along
together, but we are ignoring this
unfortunate fact in the name of a
false racial pride.  The problem, the
black male-female schism, is
complicated further by the inability
of the white-dominated feminist
movement to answer crucial
questions it has raised for black
female liberation.  We, for our part,
have failed to incorporate black
women’s liberation as an integral
part of the general black
movement (as against sporadic
black female efforts which, in their
simple mimicry of white feminists,
are too often hostile and contrary
to the black male).  The problem in
turn is compounded by the
displaced power struggle that
presents itself between the black
male and the black female.

I propose that we begin to
establish black love groups
(psychological workshops, group
therapy, couples therapy, and the
like) to begin to elevate black love
groups to the status of a social
movement reminiscent of the
popularity of so-called encounter
groups among alienated and
disaffected white individuals during
the late 1960s.  In this way we
can begin to iron out our
differences and our difficulties and
perhaps to arrive ultimately at a
workable solution.  Understand
me, I am not trying to say that
black people as a group are sick,
but it may be correct to say that a
black person in our society doesn’t
have to be sick in any way to
experience problems in life and
living requiring professional
guidance.  It is clear to me that at
the same time as black love group
participants work out their
personal conflicts (under the
supervision of qualified therapists
and group leaders) they would
indirectly contribute to the general
resolution of black male-female
conflicts so vital to the race as a
whole in the crucial years ahead.

I believe that through black love
groups we may learn to love again
(that is, to feel loved, to love
ourselves, and therefore one
another).  We already know how
to hate one another.
Nathan Hare, a former professor at Howard
university, Virginia State University and San
Francisco State university, has doctorates in
sociology and clinical psychology.  He was
founder-publisher of The Black Scholar, and
is now on the faculty of the California
School of Professional Psychology and
engaged in the practice of psychotherapy in
San Francisco.
.. 1976.

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