Trump’s War for Hearts and Minds: America’s Deep-State and the Evisceration of Truth-Telling

I read Charles Blow’s withering statement of defiance to the incoming Trump administration and was pleased to see that an editorial columnist of his standing has taken such a committed stance of resistance based on a “moral obligation to do so.”  All journalists should resist the ‘honeymoon’ with Trump and hold his feet to the fire with unsparing research and reporting. However, I am disturbed because I have not seen Mr. Blow’s fellow journalists take up the moral cudgel against the NY Times and its historic deference and service to the Central Intelligence Agency during and since the Cold War. As Carl Bernstein made clear in his 1977 Rolling Stone article castigating the Church Committee report on the Agency’s history of malfeasance, “By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.” (Carl Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media”)  Trump called the Times “a great, great American jewel,” signifiying its former (and probably current) position as the crown jewel in the CIA’s media assets.  More chilling is the incoming Republican’s wish, “And I hope we can all get along well” as it raises several questions that the artist and scholar-activist community should attend to: What will the press and the incoming president ‘getting along’ look like?  How has the USG used the media to manufacture consent for its policies? Will it repeat the CIA’s use of the Fourth Estate as its echo chamber for conservative foreign policy? Will it drum up support for the extradition of dissidents like Assata Shakur, the Black Panther Activist falsely convicted of the murder of a NJ state trooper and who subsequently escaped to Cuba where she lives today?  The Trump campaign’s position suggested that he would crackdown on the media. Will president Trump use these threats as leverage over a historically all-too compliant press?

As the CIA and Times shared history of manufacturing consent will show, advocates of self-determination and freedom for all, regardless of color, should be alarmed. In 1961, New York Times reporter Paul Hoffman–a WWII era Nazi agent– lent his voice and the gray lady’s gravitas to falsely condemn the emerging Congolese democracy under President Joseph Kasavubu and Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. David Talbot relates that

The New York Times coverage of the Congo crisis had always been slanted against Lumumba, with columns and commentaries labeling him “inexperienced and irresponsible” and a “virtual dictator.” But Hofmann’s Congo coverage was so virulent in its bias that it seemed as if he were acting as a “psywar” conduit for U.S. intelligence. (Talbot, Devil’s Chessboard, p. 383)

Parroting the Eisenhower administration’s racist justifications for Lumumba’s assassination, the NYT continued its unquestioning support of the Dulles-Eisenhower hawkish line.  Talbot (p. 238) relates that in 1957, “The New York Times took a similar celebratory line, calling Mossadegh “a rabid, self-seeking nationalist” whose thebrothers“unlamented” disappearance from the political stage “brings us hope.”

Relative to the American National Security State including the CIA, President Trump has a lineage that should be noted. Trump’s mentor, Roy Cohn, worked both ends of the Mafia CIA connection by defending mafioso in lawsuits, by working for Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy’s purge of left-leaning government officials–a Red Scare, which disproportionately targeted Black public figures like Lena Horne, Benjamin Davis, Paul Robeson, and W.E.B. Du Bois. If Trump governs in a mold set by Nixon, his administration will be a ready-made trojan horse for the worst of America’s policy options relative to Black and Brown people:

Nixon grew into a potent political weapon for the Dulles group, a cunning operator who managed to accrue solidly conservative credentials with the Republican Party’s popular base while dependably serving the interests of the GOP’s privileged leadership class. Together, the Dulles circle and Richard Nixon would bring about a sharp, rightward shift in the nation’s politics, driving out the surviving elements of the New Deal regime in Washington and establishing a new ruling order that was much more in tune with the Dulles circle’s financial interests. Talbot, Devil’s Chessboard, p. 161)

(c) Paul Conrad, “His Own Worst Enemy,” 1973.

Given our incoming President’s penchant for oligarchs like Putin, his resistance to surrendering control over his financial interests or to release his tax records, we can expect four years of opacity, mendacity and dirt-dealing that could make Allen Dulles and Tricky Dick jealous.

Blogger, BlackThen asks, ‘Was The First Slave Owner In America A Black Man?’ | Black Then  

The answer is a clear, No.  This claim is just wrong and clearly propagandistic on many levels as respondents Vanguard and atwilliams8 indicated in reply to this ahistorical nugget.

