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George Schuyler

George Schuyler

George Schuyler was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1895. He enlisted with the United States Army in 1912 and worked his way to the rank of lieutenant.

After the First World War Schuyler moved to New York City where he worked as a labourer before Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen employed him as a journalist on The Messenger in 1923. A member of the Socialist Party, Schuyler contributed to a wide variety of radical journals including Opportunity, Crisis and Nation.

Schuyler eventually become associate editor of the Pittsburgh Courier. He supplied the weekly paper with a regular column and was one of its chief editorial writers. On one assignment he took the Jim Crow tour of the southern states. Books written by Schuyler include The Negro Art Hokum (1926), Slaves Today: A Story of Liberia (1930) and Black No More (1931).

In the Second World War Schuyler criticised President Franklin D. Roosevelt for arguing that the United States was fighting for freedom and democracy. He pointed out that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party had been deeply influenced by the racial policies of the Deep South. In one article he argued that "until now the United States has yielded 100 per cent to the same racial theories trumpeted by Herr Hitler."

Although he was quick to point out individual cases of racism in the armed forces, Schuyler believed that African American should do all they could to defeat the Axis powers. He even attacked former comrades such as Philip Randolph when they attempted to bring an end to racial discrimination by actions such as the proposed March on Washington.

In 1943 Schuyler wrote an article on the war for the African American magazine, The Crisis entitled A Long War Will Aid the Negro. Schuyler argued that the war was taxing America's white human resources to the limit and that the armed forces "would have to rely increasingly on blacks to meet its needs and, in the process, would open up to them yet further opportunities for advancement."

During the McCarthy Era Schuyler moved sharply to the right and contributed to American Opinion, the journal of the John Birch Society. In 1947 he published The Communist Conspiracy against the Negroes. His autobiography, Black and Conservative, was published in 1966.

George Schuyler died in 1977.

Philip Randolph was one of the finest, most engaging men I had ever met. Undemanding and easy to get along with, leisurely and undisturbed, remaining affable under all circumstance, whether the rent was due and he did not have it, or whether an expected donation failed to materialize, or whether the long-suffering printer in Brooklyn was demanding money. He had a keen sense of humor and laughed easily, even in adversity.

With sadness and weary resignation I note that many supposedly intelligent Negroes are swallowing hook, line and sinker the same bush-wah at which their fathers snapped during World War One, to wit; that once victory is achieved, the colored brethren as a reward for their patriotic efforts and sacrifices will be promptly invested with all rights and privileges of citizenship now denied them wherever Homo Nordicus rules.

Of course it may be that the black masses's scepticism is unwarranted and that the phonograph Negroes are correct. Maybe peace will see an end to the discrimination and insults Negroes suffer under the Stars and Stripes, Union Jack, Tr-color, the banner of Savoy, etc. I hope so. But when I see a great nation like the United States engaged in a struggle for life and still determined to continue and even expand the racial distinction forced upon the whole nation by the fanatically Negrophobic South, I am doubtful, to put it mildly. And unless some changes are made pretty soon in the direction of real improvement, the disinterest of the black masses in the outcome of the current fight for democracy is going to become tremendous.

Mr. Randolph knows how to appeal to the emotions of the people and to get a great following together, but there his leadership ends because he has nowhere to lead them and would not know if he had. He has the messianic complex, considerable oratorical ability and some understanding of the plight of the masses, but the leadership capacity and executive ability required for the business at hand is simply not there. The original March on Washington move is now admitted to have been a failure else the current agitation would not be necessary.

George S. Schuyler is about the best. He is a clear and vivid writer. Sometimes he writes with a mordant sarcasm, but he does not let it unbalance the order of his ideas.


George Schuyler - History

George S. Schuyler and Black History Month

By Nicholas Stix
web posted February 23, 2004

Well, it's Black History Month, and I'll bet you haven't heard one thing about George S. Schuyler (1895-1977).

George S. Schuyler was, simply, the greatest black journalist this country has ever produced. (Normally, I eschew qualifiers like "greatest black," as opposed to "greatest," period, but this is journalism we're talking about. I will never, in five lifetimes of sitting in newspaper morgues, looking at microfilms of ancient newsprint, be able to read enough to determine who America's greatest journalist was.) From 1924-1966, he bestrode the black press like a colossus. Working for Robert Lee Vann's (1879-1940) Pittsburgh Courier weekly newspaper, under his own name, he penned a column, "News and Views," of which H.L. Mencken, remarked, "I am more and more convinced that he is the most competent editorial writer now in practice in this great free republic." Schuyler was in turn known as "the Negro Mencken." Schuyler wrote the Courier's weekly unsigned, house editorial. He traveled the world, investigating stories, which he wired back to the Courier, such as his world scoop on the return of slavery to Liberia, which had been founded in 1847 by American freedmen. (He was also the first black journalist to write, as a freelancer, for leading white publications, such as the New York Evening Post (now the New York Post), Washington Post, The Nation, and The American Mercury). And under no less than eight pseudonyms, he wrote the serial pulp fiction that proved to be the Courier's most popular feature (Samuel I. Brooks, Rachel Call, Edgecombe Wright, John Kitchen, William Stockton, Verne Caldwell and D. Johnson). And Schuyler engaged black popular historian Joel A. Rogers to write a cartoon feature on black history that was to prove one of the newspaper's most beloved sections.

Schuyler was also the greatest black satirist this country has ever seen, whose classic 1931 novel, Black No More, has twice been reprinted in the past 15 years. In the same year Schuyler's novel, Slaves Today: A Story of Liberia, was published, in which he presented, in fictional form, his discovery of the very real Liberian slave trade.

As a journalist, I can't carry Schuyler's jock strap. And yet, this giant has only 723 entries on Google (several from my articles), less than even I do! And usually the only time he receives noticed during Black History Month, is when I write about him. And when Schuyler does get mentioned by what journalist Tony Brown calls, in The Truth According to Tony Brown, the "Black Unaccountable Machine" (B.U.M.), it is to slight him, to insult him, to misrepresent him.

George Schuyler's problem was that he was a (gasp) … conservative!

And so, when the New York Times commissioned a reviewer to cover the 1995 biography of Schuyler's daughter, Phillippa, Composition in Black and White, the critic reduced the father to a one-sentence reference to him as a crank. Around that time, the alleged newspaper of record hired Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr. to do a hit piece on Schuyler in the Book Review, in which Gates, who fancies himself the second coming of W.E.B. DuBois, derided Schuyler as a self-hating black, a "fragmented" man, and quoted pompous ass, Toni Morrison, along the way, on the subject of black "self-hatred."

In 1998, when Long Island University gave a special George Polk Award to the Pittsburgh Courier (not the black newspaper that currently uses its name), and feted its few living former staffers, the New York Times and Daily News (and Daily News columnist E.R. Shipp) celebrated long-living mediocrities, while assiduously refusing to so much as mention the person responsible for the award: George Schuyler. (The newspapers both refused, as well, to publish my letters mentioning Schuyler.)

And in 1999, the alleged documentary, The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords, written by Jill and Stanley Nelson, Lou Potter and Marcia A. Smith, and directed by Stanley Nelson, reduced Schuyler's connection to the Courier to the phrase, "conservative columnist George Schuyler." (If you go to the IMDB site for The Black Press, you will be erroneously told that the movie is about Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind, was made in 2001 by the Nelsons and Smith.)

(But who am I to criticize the Nelsons? After all, Stanley Nelson is an official, accredited "genius," according to the MacArthur Foundation, while his sister Jill bragged about successfully agitating to get the Washington Post to misrepresent a rape charge against then-D.C. Mayor Marian Barry, in her memoir Volunteer Slavery, and who now twists young minds as a professor of journalism at the once-great City College of New York. The Nelsons are just the sort of phonies and petty propagandists that Schuyler burned with his acid tongue.)

George Samuel Schuyler was born in 1895 in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of a chef, and grew up in Syracuse, New York. He served six years in the U.S. Army (1912-1918), eventually attaining the rank of First Lieutenant, but went AWOL, when a Greek immigrant shoeshine man in Philadelphia called him the "n"-word, and refused to shine his shoes, even as Schuyler wore the nation's uniform. Later, after Schuyler turned himself in, he was convicted by a military court, and sentenced to five years in prison, but released after serving nine months for being a model prisoner. He never talked or wrote about his time in prison.

He came to New York City, where he did menial jobs for a few years, while studying on his own. Schuyler began associating with socialists, less out of conviction than because they gave him a social circle in which he could discuss ideas. Such circles brought him to the magazine, The Messenger, which was published by A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen, and from there, in 1924, to the New York office of the Pittsburgh Courier, an office which Schuyler would eventually run.

Though he joined the Socialist Party, would be identified early in his career with socialism, and would experiment with some allied ideas, such as cooperatives, Schuyler would never be a true believer, and would always be an anti-communist. In the late 1930s he broke finally with socialism altogether. Schuyler's anti-communism would become more and more influential in his thinking, just as black Americans became less and less hostile towards socialism in general, and leading communists, in particular, as attested to by the acceptance of the circle around the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Writing for The Nation magazine in 1926, Schuyler attacked the New Negro Movement's (which would come to be known as the Harlem Renaissance) claims that there could be such a thing as a "black" aesthetics. In "The Negro-Art Hokum," Schuyler famously (or notoriously, if you're an academic or mainstream journalist) wrote, "the Aframerican is merely a lampblacked Anglo-Saxon."

