STEALTH HISTORY & BLACK GATE KEEPERS
by Dhoruba Bin Wahad
Years ago I wrote about the Black Agents of Stealth History. Those accounts and analysis of revolutionary movements written by former Government snitches, Police agents, and assorted “Professors of Black History” who matriculated from Dashiki wearing sexist narrow cultural nationalists during the sixties when all hands were needed at the armed front against Police terrorism and white supremacist violence.
So What is stealth history? It is misrepresentation of the historical relevance and purpose of groups and or individuals who’s contribution to the Freedom struggle of their people, if positively represented and or emulated would radically change Black people’s institutional perceptions and in doing so remove from “responsible leadership” and relevancy the petty middled class, caste, and their ideology which derives benefits from Black subjugation and/or integration into prevailing racist system. Stealth History is revisionism of events, social struggles, and political contradictions that seeks to legitimize collaborators with White supremacy.
For decades now the “Stealth Historical accounts of the sixties have been in full effect. The legacy of the BPP has been a particular target of Stealth Historians Black and White. The contemptible stealth historical portrayal of the Party created by the Black Gatekeeper class and their artistic and creative sycophants that demeans, negates, and trivialize the BPP’s contribution in expanding the envelope of Human Rights in America, and in doing so established the enduring principle of fidelity to the Poor disenfranchised Black population are the major reason why at the height of the Black Liberation struggle against white supremacist domination(1964-71), when the U.S. government declared that the BPP was “the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States”.
The non-violent “civil rights” wing led by many of the iconic Civil Rights leaders portrayed by Hollywood (that Malcolm X talked about) scooted for the cover of “legitimacy”, after decades of managing the post-industrial Plantation, now like old senile Uncles sitting on the porch recounting the days of their youth to a new generation of “Dream Seekers” they simply forgot about the Robert Williams, the H. Rap Browns, Kwame Touré, the Huey P. Newtons, the Fred Hamptons, Eddie Conways, Assata Shakurs or Sekou Odingas, and their political Alzheimer’s moment only coincidentally erases the role of Black militant traditions that help shape our collective resistance to systems dedicated to white supremacy.
Just as George Jackson and Black Prison movements were ignored in best sellers like the “New Jim Crow” by Michele Alexander whose analysis of Mass incarceration, completely overlooks the impact of Revolutionary Prison movements on Law Enforcement’s Corporate Criminal-Jusice-Complex, or the purposeful mischaracterization of Black armed self-defense (as crazy niggers with guns) and proferring distorted accounts of Black Radicalization at a crucial moment in Time when Black Human Rights and Black Nationalism threaten to diminish the appeal of a integrationist middle-class movement pursuing “Civil Rights” and their institutional inclusion in corporate America, especially during a pivotal point in U.S. cold war relations, i.e. the Vietnam War should be considered mere lapses in research, difference of opinions – Black stealth historians “forgot” about Denmark Vessey too until a racist white boy reminded those among us who remembered to forget the terrorism of white supremacy.
Though the BPP lasted in its original form for a relative brief period, It was the international character of the BPP and Huey P. Newton’s brilliance in regard to revolutionary Black Nationalism and class (which underscored the Party’s International solidarity with Liberation Movements as an effective expression of modern Pan-Africanism vs the narrow Cultural and Messianic Nationalism that perpetuate neocolonial elites and their control of African masses that made Huey and the original Party shine as revolutionary heirs of Malcolm X, not as a reactionary spin-offs of the messianic ultra-nationalism that Killed Malcolm.
We all know now that It was MLK’s transition from domestic civil rights leader to a international “drum major” for Human Rights (anti-imperialism) that sealed his doom and caused the abandonment of his Poor People’s campaign by his colleagues and a few of today’s senior Black Leaders. Like wise it was the BPP’s revolutionary ideology, it’s adaptation of principled class, gender and race analysis that made the Party’s destruction by the State a national priority and a hated reminder to the sell-outs of institutional Black leadership of their cowardice.
Not having seen this particular production (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution by Stanley Nelson) I have no doubt that the “Stealth historical” distortion of not only the BPP’s legacy, but the legacy of Black militant resistance to white supremacy in America is in full effect. Much of Elaine Brown’s critique here rings true especially to those of us who have paid the price in blood, with our youth, and who today remain the “the last of a loud generation” of rebellious revolutionaries – the misfits of racist America
Here is the original intro I and Tanaquil Jones released for the Campaign To Free Black Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (referenced in my comments on Stanley Nelson’s BPP documentary)) regarding “Stealth History”. That term was coined by Reginald Major in Volume 24, No 4 of Black Scholar, titled “Stealth History: A Political Process”. circa 1992 perhaps.
-written by Dhoruba Bin Wahad-
Dhoruba Bin Wahad currently co-chairs the National Coalition to Combat Police Terrorism with former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
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“Stealth history” as a concept seems to cover a lot more than simply the misrepresentation of the BPP, the BLA, and the like, those Mr. Dhoruba bin Wahad certainly did his thing in explaining how this is the case. To me, stealth history is even more than the disruptive lies told to the youth and masses about the revolutionary groups and organizations of the 1950s-70s, even though these lies are directly tied to the de-linking the present generation from the ideologies that Mr. Wahad and his comrades represent.
Stealth history, or particularly, stealth historians are literally to blame for the new 50 year curtain that currently veils our conversations over Black Power, Black Nationalism/Fundamentalism, and even Black Internationalist/Leftist movements. Now, whenever we talk about revolution or Black movement for self-determination, we MUST start our conversation with the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. This is utterly ridiculous given that neither the NAACP, the Nation of Islam, nor the Black Panther Party represented the largest, most organized, or most attacked movements produced by Black people. We are forced to forget the UNIA, the African Blood Brothers, Ida B Wells and the Black women’s club movement, etc. We are forced to forget the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, the corner orators, and the Pan-African connection that was forged through the constant movement of Black people. We have to forget the masses of Black men who were willing to die to aid Abyssinia from Italian aggression in the 1930s. We are even forced to forget that J Edgar Hoover became the big man that he was due to destroying the largest African organization in modern times, the UNIA-ACL. Why? Because Black radicalism started in the 1960s with Malcolm X and Robert Williams who later influenced Huey P Newton and Bobby Seale to pick up guns and put on a beret.
With the integration of Black scholars into white institutions of higher learner, these “stealth historians” were able to make it seem as if Blacks only had ONE great “loud generation.” It seems even some who would consider themselves true historians have fallen for the bamboozlement. Isn’t it interesting that Mr. Wahad had to skip all the way back to the great Denmark Vessey over choosing from some greats just a generation before his own “last loud generation”? Black people were forced to forget about a lot more people who were ‘graciously’ given back to us by our white ‘friends’ (Hubert Henry Harrison comes immediately to mind while UCLA currently vultures over the UNIA’s papers with their 3.3% Black male population). But what other options do we have but to hope that white people maintain our history in the disgusting ways that they do? The first generation gap DID NOT occur between the youth today and those of the 60s but between the youth of the 60s and their own parents. Radical historians and stealth historians alike seem stuck in their golden years at the expense of the more impressive moments that came before them, it is just that the stealth historians are content to sell this history to the highest bidder.
Just imagine in the working generation of Carter G Woodson, Hubert Henry Harrison, and Arturo Schomburg were allotted space in the public universities and their propaganda machines instead of the bombastic “look-at-me” culture of the “last loud generation.” What kind of memory would have been produced then?
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