First, this is propaganda because it masks the racial development of early America. The man, John Punch, referred to by atwilliams8, lived at a time when slavery was rapidly becoming racialized against Africans brought into the English colonies of Virginia and Maryland. Historians like John Thornton and Peter Wood refer to the period as the Terrible Transformation or the Downward Spiral. Within two generations Anthony the Angolan’s descendants had no hope of owning property as their racial cohort were reduced to perpetual bondage.

But this is also just wrong because it pretends that Virginia was the first site in mainland America to which enslaved Africans were taken. Beginning in 1526 there were hundreds of Africans taken to the Spanish held territories in areas that would become SC and FL. San Miguel de Gualdape, St. Augustine, St. Helena were some of those settlements.

But, the flyer at the bottom reveals the intent. This little half-told history is supposed to undercut white culpability for 339 years of enslavement on american soil. Not gonna happen. Black people were caught up in a dehumanizing system that whites created for their own benefit.


Kemityu Film Screening

Please join us for the screening of the film, Kemityu: Cheikh Anta from 5:30 – 8:00pm, Tuesday, March 28, 2017 in the Bank of America Auditorium, Massey Leadership Center.

The film traces the life of Cheikh Anta Diop, the scholar and activist who changed the course of global Black consciousness. From his roots in Djourbel, Senegal to his student activism in Dakar and Paris, Diop challenged the eurocentric academy and the post-colonial political order. Kemityu provides a rare look at this remarkable historian.  The film has received honors at FESPACO (Ouagadougou), Guadeloupe Libreville, Gabon and Los Angeles’ Pan-African Film Festival. The film TRAILER is here:

Please find attached the event flyer and share with those in your various circles.


Filmmaker, William Ousmane Mbaye

Dr. Corrie Claiborne takes us Between Jordan Peele’s Get Out and the Extraordinary Life of Artist William H. Johnson

Great blog post by @profclaiborne that links Jordan Peele’s Get Out and visual artist, William H. Johnson.

The Living Ain't Easy

Teaching our class on Gullah Geechee Culture for the second time at Morehouse College has me considering what ways that Gullah people see the world differently. The Gullah worldview is something that I know exists, in part, because it is something that I experienced growing up in South Carolina. It is something that I also recognize has also been written about in books. I could go on about the ways in which Zora Neale Hurston has talked about this way of seeing in a variety of works or LeRhonda Manigault Bryant recognizes that Talking to the Dead –as the title of her book suggests is a key process, as is seeking and interpreting dreams, in the creative lives of lowcountry black women. However nothing has had me thinking more about having a different way of seeing, what W.E.B. Du Bois called having a “second sight” or “double consciousness” than…

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Here is an interesting episode that speaks to Dr. King’s character and courage, “Remembering Martin Luther King′s visit to Berlin” | Germany | DW.COM | 11.09.2014

Thirty-three years after my Dad, Rev. Ernest Livingston introduced us, (me and my brother, Oral Alphonso) to the words, ideas–nommo–of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I am continually impressed by his courage and leadership. In 1964, on his Nobel prize junket, King apparently resolved to visit East Berlin against the wishes of the United States government. Despite the fact that the State Department confiscated his passport, he traveled to the Communist-controlled part of the city and delivered at least two addresses. The following excerpt and link to the full article describe the impact of the Baptist preacher on East Berliners.

On the international stage, Cold War tension was rife. The State Department was none too keen on the activist’s plans to leave the American sector on the same day of the Michael Meyer incident, going so far as to confiscate his passport. Undeterred, he managed to cross the border anyway, recognized by border officials who accepted his American Express card as valid ID.

The East German authorities might not have formally sanctioned his visit, which had been initiated by Heinrich Grüber, provost at the Marienkirche, but they did nothing to impede it.

“King was opposed to the Vietnam War, he was an advocate for unions and workers’ rights,” points out Streit. “The Americans didn’t want him going off to talk to ‘the Communists’, but for its part, the Party didn’t mind at all.”