"Negro art 'made in America' is as non-existent as the widely advertised profundity of Cal Coolidge, the 'seven years of progress' of [New York] Mayor Hylan, or the reported sophistication of New Yorkers. Negro art there has been, is, and will be among the numerous black nations of Africa but to suggest the possibility of any such development among the ten million colored people in this republic is self-evident foolishness."

Schuyler was denying that blacks and whites lived in fundamentally different cultures and would produce fundamentally different art. He pointed out that leading black American intellectuals and artists (e.g., scholar W.E.B. DuBois and sculptor Meta Warwick Fuller) were predominantly influenced by European thinkers and artists.

Unfortunately, his hyperbole got the better of him, when he denied the differences between the black and white cultures of the time. And yet, regarding the notion that there could be a black American "aesthetics," Schuyler was right.

The magazine's editors then showed Schuyler's broadside to poet Langston Hughes (1902-1967), whose response, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," has been forced on students ever since by racially correct professors and teachers, most of whom never even read Schuyler's essay. Hughes makes no argument. He simply insists that every black artist be provincial, and browbeats any black who disagrees with him, with the implicit charge of being an Uncle Tom, while dishonestly saying that "an artist must be free to choose what he does."

"So I am ashamed for the black poet who says, 'I want to be a poet, not a Negro poet,' as though his own racial world were not as interesting as any other world. I am ashamed, too, for the colored artist who runs from the painting of Negro faces to the painting of sunsets after the manner of the academicians because he fears the strange unwhiteness of his own features. An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he must choose."

In 1929, Schuyler's pamphlet, Racial Intermarriage in the United States, called for solving America's race problem through miscegenation, which was then illegal in most states.

In 1931, Schuyler published Black No More, a science fiction satire heavily influenced by H.G. Wells, in which Dr. Junius Crookman invents a machine for turning black folks white. Schuyler mocked blacks' obsession with wanting to be white, whites' obsession with blacks, and the way black leaders such as DuBois and Marcus Garvey exploited the black masses. To appreciate how times have changed since then, DuBois wrote a blurb praising the book!

I believe that Black No More is the source for the Nation of Islam's "Myth of Yacub," which insists that the white race was created by an evil black scientist 6,000 years ago.

In the early 1930s, Schuyler denounced the communists who had taken over the movement to free the nine "Scottsboro Boys," young black men who had been falsely accused of rape by two white prostitutes, and who were eventually cleared.

In 1936, when Italy invaded Ethiopia under Mussolini, Schuyler called for a black expeditionary force to free Ethiopia from the grip of the Fascists.

In 1936-38, Schuyler penned the serialized novels, The Black Internationale and Black Empire, under the pseudonym Samuel I. Brooks. The novels helped double the Courier's circulation to 250,000.

(Note that the Courier was spread throughout the South by a network of black Pullman car porters, who would smuggle the paper, which was the scourge of racist white sheriffs, hidden in the floors of railroad cars, and drop off a total of 100,000 issues each week in bundles outside of every major southern city. The newspaper gained the cooperation of union leader A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979), the founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.)

The novels both centered on the work of ruthless, evil genius Dr. Henry Belsidus, successful abortionist to and lover of wealthy, white socialites, whom he uses to build his empire of criminal enterprises, legitimate businesses, black Church of Love, and secret, black expeditionary force, which he would use to win back Africa from white colonialists, and eventually to cast whites asunder in a racial Armageddon.

In the case of the Black Internationale, Schuyler was clearly influenced by the Black Muslims (now known as the Nation of Islam), just as he surely influenced them in Black No More.

Although Schuyler always mocked black nationalists such as Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), and referred to his pulp novels in a letter as "hokum," he easily moved in and out of the nationalist mindset. Recall that at the time, the terms "journalist," publicist," and "propagandist," were often interchangeable, and though the latter term may have fallen into disrepute since World War II, the underlying reality remains unchanged.

Later in Schuyler's career, with the rise of the civil rights movement, many African-Americans became less tolerant of intellectual diversity, and Schuyler had no patience for such lockstep "discipline."

In 1964, when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Schuyler wrote, in "King: No Help to Peace," "Neither directly nor indirectly has Dr. King made any contribution to world (or even domestic) peace. Methinks the Lenin Prize would have been more appropriate, since it is no mean feat for one so young to acquire 60 communist front citations…. Dr. King's principle contribution to world peace has been to roam the country like some sable Typhoid Mary, infecting the mentally disturbed with perversions of Christian doctrine, and grabbing fat lecture fees from the shallow-pated."

In what was surely the beginning of the end for Schuyler at the Courier, and thus in the black press, the Courier refused to publish the editorial instead, white publisher William Loeb ran it in the conservative Manchester Union-Leader newspaper. Note, however, that just as the black press rejected Schuyler, the press itself, in part through its own civil rights agitations, became irrelevant, as blacks began reading white newspapers, and talented young black journalists began working for those same organizations.

After King's 1968 assassination, Schuyler wrote, "The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., tragically emphasizes again the fact that non-violence always ends violently."

Schuyler submitted the preceding essay, "Dr. King: Non-Violence Always Ends Violently," to the North American Newspaper Alliance, which would not publish it. In his last years, Schuyler increasingly had difficulty selling his work, and when he did sell it, it was often to conservative white publications, particularly those published by the John Birch Society. Hence, did he go from being read almost exclusively by blacks to a virtually lily-white readership. The essay is, however, published – as are most of the essays I've quoted in this article – in the 2001 collection, Rac[e]ing to the Right: Selected Essays of George S. Schuyler.

Schuyler was no less sympathetic towards Malcolm X (1926-1965). In 1973, in his last published piece, "Malcolm X: Better to Memorialize Benedict Arnold," Schuyler was his old, acerbic self: "It is not hard to imagine the ultimate fate of a society in which a pixilated criminal like Malcolm X is almost universally praised, and has hospitals, schools, and highways named in his memory!… We might as well call out the schoolchildren to celebrate the birthday of Benedict Arnold. Or to raise a monument to Alger Hiss. We would do well to remember that all societies are destroyed from within — through weakness, immorality, crime, debauchery, and failing mentality."

Schuyler's career at the Courier ended in 1966, with the purchase of the newspaper by John H. Sengstacke, the biggest owner of black newspapers, who also owned the Chicago Defender. That year, Schuyler published his autobiography, Black and Conservative.

In recent years, several of George S. Schuyler's works have been republished or published for the first time in book form: Ethiopian Stories, Black Empire, Black No More, Rac[e]ing to the Right. Hopefully, Black and Conservative will be reprinted, and some of Schuyler's thousands of newspaper columns and editorials will be published in book form. At least one unpublished Schuyler biography has been written in dissertation form, and a history professor contacted me a year or so ago, asking about a Schuyler essay I'd promised my readers (but had failed to produce), as a possible source for a Schuyler-biography he is writing. But one cannot expect too much from publishers, after all, whose schedules are booked full with the next works by such luminaries as Jill Nelson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Cornel West.


Why We Won’t Hear About George Schuyler this February

Once again, “African-American History Month” is upon us.

Of course, these four weeks of February have little to do with actual history, and everything to do with ideology. That this is all about the advancement of a decidedly leftist political agenda is borne out readily enough by the conspicuous absence of the names of once-famous blacks who refused to endorse the conventional wisdom on the “civil rights era.”

One such person is George Samuel Schuyler.

The reason is simple: Schuyler, in spite of being one of the most incisive and compelling popular writers of the twentieth century, wasn’t just black he was black and conservative.

Born in 1895 in upstate New York, Schuyler would eventually become associated with “the Harlem Renaissance.” And from the 1920’s through the 1960’s, he wrote for and edited The Pittsburgh Courier, one of the largest black newspaper publications in the country. During this time, Schuyler authored what many regard as the first racially-oriented science fiction novel, Black No More. His 1966 autobiography, Black and Conservative, has been credited by no less a figure than the black Ivy League left-wing scholar Cornel West as a “‘minor classic’ in African-American letters.” The famed iconoclast H.L. Mencken, of whom Schuyler was a protégé of a sort, described the latter as perhaps the ablest writer, black or white, of his generation.

Besides being an ardent anti-communist, Schuyler also had little good to say about those of his contemporaries who lead the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Although he had been a tireless champion of racial equality for all of his life, he regarded the plans of the civil rights activists as inimical to liberty.

For instance, while it was still a bill in Congress, Schuyler argued powerfully against what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Schuyler readily concedes that the white majority’s attitude toward the black minority is “morally wrong, nonsensical, unfair, un-Christian and cruelly unjust.” Still, because “it remains the majority attitude,” the federal Civil Rights law would be but “another typically American attempt to use the force of law to compel the public to drastically change [.]”

Although race relations weren’t where Schuyler wanted for them to be at this time, he was quick to point out that they had improved markedly since slavery had ended. He was equally quick to observe that “civil rights laws, state or federal, have had little to do with” such changes. Rather, it is “custom” that “has dictated the pace of compliance” with those civil rights laws that would have otherwise remained “dormant in the law books.”

The “principal case” that Schuyler makes against this proposed legislation pertains to “the dangerous purpose it may serve.” Such a law “is still another encroachment by the central government on the federalized structure of our society.”

“Armed with this law enacted to improve the lot of a tenth of the population, the way will be opened to enslave the rest of the populace.” A federal civil rights law of the sort that was passed in 1964 strikes “a blow at the very basis of American society”—i.e. “state sovereignty and individual liberty and preference.”

Schuyler insisted on being even more graphic: “We are fifty separate countries, as it were, joined together for mutual advantage, security, advancement, and protection. It was never intended that we should be bossed by a monarch, elected on born. When this happens, the United States as a free land will cease to exist.”

