Sharon's Muse.... Let's chat over coffee while I ponder some things

About Me

My Meez


Recent Entries



Interesting Sites




In Stores

Watch mini trailer

Clip of places featured in Again

Need Flashplayer to view. Give time to load.


Short, Short Ebooks

Monday, April 23, 2007

Well, wonders never cease

Just found this:

The fascist who passed for "white"

American fascist
Lawrence Dennis

Some paragraphs from the article:

"Lawrence Dennis was, arguably, the brains behind American fascism. He attended the Nuremberg rallies, had a personal audience with Mussolini, and met Nazi leaders; throughout the 1930s he provided the intellectual ballast for America's bourgeoning pro-fascist movement. But though his work was well known and well appreciated by the intelligentsia and political elites on both sides of the Atlantic, there was one crucial fact about him that has never emerged until now: he was black.

"It turns out that the man Life magazine once described as "America's number one intellectual fascist" was, in fact, a light-skinned African American, born in the segregated South - although he "passed" for white among the greatest race hatemongers known to mankind.

"In a new book, The Colour of Fascism, Gerald Horne reveals how Dennis managed to live a lie for his entire adult life. "It's not clear that his wife knew that he was black," says Horne, a history professor at the University of Houston. "He certainly never told his daughter. When she asked him, he would just smile enigmatically."

"Dennis was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1893 just as racial segregation had fully reasserted its authority on the South in the wake of the civil war. His mother was African American, as is clear from pictures; his father's race is not known. As a boy he was a famous child preacher, spreading the gospel first among black American congregations and then later abroad, even in Britain. But at some point in his adolescence, he did something quite dramatic: he cut all ties with his family so that he could attend the prestigious school of Exeter, and then Harvard, as a white man. After that he briefly pursued a career as a diplomat and broker, and then in the wake of the Wall Street Crash went on to become the public face of American fascism. None of these jobs would have been open to him had it been known he was black.

"Interestingly, Dennis was dark enough to make most people look twice. The Nazi sympathiser and pilot Charles Lindbergh suspected that some of Dennis's "ancestors ... might have come from the near east". Lindbergh's wife Anne referred to Dennis's "bronzed" skin. A New York Times report in 1927 outlined Dennis's "close-cropped bristly hair and [skin] deeply bronzed by the tropical sun". A leftwing newspaper mentioned "the tall, swarthy prophet of 'intellectual fascism.' "

"Not surprisingly, perhaps, his racial politics were the most peculiar. He kept company with some of the most extreme white supremacists of his day, but despite the views of most of his friends and backers, Dennis managed both to champion fascism and subtly to maintain a distance from racist polemic. "

This last paragraph is the killer coda, the true irony of a man who denied his own race while idolizing Mussolini and Hitler, so much so that he eventually faced charges of sedition and lost his wife, his reputation and his fortune:

"In what may have been his most audacious act of defiance, or evidence that he had finally given up the pretence, he eventually let his hair grow out. When he died, in obscurity, in 1977, he did so with an afro."

Self-denial and self-hatred (as well as hatred of others) all packaged together. Sounds eerily like Philip Roth's The Human Stain.


Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 4/23/2007 11:18:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


Layout Design by Hajira Thanks to:Getty Images BlogspotBlogskins