Morehouse Telema 2016 Statement

Morehouse College’s African American Studies Faculty, Staff and Students stand in solidarity with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo in their pro-democracy protests. We support their peaceful struggle for a constitutionally elected president who respects constitutional constraints on power, especially term limits. Congolese protesters are expressing their just demand for a regular transition of power in their country. This deserves the respect and support of all fair-minded persons.

Conversely, we condemn the brutality of the Kabila regime in killing people whose lives should be protected. Significantly, we call on President Obama to fully implement Public Law 109-456, (which he sponsored as Senate Bill 2125) and to reverse a disastrous foreign policy toward Congo that has, since the Eisenhower administration, fostered a kleptocratic government that continues to rob Congolese people of their wealth, dignity and sovereignty. We echo the call for President Kabila to stand down his gendarmes and to step down from office so that elections may be held for a new administration. We call on all friends of social justice to support the protesters’ goal of building a truly democratic Republic of Congo.

Congolese Activist, Luc Nkulula.

As scholar-activists of the African American freedom struggle, we appreciate the historic role that students and youth have played in that fight. Morehouse College has a special connection to the Civil Rights struggle in producing mainline leaders, most notably, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as, student activists like Julian Bond and Saul Williams who constantly advanced new and creative approaches within freedom movements. We also acknowledge the special ethical example evident in the life of Patrice Emery Lumumba, Congo’s first democratically elected Prime Minister. By standing with our brothers and sisters in the DRC, we are evoking the best of African liberation struggles on both sides of the Atlantic.

We are connected to the DRC. In 2014, Morehouse faculty visited cities hit hard by war–Goma, Beni and Butembo in North Kivu and the capital, Kinshasa. Continuing into 2015, we made strong efforts to draw closer connections between universities in North Kivu and the Atlanta University Center (AUC). In April 2016, we convened faculty and students from the AUC and the Open University of Great Lakes at Goma (ULPGL) and in November, with Friends of the Congo, hosted Bro. Samuel Yagase of the GOVA movement. We will continue to advocate for social, economic and political justice in Congo, Africa and its diaspora.

Congo’s First Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.

We pray for strength to DRC’s activists, their families and communities. Likewise, we pray for all power to the Congolese people whose long night of despotism deserves a new dawn of self-determination.

Samuel T. Livingston, Ph.D. | MOREHOUSE COLLEGE | Associate Professor and Director
African American Studies Program | 830 Westview Drive, S.W.|Atlanta,GA 30314 | |

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: The Fragility of White Women Allies

In 1866, Author, orator and activist, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper spoke before the Women’s Rights Convention in , New York. Her words speak to us in this coming Trump era, delivered in part by middle of the road and conservative white women who strongly backed the P***y grabber.


“You white women speak of rights. I speak of wrongs.

“We have a woman in our country who has received the name of ‘Moses,’ not by lying about it, but by acting it out — a woman who has gone down into the Egypt of slavery and brought out hundreds of our people into liberty. The last time I saw that woman, her hands were swollen. That woman who had led one of Montgomery’s most successful expeditions, who was brave enough and secretive enough to act as a scout for the American army, had her hands all swollen from a conflict with a brutal conductor, who undertook to eject her from her place. That woman, whose courage and bravery won a recognition from our army and from every black man in the land, is excluded from every thoroughfare of travel. Talk of giving women the ballot-box? Go on. It is a normal school, and the white women of this country need it. While there exists this brutal element in society which tramples upon the feeble and treads down the weak, I tell you that if there is any class of people who need to be lifted out of their airy nothing and selfishness, it is the white women of America.“

Nixon’s racism crossed international borders

In 1960, the Eisenhower administration made plans to murder Patrice Lumumba. their justifications ranged from the standard, ‘he’s a communist,’ to the surreal, ‘he looks luciferean.’

At one National Security Council meeting, Vice President Nixon observed, “Some of the peoples of Africa have been out of trees for only about 50 years,” to which Budget Director Maurice Stans (who would later serve as President Nixon’s commerce secretary) replied that he “had the impression that many Africans still belonged in trees.”

David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard, p. 364.