That Schuyler had choice words for those men, like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, who are have been canonized by our culture is alone enough to relegate him to the dustbin of official “history.”

When King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, Schuyler was outraged. He wrote that King deserved, not this prize, but “the Lenin Prize,” for “it is no mean feat for one so young to acquire sixty Communist-front citations [.]” Schuyler lauded King’s objectives but deplored his motives. King’s “incitement,” he charged, “packed jails with Negroes and some whites, getting them beaten, bitten and firehosed, thereby bankrupting communities, raising bail and fines, to the vast enrichment of Southern Law and order.”

Schuyler debated Malcolm X on more than one occasion. He had little regard for Malcolm, who he referred to as “one of the high priests of Black Power [.]” Schuyler says of Malcolm that he “was a bold, outspoken, ignorant man of no occupation,” just one of the many “mediocrities, criminals, plotters, and poseurs” that had come to fill the ranks of this “past generation” of “black ‘leaders [.]’”

Upon meeting Malcolm for the first time, Schuyler admits that he “was initially astonished by his wide ignorance.” He explains that when Malcolm “launched into an excoriation of white people in the name of Islam, I called his attention to the fact that the majority of Moslems were whites [.]” Malcolm, he continued, was no better prepared to reply to this revelation than he was Schuyler’s assertion that Moslems were more involved in the African slave trade than were Europeans. “He was surprised to learn this,” Schuyler recalled.

Some years after his death when the movement to memorialize Malcolm was well under way, Schuyler said that “we might as well call out the school children to celebrate the birthday of Benedict Arnold.” He added: “It is not hard to imagine the ultimate fate of a society in which a pixilated criminal like Malcolm X is almost universally praised, and has hospitals, schools, and highways named in his memory!”

Perhaps it’s for the best that George Schuyler’s is not among the names that we’ll be hearing this month. Given the lover of individuality that he was, Schuyler would never have wanted to have been remembered as a black man.

But we should remember him for the man that he was, a man who waged a relentless campaign for truth and freedom and against the fashions and cant of his day.


George Schuyler - History

Posted on 02/26/2004 7:15:33 PM PST by mrustow

Well, it's Black History Month, and I'll bet you haven't heard one thing about George S. Schuyler (1895-1977).

George S. Schuyler was, simply, the greatest black journalist this country has ever produced. (Normally, I eschew qualifiers like "greatest black," as opposed to "greatest," period, but this is journalism we're talking about. I will never, in five lifetimes of sitting in newspaper morgues, looking at microfilms of ancient newsprint, be able to read enough to determine who America's greatest journalist was.) From 1924-1966, he bestrode the black press like a colossus. Working for Robert Lee Vann's (1879-1940) Pittsburgh Courier weekly newspaper, under his own name, he penned a column, "News and Views," of which H.L. Mencken, remarked, "I am more and more convinced that he is the most competent editorial writer now in practice in this great free republic." Schuyler was in turn known as "the Negro Mencken." Schuyler wrote the Courier's weekly unsigned, house editorial. He traveled the world, investigating stories, which he wired back to the Courier, such as his world scoop on the return of slavery to Liberia, which had been founded in 1847 by American freedmen. (He was also the first black journalist to write, as a freelancer, for leading white publications, such as the New York Evening Post (now the New York Post), Washington Post, The Nation, and The American Mercury). And under no less than eight pseudonyms, he wrote the serial pulp fiction that proved to be the Courier's most popular feature (Samuel I. Brooks, Rachel Call, Edgecombe Wright, John Kitchen, William Stockton, Verne Caldwell and D. Johnson). And Schuyler engaged black popular historian Joel A. Rogers to write a cartoon feature on black history that was to prove one of the newspaper's most beloved sections.

Schuyler was also the greatest black satirist this country has ever seen, whose classic 1931 novel, Black No More, has twice been reprinted in the past 15 years. In the same year Schuyler's novel, Slaves Today: A Story of Liberia, was published, in which he presented, in fictional form, his discovery of the very real Liberian slave trade.

As a journalist, I can't carry Schuyler's jock strap. And yet, this giant has only 723 entries on Google (several from my articles), less than even I do! And usually the only time he receives noticed during Black History Month, is when I write about him. And when Schuyler does get mentioned by what journalist Tony Brown calls, in The Truth According to Tony Brown, the "Black Unaccountable Machine" (B.U.M.), it is to slight him, to insult him, to misrepresent him.

George Schuyler's problem was that he was a (gasp) . conservative!

And so, when the New York Times commissioned a reviewer to cover the 1995 biography of Schuyler's daughter, Phillippa, Composition in Black and White, the critic reduced the father to a one-sentence reference to him as a crank. Around that time, the alleged newspaper of record hired Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr. to do a hit piece on Schuyler in the Book Review, in which Gates, who fancies himself the second coming of W.E.B. DuBois, derided Schuyler as a self-hating black, a "fragmented" man, and quoted pompous ass, Toni Morrison, along the way, on the subject of black "self-hatred."

In 1998, when Long Island University gave a special George Polk Award to the Pittsburgh Courier (not the black newspaper that currently uses its name), and feted its few living former staffers, the New York Times and Daily News (and Daily News columnist E.R. Shipp) celebrated long-living mediocrities, while assiduously refusing to so much as mention the person responsible for the award: George Schuyler. (The newspapers both refused, as well, to publish my letters mentioning Schuyler.)

And in 1999, the alleged documentary, The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords, written by Jill and Stanley Nelson, Lou Potter and Marcia A. Smith, and directed by Stanley Nelson, reduced Schuyler's connection to the Courier to the phrase, "conservative columnist George Schuyler." (If you go to the IMDB site for The Black Press, you will be erroneously told that the movie is about Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind, was made in 2001 by the Nelsons and Smith.)

(But who am I to criticize the Nelsons? After all, Stanley Nelson is an official, accredited "genius," according to the MacArthur Foundation, while his sister Jill bragged about successfully agitating to get the Washington Post to misrepresent a rape charge against then-D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, in her memoir Volunteer Slavery, and who now twists young minds as a professor of journalism at the once-great City College of New York. The Nelsons are just the sort of phonies and petty propagandists that Schuyler burned with his acid tongue.)

George Samuel Schuyler was born in 1895 in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of a chef, and grew up in Syracuse, New York. He served six years in the U.S. Army (1912-1918), eventually attaining the rank of First Lieutenant, but went AWOL, when a Greek immigrant shoeshine man in Philadelphia called him the "n"-word, and refused to shine his shoes, even as Schuyler wore the nation's uniform. Later, after Schuyler turned himself in, he was convicted by a military court, and sentenced to five years in prison, but released after serving nine months for being a model prisoner. He never talked or wrote about his time in prison.

He came to New York City, where he did menial jobs for a few years, while studying on his own. Schuyler began associating with socialists, less out of conviction than because they gave him a social circle in which he could discuss ideas. Such circles brought him to the magazine, The Messenger, which was published by A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen, and from there, in 1924, to the New York office of the Pittsburgh Courier, an office which Schuyler would eventually run.

Though he joined the Socialist Party, would be identified early in his career with socialism, and would experiment with some allied ideas, such as cooperatives, Schuyler would never be a true believer, and would always be an anti-communist. In the late 1930s he broke finally with socialism altogether. Schuyler's anti-communism would become more and more influential in his thinking, just as black Americans became less and less hostile towards socialism in general, and leading communists, in particular, as attested to by the acceptance of the circle around the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Writing for The Nation magazine in 1926, Schuyler attacked the New Negro Movement's (which would come to be known as the Harlem Renaissance) claims that there could be such a thing as a "black" aesthetics. In "The Negro-Art Hokum," Schuyler famously (or notoriously, if you're an academic or mainstream journalist) wrote, "the Aframerican is merely a lampblacked Anglo-Saxon."

"Negro art 'made in America' is as non-existent as the widely advertised profundity of Cal Coolidge, the 'seven years of progress' of [New York] Mayor Hylan, or the reported sophistication of New Yorkers. Negro art there has been, is, and will be among the numerous black nations of Africa but to suggest the possibility of any such development among the ten million colored people in this republic is self-evident foolishness."

Schuyler was denying that blacks and whites lived in fundamentally different cultures and would produce fundamentally different art. He pointed out that leading black American intellectuals and artists (e.g., scholar W.E.B. DuBois and sculptor Meta Warwick Fuller) were predominantly influenced by European thinkers and artists.

Unfortunately, his hyperbole got the better of him, when he denied the differences between the black and white cultures of the time. And yet, regarding the notion that there could be a black American "aesthetics," Schuyler was right.

The magazine's editors then showed Schuyler's broadside to poet Langston Hughes (1902-1967), whose response, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," has been forced on students ever since by racially correct professors and teachers, most of whom never even read Schuyler's essay. Hughes makes no argument. He simply insists that every black artist be provincial, and browbeats any black who disagrees with him, with the implicit charge of being an Uncle Tom, while dishonestly saying that "an artist must be free to choose what he does."

"So I am ashamed for the black poet who says, 'I want to be a poet, not a Negro poet,' as though his own racial world were not as interesting as any other world. I am ashamed, too, for the colored artist who runs from the painting of Negro faces to the painting of sunsets after the manner of the academicians because he fears the strange unwhiteness of his own features. An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he must choose."

In 1929, Schuyler's pamphlet, Racial Intermarriage in the United States, called for solving America's race problem through miscegenation, which was then illegal in most states.

In 1931, Schuyler published Black No More, a science fiction satire heavily influenced by H.G. Wells, in which Dr. Junius Crookman invents a machine for turning black folks white. Schuyler mocked blacks' obsession with wanting to be white, whites' obsession with blacks, and the way black leaders such as DuBois and Marcus Garvey exploited the black masses. To appreciate how times have changed since then, DuBois wrote a blurb praising the book!

I believe that Black No More is the source for the Nation of Islam's "Myth of Yacub," which insists that the white race was created by an evil black scientist 6,000 years ago.

In the early 1930s, Schuyler denounced the communists who had taken over the movement to free the nine "Scottsboro Boys," young black men who had been falsely accused of rape by two white prostitutes, and who were eventually cleared.

In 1936, when Italy invaded Ethiopia under Mussolini, Schuyler called for a black expeditionary force to free Ethiopia from the grip of the Fascists.

In 1936-38, Schuyler penned the serialized novels, The Black Internationale and Black Empire, under the pseudonym Samuel I. Brooks. The novels helped double the Courier's circulation to 250,000.

(Note that the Courier was spread throughout the South by a network of black Pullman car porters, who would smuggle the paper, which was the scourge of racist white sheriffs, hidden in the floors of railroad cars, and drop off a total of 100,000 issues each week in bundles outside of every major southern city. The newspaper gained the cooperation of union leader A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979), the founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.)

The novels both centered on the work of ruthless, evil genius Dr. Henry Belsidus, successful abortionist to and lover of wealthy, white socialites, whom he uses to build his empire of criminal enterprises, legitimate businesses, black Church of Love, and secret, black expeditionary force, which he would use to win back Africa from white colonialists, and eventually to cast whites asunder in a racial Armageddon.

In the case of the Black Internationale, Schuyler was clearly influenced by the Black Muslims (now known as the Nation of Islam), just as he surely influenced them in Black No More.

Although Schuyler always mocked black nationalists such as Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), and referred to his pulp novels in a letter as "hokum," he easily moved in and out of the nationalist mindset. Recall that at the time, the terms "journalist," publicist," and "propagandist," were often interchangeable, and though the latter term may have fallen into disrepute since World War II, the underlying reality remains unchanged.

Later in Schuyler's career, with the rise of the civil rights movement, many African-Americans became less tolerant of intellectual diversity, and Schuyler had no patience for such lockstep "discipline."

In 1964, when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Schuyler wrote, in "King: No Help to Peace," "Neither directly nor indirectly has Dr. King made any contribution to world (or even domestic) peace. Methinks the Lenin Prize would have been more appropriate, since it is no mean feat for one so young to acquire 60 communist front citations . Dr. King's principle contribution to world peace has been to roam the country like some sable Typhoid Mary, infecting the mentally disturbed with perversions of Christian doctrine, and grabbing fat lecture fees from the shallow-pated."

In what was surely the beginning of the end for Schuyler at the Courier, and thus in the black press, the Courier refused to publish the editorial instead, white publisher William Loeb ran it in the conservative Manchester Union-Leader newspaper. Note, however, that just as the black press rejected Schuyler, the press itself, in part through its own civil rights agitations, became irrelevant, as blacks began reading white newspapers, and talented young black journalists began working for those same organizations.

After King's 1968 assassination, Schuyler wrote, "The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., tragically emphasizes again the fact that non-violence always ends violently."

Schuyler submitted the preceding essay, "Dr. King: Non-Violence Always Ends Violently," to the North American Newspaper Alliance, which would not publish it. In his last years, Schuyler increasingly had difficulty selling his work, and when he did sell it, it was often to conservative white publications, particularly those published by the John Birch Society. Hence, did he go from being read almost exclusively by blacks to a virtually lily-white readership. The essay is, however, published -- as are most of the essays I've quoted in this article -- in the 2001 collection, Rac[e]ing to the Right: Selected Essays of George S. Schuyler.

Schuyler was no less sympathetic towards Malcolm X (1926-1965). In 1973, in his last published piece, "Malcolm X: Better to Memorialize Benedict Arnold," Schuyler was his old, acerbic self: "It is not hard to imagine the ultimate fate of a society in which a pixilated criminal like Malcolm X is almost universally praised, and has hospitals, schools, and highways named in his memory. We might as well call out the schoolchildren to celebrate the birthday of Benedict Arnold. Or to raise a monument to Alger Hiss. We would do well to remember that all societies are destroyed from within -- through weakness, immorality, crime, debauchery, and failing mentality."

Schuyler's career at the Courier ended in 1966, with the purchase of the newspaper by John H. Sengstacke, the biggest owner of black newspapers, who also owned the Chicago Defender. That year, Schuyler published his autobiography, Black and Conservative.

In recent years, several of George S. Schuyler's works have been republished or published for the first time in book form: Ethiopian Stories, Black Empire, Black No More, Rac[e]ing to the Right. Hopefully, Black and Conservative will be reprinted, and some of Schuyler's thousands of newspaper columns and editorials will be published in book form. At least one unpublished Schuyler biography has been written in dissertation form, and a history professor contacted me a year or so ago, asking about a Schuyler essay I'd promised my readers (but had failed to produce), as a possible source for a Schuyler-biography he is writing. But one cannot expect too much from publishers, after all, whose schedules are booked full with the next works by such luminaries as Jill Nelson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Cornel West.

If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)


George Schuyler: An Afrofuturist Before His Time

The first time I read George Schuyler&rsquos 1931 novel, Black No More, it confused and unsettled me. Black No More is based on a fantastical, speculative premise: What if there were a machine that could turn black people permanently white? What if such a machine were invented in and introduced to 1920s America, a time of both increasing racial pride and persistent racial violence? What would the social and political implications be of such a race-reversal machine? What would it reveal about society? What lies and hypocrisies about blackness and whiteness and American identity would be revealed by the chaos that would ensue?

I was in college at the time I first read the book, and not quite ready for its cynical, almost misanthropic vision of race and society.

I had just reached that stage of racial identity that psychologist William Cross, in his 1971 &ldquoNegro-to-Black Conversion Experience,&rdquo called &ldquoimmersion.&rdquo The immersion stage (number three of five) is when you eat, drink, and excrete blackness. It&rsquos when you bite off the head of anybody who questions whether you, no matter how high your yellow, are anything less than Afrika Bambaataa.

What unsettled me about Black No More wasn&rsquot just what I knew of Schuyler&rsquos vaguely messed-up politics (which became a whole lot less vague and a whole lot more messed up in the decades following the novel&rsquos publication). It was also that Schuyler was so merciless&mdashabout everyone. At the exact moment I was finding power and purpose in my black identity, he was telling me race didn&rsquot exist.

His stance was familiar to me. The truth was, he reminded me of my father, another black intellectual who was prone to making fun of everyone. It was my father who taught me how to laugh at race. As a child, I had already noticed that the discussion of race in white liberal America was always and only a discussion of blackness, never whiteness. In that space of earnestness, blackness became either magical or noble or tragic or essentially wicked. But in the black space of my father&rsquos home, race was a far more multilayered conversation. Whiteness was named. Nothing was sacrosanct.

It was my father who told me the first racist jokes I&rsquod ever heard&mdashjokes written by white people at our expense. My father never laughed so hard as he did at those punch lines. Looking back, I think he was trying to teach me the art of black satire&mdashshowing me how to find the joke about whiteness hidden within a joke about blackness. I learned from my father how horror could become humor and all the ways humor could be horrifying. What I recognized in reading Black No More was a similar sense of the black absurd. But I was in college, three thousand miles from my original home and newly adrift, searching for a place to call home. Schuyler thumbed his nose at the very things I was trying to hold sacred.

I squirmed most while reading the chapter in which Schuyler takes down all those Black History Month heroes, especially his lampoon of Marcus Garvey. At eight years old I briefly attended an experimental Afrocentric school based on Garvey&rsquos teachings&mdasha miserable experience&mdashbut still, I wasn&rsquot ready for Schuyler&rsquos wicked rendering of the Garveyesque figure he renames Santop Licorice. Mr. Santop Licorice, Schuyler writes, had &ldquofor some fifteen years&hellip been very profitably advocating the emigration of all the American Negroes to Africa. He had not, of course, gone there himself and had not the slightest intention of going so far from the fleshpots, but he told the other Negroes to go.&rdquo Schuyler demonstrates here, and throughout the novel, an awareness of the class politics of racial consciousness, writing of the way racial identity politics, like anything else, can become part of the capitalist production wheel:

Naturally the first step in their going [back to Africa] was to join [Licorice&rsquos] society by paying five dollars a year for membership, ten dollars for a gold, green and purple robe and silver-colored helmet that together cost two dollars and a half, contributing five dollars to the Santop Licorice Defense Fund (there was a perpetual defense fund because Licorice was perpetually in the courts for fraud of some kind).&hellip [Licorice attempted] to save the Negroes by vicariously attacking all of the other Negro organizations and at the same time preaching racial solidarity and cooperation in his weekly newspaper, &ldquoThe African Abroad,&rdquo which was printed by white folks and had until a year ago been full of skin-whitening and hair-straightening advertisements.

Schuyler doesn&rsquot stop with Garvey. He pokes fun at James Weldon Johnson, the high-yellow Harlem Renaissance raceman who wrote that classic of tragic mulatto literature, The Autobiography of an Ex&ndashColored Man&mdashand also wrote that song &ldquoLift Every Voice and Sing,&rdquo otherwise known as the black national anthem, which I sang in a quavering voice every week with my fellow Black Student Union members to close out our meetings.

Schuyler&rsquos most intense vitriol, however, is reserved for W.E.B. Du Bois, who can easily be recognized in the character of Dr. Shakespeare Agamemnon Beard, founder of the National Social Equality League. &ldquoFor a mere six thousand dollars a year,&rdquo Schuyler writes of Beard,

the learned doctor wrote scholarly and biting editorials in The Dilemma denouncing the Caucasians whom he secretly admired and lauding the greatness of the Negroes whom he alternately pitied and despised. In limpid prose he told of the sufferings and privations of the downtrodden black workers with whose lives he was totally and thankfully unfamiliar. Like most Negro leaders, he deified the black woman but abstained from employing aught save octoroons. He talked at white banquets about &ldquowe of the black race&rdquo and admitted in books that he was part-French, part-Russian, part-Indian and part-Negro.&hellip In a real way, he loved his people.

The protagonist of Black No More, Max Disher, has no moral center: he is willing to do anything for personal gain. He is a black man who is so hungry for all that white America has withheld from him that when given the opportunity to turn white, he jumps at the chance to go in the Black-Off machine (a precursor to Dr. Seuss&rsquos Star-Off Machine in The Sneetches)&mdashas does all of Harlem. They want access to everything that whiteness will afford them: money, freedom, mobility, and power. Like Eddie Murphy in that famous 1980s SNL skit &ldquoWhite Like Me,&rdquo where he dons white pancake makeup and a straight-haired blond wig and goes undercover to discover that white privilege is much worse than he thought, Schuyler&rsquos character discovers what he can get in the American marketplace when he is cloaked in a skin tone and bone structure and hair that are read as white. No other novel I&rsquove read before or since so baldly exposes whiteness as a valuable commodity.

In the Black-Off machine, Max Disher transforms into Matt Fisher, a white anthropologist. A novel about a black man becomes a novel about a white man who was black once upon a time. And yet while passing into white America, Max-turned-Matt consistently finds only disappointment in the so-called superior race. He mourns his lost blackness, and in doing so reveals the fallacy of white supremacy:

As a boy he had been taught to look up to white folks as just a little less than gods. Now he found them little different from the Negroes, except that they were uniformly less courteous and less interesting.&hellip Often when the desire for the happy-go-lucky, jovial good fellowship of the Negroes came upon him strongly, he would go down to Auburn Avenue and stroll around the vicinity, looking at the dark folk and listening to their conversation and banter. But no one down there wanted him around. He was a white man and thus suspect.&hellip There was nothing left for him except the hard, materialistic, grasping, ill-bred society of the whites. Sometimes a slight feeling of regret that he had left his people forever would cross his mind, but it fled before the painful memories of past experiences in this, his home town.

Schuyler argued in one of his earlier writings, a 1926 editorial for the Pittsburgh Courier, that the roots of white racism were a fear of black superiority. &ldquoWhites realize that given free rein, the Negro would very likely be running the country in less than half a century.&hellip The average white man of sense knows the average Negro is his equal and very often his superior that is the reason why he limits the Negro&rsquos sphere of activity.&rdquo

Black No More argues compellingly, provocatively, that the idea of blackness is necessary in order for whiteness to survive. It is much like James Baldwin famously said: &ldquoWhat white people have to do is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place, because I&rsquom not a nigger. I&rsquom a man, but if you think I&rsquom a nigger, it means you need it.&hellip If I&rsquom not a nigger and you invented him&mdashyou, the white people, invented him&mdashthen you&rsquove got to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that, whether or not it&rsquos able to ask that question.&rdquo

Schuyler shows all the ways white people are lost without black people to define themselves against. In one late, amazing scene in Black No More, the pastor of a failing white church in the South is grieving the loss of black people after they&rsquove all turned white. He is grieving the fact that there is nobody left for him to lynch&mdashand without black bodies to lynch, the white parishioners will never know the pastor&rsquos true greatness.

Schuyler dedicated Black No More to &ldquoall Caucasians in the great republic who can trace their ancestry back ten generations and confidently assert that there are no Black leaves, twigs, limbs or branches on their family trees.&rdquo Before it had been confirmed by social scientists, he understood that there was no such thing as race as a real, biologically determined category. But he saw how real race&rsquos influence was, and all the ways racialized thinking&mdashthat other opiate of the masses&mdashlimited and imprisoned both black and white Americans.

Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Malcolm X being interviewed by George Schuyler at WLIB radio in Harlem, New York City, 1964

In Black No More, racialized thinking has turned white people into nothing but self-satisfied buffoons. The white workers are so distracted by their hatred of black people that they will never see the true source of their oppression, the white wealthy landowners who exploit their labor. Black leaders are portrayed as corrupt&mdashespecially the high-yellow octoroons being paid a fortune to speak for the larger race, to whom they feel distant and superior. In one scathing passage Schuyler writes: &ldquoWhile a large staff of officials was eager to end all oppression and persecution of the Negro, they were never so happy and excited as when a Negro was barred from a theater or fried to a crisp.&rdquo The black and white working classes are shown to be victims of an elite of white supremacists and black racemen who use race as a tool to deflect attention from their own greed.

At a moment when black writers were finally awakening to the beauty of black culture, Schuyler had moved on to the part where we deconstruct race. He showed neither sentimentality nor chauvinism for his own race or any other. He hated everyone, and there is a strange purity to his loathing, a kind of beauty to his cynicism. It is his resistance to pandering, to joining tribes and clubs that feels so refreshing. It is the loneliness of Schuyler&rsquos position that makes me trust it.

Long before Schuyler published Black No More, the seeds of his anti-authority iconoclasm and his impulse toward Swiftian satire had been planted. He was already disillusioned with every club he had ever flirted with joining.

Schuyler had joined the military as a young, working-class black man and had risen to become a lieutenant, but he defected after a series of racist incidents. Sometime later he arrived in New York City and lived a kind of hobo rogue intellectual life, staying for a time in the Phyllis Wheatley Hotel, owned by Marcus Garvey&rsquos Universal Negro Improvement Society&mdasha group he considered joining but whose corruption left a bad taste. He read voraciously all things socialist, and by 1923 he was an editor and columnist for The Messenger, a magazine owned by the black socialist Friends of Negro Freedom. But he was already branching out, writing for other publications outside the black press. He published a cutting tongue-in-cheek critique of white supremacy for H.L. Menken&rsquos American Mercury. In 1926, at the height of the Harlem Renaissance, when Negro life was finally in vogue and Negro culture and art were beginning to be fetishized by both blacks and whites, he wrote a controversial essay for The Nation called &ldquoThe Negro-Art Hokum,&rdquo in which he criticized romantic primitivism among blacks and whites, famously saying that Negroes were just &ldquolampblacked Anglo-Saxon[s]&rdquo and that there was no difference between black and white American culture, only class and geographical differences. A week later Langston Hughes was hired to write a rebuttal in his essay, &ldquoThe Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,&rdquo he critiqued &ldquothis urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into the mold of American standardization, and to be as little Negro and as much American as possible.&rdquo Hughes argued for a celebration of a distinctly African American aesthetic.

Schuyler&rsquos spirit as an outsider was fully in effect. The historian John Henrik Clarke once said of him, &ldquoI used to tell people that George got up in the morning, waited to see which way the world was turning, then struck out in the opposite direction.&rdquo Being a consummate outsider, by force and by choice, left Schuyler free to parody everyone. At the root of his position as a satirist was his cultural homelessness. Though he&rsquod come from working-class roots, he was too well read, well traveled, and successful as a writer to ever return to them. He had no solid home in the black elite either: He was too dark-skinned, for one thing, and lacked pedigree. He chafed against hero worship, orthodoxy, and the glorification of race, and was fascinated by intergroup racism and classism. He married Josephine, a white Texas socialite turned New York bohemian, and they had a baby girl, Philippa. Schuyler&rsquos small interracial family became his only tribe&mdashthe island of the misfit toys. They lived in Harlem, in the well-to-do black neighborhood of Sugar Hill, where Schuyler published his first novel, Slaves Today, which infuriated black America. It was a harsh depiction of Liberia, the oldest black republic in the modern world, founded as a refuge for liberated American slaves. Schuyler depicted the slave trade there as being led by black Africans.

He was a man of contradictions. For someone so utterly unsentimental and sternly rational about race and blackness, he indulged his wife&rsquos strange neoessentialist belief in &ldquohybrid vigor&rdquo&mdashthat is, her belief that their daughter&rsquos racial fusion of black and white represented the birth of a new, superior race. With Schuyler&rsquos help, his wife turned their only daughter into a social experiment, raising Philippa on a scientifically prepared diet of raw meat, unpasteurized milk, and castor oil, and keeping her in near isolation from other children. The child&rsquos strange upbringing was both a raging success and a terrible failure. Philippa learned to read at two, became an accomplished pianist at four, and a composer by five. She was a child celebrity, a kind of black Shirley Temple with a high IQ who became the subject of scores of articles in publications such as Time, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, and was roundly hailed as a genius. There is a poignant moment in Kathryn Talalay&rsquos biography of Philippa Schuyler, Composition in Black and White, when Philippa is thirteen and her parents finally show her the detailed scrapbook they&rsquove been keeping about her upbringing and career&mdashnotes and articles they&rsquove been keeping diligently over the years. Philippa, rather than being touched, was horrified to realize, with sudden clarity, all the ways she&rsquod been her parents&rsquo social experiment and &ldquopuppet.&rdquo In the years that followed, she grew increasingly disillusioned with America, her own blackness, and the musical career of her youth. Like a character out of Black No More, she eventually changed her name and began to pass as white&mdashas an Iberian-American named Filipa Montera. She spent most of her adult life overseas, still playing music, but less seriously, and trying to find herself in various romantic affairs. She eventually tried to reinvent herself as an international journalist and children&rsquos advocate, and in 1967 she died in a helicopter crash while attempting to evacuate war orphans out of Vietnam.

In the years that followed the publication of Black No More, Schuyler&rsquos healthy skepticism toward authority and his absurdist, freewheeling humor gave way to rigidity and humorless far-right extremism. In the end he did join a club, the John Birch Society, and became the kind of tool of the far right that he might have brilliantly parodied in his earlier work. The statements he made later in life against the civil rights movement and in particular against Martin Luther King Jr. would taint his public image and allow him to be dismissed as a serious thinker.

The turn against Schuyler can be glimpsed in the 1971 edition of Black No More, in the introduction by Charles Larson, a prominent scholar of African and African American literature. In a scolding, censorious tone, Larson makes it clear how much he dislikes both the novel and its author:

Black No More is disturbing in these days of renewed Black Pride and Black Power. There is no pride in being black and certainly little indication that the black person in America has anything culturally his own worth holding on to.&hellip It is a plea for assimilation, for mediocrity, for reduplication, for faith in the (white) American dream.&hellip Hardly a page passes by without some aspect of black American life being satirized or attacked.&hellip Schuyler&rsquos bitterness is clearly apparent.

Reducing Black No More to the mildly amusing but ultimately unimportant scribblings of a black reactionary, Larson turns a blind eye to all the ways the novel was and remains a liberating and lacerating critique of American racial madness, capitalism, and white superiority.

Rereading Black No More so many years later, in the era of Trump and Rachel Dolezal, Beyoncé&rsquos &ldquoFormation&rdquo and that radical Pepsi commercial starring Kendall Jenner, of the rise and fall of Tiger Woods&rsquos land of Cablinasia, and of Michael Jackson&rsquos &ldquorace lift&rdquo and subsequent death, Schuyler&rsquos wild, misanthropic, take-no-prisoners satire of American life seems more relevant than ever.

Schuyler belongs to the pantheon of black writers in America who have seen their work either reviled, forgotten, dismissed, or&mdashmost commonly&mdashignored in their own lifetime. In this respect, he belongs in the company of Chester Himes, Fran Ross, William Melvin Kelley, Zora Neale Hurston, and Nella Larsen, most of whom died in poverty or saw their work go out of print, and whose work was appreciated only after they were gone&mdashand in some cases, not yet.

There is no stable ground to stand on in Black No More. Its irony and merciless satire steadfastly resist the anthropological gaze of the reader. It is a novel in whiteface. And while black literature is almost always read as either autobiography or sociology, Schuyler&rsquos work can be read as neither. It is one of the earliest examples of black speculative fiction. Black No More resists the push toward preaching and the urge toward looking backward into history. Afrofuturist before such a term existed, it insists, instead, on peering forward into what could come to be.

Adapted from Danzy Senna&rsquos introduction to George S. Schuyler&rsquos Black No More, which is reissued by Penguin Classics.

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(1926) George S. Schuyler, “The Negro-Art Hokum”

Negro art “made in America” is as non-existent as the widely advertised profundity of Cal Coolidge, the “seven years of progress” of Mayor Hylan, or the reported sophistication of New Yorkers. Negro art there has been, is, and will be among the numerous black nations of Africa but to suggest the possibility of any such development among the ten million colored people in this republic is self-evident foolishness. Eager apostles from Greenwich Village, Harlem, and environs proclaimed a great renaissance of Negro art just around the corner waiting to be ushered on the scene by those whose hobby is taking races, nations, peoples, and movements under their wing. New art forms expressing the “peculiar” psychology of the Negro were about to flood the market. In short, the art of Homo Africanus was about to electrify the waiting world. Skeptics patiently waited. They still wait.

True, from dark-skinned sources have come those slave songs based on Protestant hymns and Biblical texts known as the spirituals, work songs and secular songs of sorrow and tough luck known as the blues, that outgrowth of ragtime known as jazz (in the development of which whites have assisted), and the Charleston, an eccentric dance invented by the gamins around the public market-place in Charleston, S. C. No one can or does deny this. But these are contributions of a caste in a certain section of the country. They are foreign to Northern Negroes, West Indian Negroes, and African Negroes. They are no more expressive or characteristic of the Negro race than the music and dancing of the Appalachian highlanders or the Dalmatian peasantry are expressive or characteristic of the Caucasian race. If one wishes to speak of the musical contributions of the peasantry of the south, very well. Any group under similar circumstances would have produced something similar. It is merely a coincidence that this peasant class happens to be of a darker hue than the other inhabitants of the land. One recalls the remarkable likeness of the minor strains of the Russian mujiks to those of the Southern Negro.

As for the literature, painting, and sculpture of Aframericans—such as there is—it is identical in kind with the literature, painting, and sculpture of white Americans: that is, it shows more or less evidence of European influence. In the field of drama little of any merit has been written by and about Negroes that could not have been written by whites. The dean of the Aframerican literati written by and about Negroes that could not have been written by whites. The dean of the Aframerican literati is W. E. B. Du Bois, a product of Harvard and German universities the foremost Aframerican sculptor is Meta Warwick Fuller, a graduate of leading American art schools and former student of Rodin while the most noted Aframerican painter, Henry Ossawa Tanner, is dean of American painters in Paris and has been decorated by the French Government. Now the work of these artists is no more “expressive of the Negro soul”—as the gushers put it—than are the scribblings of Octavus Cohen or Hugh Wiley.

This, of course, is easily understood if one stops to realize that the Aframerican is merely a lampblacked Anglo-Saxon. If the European immigrant after two or three generations of exposure to our schools, politics, advertising, moral crusades, and restaurants becomes indistinguishable from the mass of Americans of the older stock (despite the influence of the foreign-language press), how much truer must it be of the sons of Ham who have been subjected to what the uplifters call Americanism for the last three hundred years. Aside from his color, which ranges from very dark brown to pink, your American Negro is just plain American. Negroes and whites from the same localities in this country talk, think, and act about the same. Because a few writers with a paucity of themes have seized upon imbecilities of the Negro rustics and clowns and palmed them off as authentic and characteristic Aframerican behavior, the common notion that the black American is so “different” from his white neighbor has gained wide currency. The mere mention of the word “Negro” conjures up in the average white American’s mind a composite stereotype of Bert Williams, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom, Jack Johnson, Florian Slappey, and the various monstrosities scrawled by the cartoonists. Your average Aframerican no more resembles this stereotype than the average American resembles a composite of Andy Gump, Jim Jeffries, and a cartoon by Rube Goldberg.

Again, the Aframerican is subject to the same economic and social forces that mold the actions and thoughts of the white Americans. He is not living in a different world as some whites and a few Negroes would have me believe. When the jangling of his Connecticut alarm clock gets him out of his Grand Rapids bed to a breakfast similar to that eaten by his white brother across the street when he toils at the same or similar work in mills, mines, factories, and commerce alongside the descendants of Spartacus, Robin Hood, and Erik the Red when he wears similar clothing and speaks the same language with the same degree of perfection when he reads the same Bible and belongs to the Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, or Catholic church when his fraternal affiliations also include the Elks, Masons, and Knights of Pythias when he gets the same or similar schooling, lives in the same kind of houses, owns the same Hollywood version of life on the screen when he smokes the same brands of tobacco and avidly peruses the same puerile periodicals in short, when he responds to the same political, social, moral, and economic stimuli in precisely the same manner as his white neighbor, it is sheer nonsense to talk about “racial differences” as between the American black man and the American white man. Glance over a Negro newspaper (it is printed in good Americanese) and you will find the usual quota or crime news, scandal, personals, and uplift to be found in the average white newspaper—which, by the way, is more widely read by the Negroes than is the Negro press. In order to satisfy the cravings of an inferiority complex engendered by the colorphobia of the mob, the readers of the Negro newspapers are given a slight dash of racialistic seasoning. In the homes of the black and white Americans of the same cultural and economic level one finds similar furniture, literature, and conversation. How, then, can the black American be expected to produce art and literature dissimilar to that of the white American?

Consider Coleridge-Taylor, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Claude McKay, the Englishmen Pushkin, the Russian Bridgewater, the Pole Antar, the Arabian Latino, the Spaniard Dumas, père and fils,the Frenchmen and Paul Laurence Dunbar, Charles W. Chestnut, and James Weldon Johnson, the Americans. All Negroes yet their work shows the impress of nationality rather than race. They all reveal the psychology and culture of their environment—their color is incidental. Why should Negro artists of America vary from the national artistic norm when Negro artists in other countries have not done so? If we can foresee what kind of white citizens will inhabit this neck of the woods in the next generation by studying the sort of education and environment the children are exposed to now, it should not be difficult to reason that the adults of today are what they are because of the education and environment they were exposed to a generation ago. And that education and environment were about the same for blacks and whites. One contemplates the popularity of the Negro-art hokum and murmurs, “How-come?”

This nonsense is probably the last stand or the old myth palmed off by Negrophobists for all these many years, and recently rehashed by the sainted Harding, that there are “fundamental, eternal, and inescapable differences” between white and black Americans. That there are Negroes who will lend this myth a helping hand need occasion no surprise. It has been broadcast all over the world by the vociferous scions of slaveholders, “scientists” like Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard, and the patriots who flood the treasure of the Ku Klux Klan and is believed, even today, by the majority of free, white citizens. On this baseless premise, so flattering to the white mob, that the blackamoor is inferior and fundamentally different, is erected the postulate that he must needs be peculiar and when he attempts to portray life through the medium of art, it must of necessity be a peculiar art. While such reasoning may seem conclusive to the majority of Americans, it must be rejected with a loud guffaw by intelligent people.


AND PEGGY

Okay, there isn’t enough time to go into all of Peggy’s life (another time) but I will leave you with this. Without Peggy there would not be this article, because Peggy saved goddamn everyone.

In 1781, the Schuyler sisters were at home in Albany, New York. Eliza and Angelica were both heavy pregnant and getting some TLC at home in the Schuyler mansion. This was not to be, as a huge group of British Loyalists and native Americans encircled the Schuyler’s home they were looking for the sisters’ father, Philip, who was supposedly in charge of a revolutionary spy ring – he wasn’t at home, but the angry mob weren’t to know that.

The trapped women were terrified, and knowing they wouldn’t be able to fight (two pregnant women against a group of pissed off men with weapons probably won’t come out that well…) they ran upstairs and hid.

The mansion was quickly raided by the mob who were intent on finding and capturing Philip at any cost. The sisters stayed quiet, hidden upstairs, when they suddenly realised that their brothers newborn daughter was downstairs…right in the path of the angry mob.

Scared of military repercussions, the men fled, but not before one particularly pissed off man threw a tomahawk at Peggy as she ran upstairs with her niece. It narrowly missed, inserting itself deeply into the banister where her head had just been.

Yet another reminder, if we needed one, that the Schuyler Sisters are the living end.

This article originally appeared on F Yeah History and has been reprinted here with permission.


George S. Schuyler, Anti-Racist Champion of Liberty

One of the most difficult subjects to discuss in America today is race. It is the proverbial “third rail,” which, if talked about outside of the politically correct corridor of “identity politics,” is almost instant death.

If you are “white,” anything you say not consistent with the paradigm of identity politics is condemned as explicit or hidden racist attitudes, beliefs, and malevolent intentions. Indeed, if you are white, you can’t escape it it’s in your cultural and historical blood.

Another way of saying this is, If you do not agree with the identity-politics warriors you are evil, beyond the pale of moral acceptance, and your voice should be exorcised from any and all social discourse. You are a racist, whether you know it or not and that modern version of the Scarlet Letter branded into your forehead ends your right to participate in any debate about race in America.

Political-Correctness Critics Down an Orwellian Memory Hole

What if you are not white? Suppose you are an economist like Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams, or a journalist like Jason Riley at the Wall Street Journal, who have African ancestry? You are an Orwellian “non-person,” airbrushed out of contemporary debate on issues of race. It is as if you and your writings do not exist. In Stalin-like fashion, you are erased from public existence.

Such individuals do not fit the appropriate ideological mold. They discount the degree to which racism today, alone, can be blamed for the hardships, difficulties, and hurdles that continue to stand in the way of more rapid improvement in the material and social circumstances of many in the African American community. They see freer and more competitive markets as the better and more effective avenue for the progress of black Americans. Government interventions and redistributive programs have been far more of the problem than the solution in the arena of race relations, they argue and worse, they back up these conclusions with history and statistical data.

But facts are not supposed to stand in the way of the social presumptions and policy conclusions of political correctness. If any arguments and facts do not fit the identity-political narrative, then they must be ignored or misrepresented.

George Schuyler and His “Crime” of Advocating Liberty

This was the fate, more than 50 years ago, of one prominent African American journalist, novelist, and outspoken critic of all things racist in the United States. His name was George S. Schuyler (1895-1977). What became his “crime”? He believed in the American founding ideals of individual liberty, free enterprise, impartial equality before the law, and constitutionally limited government. Plus, beginning in the 1930s and for the rest of his life, he was an outspoken anticommunist, especially during the Cold War years following the Second World War.

He also declared that forced integration was as morally wrong and socially undesirable as compulsory segregation under the Jim Crow laws in the South. He also criticized prominent members of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s as following some wrong paths. He soon disappeared down George Orwell’s memory hole: one of those non-persons.

Throughout his career as a writer and journalist, which spanned from the 1920s to the 1970s, Schuyler was scathing in his analysis and relentless in his criticisms of white racism in the America of his time. This included public criticisms beginning in 1942, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, of the U.S. government rounding up and imprisoning Japanese Americans in internment camps. This resulted in the FBI keeping him under surveillance as a “subversive” threatening the war effort.

With biting wit, sharp sarcasm, and eloquent turns of phrase, he was frequently referred to as the African American H.L. Mencken, someone who was, in fact, one of Schuyler’s most valued friends and who opened the pages of the American Mercury magazine to some of Schuyler’s best anti-racist articles beginning in the late 1920s.

From the Military to Being Homeless to a Writing Career

George Samuel Schuyler was born on February 25, 1895, in Providence, Rhode Island, and grew up in Syracuse, New York. His early years, for the most part, were spent in a modest African American middle-class environment for that time. At 17 he enlisted in the army. He then rose in the ranks to be a first lieutenant, and was stationed with a black unit in Hawaii. After a racial altercation, he went AWOL, turned himself in, and served nine months of a five-year sentence.

After leaving the military and going to New York City, Schuyler held a variety of odd and menial jobs, and for part of the time was what today would be called a “homeless person.” But he read a lot and, at first, became enamored with socialist ideas through reading across the entire swath of socialist and communist literature.

But he tells us in his autobiography, Black and Conservative (1966), that he came to have his doubts and disagreements with socialism as he met and discussed it with those in various New York socialist circles. He, especially, became critical of communists, who he saw as corrupt and power-lusting stooges serving their masters in Moscow he considered their use of the race problem in America as merely a manipulative tool to gain control and influence over blacks in America for their own self-serving revolutionary dictatorial games. Socialist tyranny was no long-term alternative to the prevailing segregation and discrimination suffered by black Americans in both the South and the North.

He started to write for a variety of African American publications. Beginning in the late 1920s, Schuyler became a writer for the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the leading and largest-circulation black newspapers in the United States at that time. From the 1930s into the 1960s, he was one of the senior editorial writers for the paper, reaching a huge reading audience of hundreds of thousands on a daily and weekly basis.

He traveled around the country and did exposés on the harsh realities of black life, work, business, and race relations in nearly every state. He was sent on assignment to Liberia, the West African nation founded by American free blacks in the years before the Civil War. The resulting book, Slaves Today: A Story of Liberia (1931), was damning since Schuyler not only detailed the political corruption of the government, but how the decedents of American blacks oppressed and even enslaved members of the indigenous African tribes.

He also published in 1931 his most famous novel, Black No More, in which African Americans flock to a new chemical discovery that can turn black people white finally, the chance for emancipation from racial bigotry has arrived. But being “white” turns out not to be very far from the social paradise hoped for, and many whites now have anxieties of not knowing who is really “white” and, therefore, who they should feel superior to. In the process, Schuyler ridicules and satirizes both black and white hucksters who use the race issue for their own personal aggrandizement and wealth getting.

Schuyler’s Wife and Daughter

One other biographical matter that is of note is his marriage and his daughter. In 1928, he met and fell in love with, and soon after married, Josephine Cogdell, the daughter of a successful cattleman and banker in Dallas, Texas. And she was white. She recounted her meeting with Schuyler in a 1946 article about their interracial marriage, explaining that each had written for a socialist tabloid in the 1920s, and had read each other’s articles. When they finally met, they realized the many intellectual, artistic, and cultural interests they had in common — besides enjoying going out for a bit of jazz dancing, as well as listening to classical music. In an interview in the 1970s, a few years after her death, Schuyler insisted that his wife was not black or white she was the warm and wonderful human being he had met and loved. What more was to be said?

Their daughter, Philippa, was born in 1931. By the age of two, she could read and write by the age of four, she was professionally playing serious music on the piano. At the age of five, she was composing classical music pieces. They had created an amazing musical child protégée who was soon performing on the radio and giving a concert at the 1939 New York World’s Fair at the age of eight. As she got older, in the 1950s, she increasingly performed outside of the United States, where racial prejudices were less restrictive of arranging concerts.

Racial problems and other personal matters resulted in her shifting from music to journalism as a reporter and foreign correspondent for a New England conservative newspaper. In 1967, she was on assignment in South Vietnam. While helping to evacuate some Vietnamese orphans threatened with coming under Vietcong attack, the helicopter she was in crashed into the sea she survived the crash, but not knowing how to swim she drowned before help could reach her. She was 35 years old. Her mother, Josephine, committed suicide two years later on the anniversary of Philippa’s death.

What White Folks Didn’t Understand

George Schuyler’s break-out of a predominantly black readership came with his first piece in the December 1927 issue of H.L. Mencken’s American Mercury, with the lead article “Our White Folks.” How very often did whites, particularly in the South, presume to know all about their “black folks.” Schuyler explained that while working as servants, maids, and mammies, blacks knew all the ins and outs about white people, and how they lived with all their foibles whites, on the other hand, knew next to nothing about how blacks really lived and or what they thought. Blacks, after all, had long learned to wear the masks expected of them when in the company of white people.

Most especially, blacks considered absurd and ludicrous all the talk about white purity and the “natural” dislike for any too intimate relationship between members of these two races. After over 300 years of Africans among Europeans in America, he estimated at least 80 percent of all African Americans had “drops” of white blood, due to the natural attractions of men and women to each other across that imaginary racial line. “Indeed, an examination of family trees will reveal that a large number of the whites and blacks are really related,” Schuyler pointed out, “especially in the land of cotton, where most of the hue and cry is raised about Anglo-Saxon purity.” This led him to say that the black American community “is the real melting pot, and a glorious sight it is to see.” Schuyler continued:

To judge an individual solely on the basis of his skin color and hair texture is so obviously nonsensical that he [the black American] cannot help classing the bulk of Nordics with the inmates of an insane asylum. He views with mingled amusement and resentment the stupid reactions of white folks to a black skin. It excites his bitter mirth to observe how his entrance into almost any public place is sufficient to spoil the evening of the majority of the proud Caucasians present, no matter how intelligent they may claim to be. Nor is this insanity restricted alone to Anglo-Saxons, for Jews, Irish, Greeks, Poles, Russians, Italians, and Germans, even those who know little of the American language and less of the national customs, grow quite as apoplectic at the sight of a sable countenance.

Blacks Were Made Hardy and Skilled From Dealing With Whites

Rather than being racially and culturally inferior to white Americans, Schuyler argued that centuries of slavery and segregation had made the African Americans a hardy and most capable people compared to white Americans in many ways. Excluding black Americans from various occupations, professions, and enterprises deprived the nation of talents that could only enhance the betterment of the society as a whole:

Almost every thoughtful Negro believes that the scrapping of the color caste system would not hinder but rather help the country. In their zeal to keep the black brother away from the pie counter, the whites are depriving the nation of thousands of individuals of extraordinary ability. The rigid training and discipline that the Negro has received since his arrival on these sacred shores has left him with a lower percentage of weaklings and incompetents than is shown by any other group.

He has always had to be on the alert, ever the diplomat and skillful tactician, facing more trying situations in a week than the average white citizen faces in a year. This experience has certainly fitted him for a more important position than he now holds in the Republic. He is still imbued with the pioneering spirit that the bulk of the whites have had ironed out of them. He has energy and originality, the very qualities being sought today in business and government. Yet narrow bigotry and prejudice bar his way.

In addition, as far as Schuyler was concerned, black Americans also manifested far fewer of the social, psychological, and cultural neuroses widely seen among white Americans. For many African Americans, this made their plight even more frustrating. Said Schuyler:

The Negro is a sort of black Gulliver chained by white Lilliputians, a prisoner in a jail of color prejudice, a babe in a forest of bigotry.… He has developed more than any other group, even more than the Jews, the capacity to see things as they are rather than as he would have them. He is a close student of the contradictory pretensions and practices of the ofay gentry, and it is this that makes him really intelligent in a republic of morons.

In the eyes of most African Americans, the United States was not a white civilization or a black civilization, but one American civilization that had been forged through the work of both. Schuyler declared that the black American “wants no more than an equal break with everybody else, but he feels that he has much greater contributions to make to our national life than he has so far been allowed to make.”

Black People Gave Whites Someone to Feel Better Than

In another essay, written around the same time, Schuyler wondered about what the black man might see as “Our Greatest Gift to America” (1929). It had become fashionable in African American publications, he said, to highlight how blacks were contributing lawyers, doctors, professional men and women, artistically creative benefactors, as well as suppliers of jazz music and dance to the wider American society.

But this all missed the greatest of all gifts that black Americans had given to their white brethren: having someone to feel superior to, no matter how small, ignorant, or good for nothing any white person might be and feel. You could be a worthless white boob among other white men but the black man gave you someone to feel shining above. Think of some unskilled, uneducated, honest, or rascally Russian immigrant right off the boat from Europe:

In Russia he was a nobody … the mudsill of society.… Arriving under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, he is still Isadore Shankersoff, the prey of sharpers and cheap grafters, but now he has moved considerably higher in the social scale. While remaining mentally adolescent, he is no longer at the bottom he is a white man! Overnight he has become a member of the superior race. Ellis Island marked his metamorphose. For the first time in his life he is better than somebody. Without the presence of the blackamoor in these wonderfully United States, he would still know himself for the thick-pated underling that he is, but how can he go on believing that when America is screaming to him on every hand that he is a white man, and as much entitled to certain rights and privileges forbidden to Negro scientists, artists, clergymen, journalists and merchants. One can understand why Isadore walks with firmer tread.

The same was no less true among white women in America. Dorothy Dunce, as Schuyler put it, may be nothing more than an unskilled worker in a spaghetti factory, but she remains nonetheless “a member of that exalted aggregation known as pure white womanhood.” She is confident of her natural superiority because her entire education has assured her “that Negroes are inferior, immoral, diseased, lazy, unprogressive, ugly, odoriferous, and should be firmly kept in their place at the bottom of the social and industrial scale. Quite naturally she swells with race pride, for no matter how low she falls, she will always be a white woman.”

What greater gift could the black person have given to his white fellow countrymen than this psychologically satisfying and supportive sense that even though personally you may be a nobody among other whites, you are always racially a somebody over blacks, said Schuyler, with clear contempt and offense in the ink coming out of his pen.

The Indignities and Humiliations of Jim Crow

It is a long time ago, now, since the Jim Crow segregation laws in the South and various forms of formal and informal discrimination in the North, as experienced by people like George Schuyler. Many of us have no knowledge or even a dim memory of the humiliations, frustrations, slights, and indignities that millions of African Americans had to endure every day.

Even in that earlier time when Schuyler was writing with his sharp pen, most white Americans had little idea of what these laws and practices meant for those on whom they impinged. Whites went about their daily affairs oblivious to what these restrictions meant in the lives of their segregated fellow Americans. Schuyler explained that reality to a predominantly white reading audience in two articles, “Keeping the Negro in His Place” (August 1929) and “Traveling Jim Crow” (August 1930), both of them, again, published in Mencken’s American Mercury.

In everyday life, Americans of African ancestry were excluded from many parts of the wider white society. For instance, blacks were either barred from the movie theaters in cities, great and small, around the country, or were restricted to seats in the back rows of the balcony, far away from the white clientele. Rarely could a black family enjoy a summer afternoon at the beach, if they lived near the seashore, because the beaches were almost invariably restricted to “whites only.”

Blacks had learned that “poets may sing of the sea being blue, but to the Aframerican pining for a dip it looks mighty white,” said Schuyler, and then he explained:

This is true of most American bathing places, whether on the seashore or inland. At almost all such places the blackamoor is persona non grata and the peckerwoods make no bones about “getting him told.” At most of the beaches in the vicinity of New York City, Negroes are barred from going in bathing, not by ordinance but because no one will rent them bathing-suits or a bathhouse locker in which to put them on if they happen to own any. At many such places it is against the law to appear off the beach proper in a bathing suit, hence the Negro who arrives in his automobile ready for a plunge is likely to land in the hoosegow. The beach police are unusually “vigilant” in enforcing the letter of the law when an Aframerican heaves into sight.

Sarcastically, Schuyler added, “Of course, few Negroes would want to go in swimming at Coney Island, even if they were permitted to hire bathing-suits and rent lockers in bathhouses, because of the swarms of white riff-raff that bask everywhere on the beach amidst cans, newspapers and pop bottles.”

Blacks could forget about going out for an evening of entertainment in many places, because here, too, the door was closed to any with a dark complexion. Schuyler explained:

When the weather is not inclement, he likes to go motoring and stop by some roadhouse to dance and dine. But what is his reception? Almost everywhere he is openly refused service or prevented from getting it by some subterfuge.…

Seldom do the police aid in putting them in their place, unless they become too vociferous in demanding their rights — which is very rare. The only time the guardians of the law themselves take a hand in maintaining white supremacy in places of recreation is when a cabaret or dance-hall in the Black Belt is reported to be black-and-tan: i.e., frequented by both blacks and whites. This must never be, of course, if the purity of the polyglot Anglo-Saxons is to be preserved.

Rather than suffer such indignities, most African Americans, Schuyler went on, would stay within their black neighborhoods where they could retain degrees of self-respect from these humiliations at the hands of whites over whose conduct they had no control. But due to the generally poor economic circumstances in such communities, the amenities, conveniences, and entertainments either did not exist or were of a far lower quality.

Racial Barriers on Roads and Trains Across America

Equally constraining and unkind were those instances in which an African American went on vacation by car or needed to travel by train. Schuyler lamented:

Indeed, the troubles of Job seem trivial in comparison with those that bedevil the poor Aframerican who ventures forth to see his country. No matter in what part of it he may reside he knows very well that the hotel and resort advertisements he reads in the newspapers and magazines are not intended for such as he.…

It is all well enough to say that the Negro traveler should go to one of “his own places,” but Aframerican hostelries are not always at hand and when available they are frequently tenth-rate, owing to the small number of well-to-do Negro travelers upon whom they can regularly depend. In spite of the general belief that colored folk are all alike, the fact remains that there are all classes of people in Negro America, from tramps to millionaires, and a hotel or rooming-house quite satisfactory to stevedores, laborers and field hands would hardly be to the taste of a school teacher, a physician or an artist.

Getting a railroad ticket was a perverse “adventure” all of its own for the ordinary black American. We need to remember that before the Second World War and the construction of the interstate highway system the primary means of any longer-distance travel in the United States was by train. An overnight journey was common for all, but rare was the black man or woman who could easily purchase a ticket in one of the Pullman cars used for bed accommodations on a train almost anywhere in America. Instead, they were confined to “black only” cars with hard seats for the trip, and often of a much lower quality or comfort than even a “third class” ticket for a white passenger. Getting a meal in the train dining car was difficult, and often only after all the white travelers had finished their lunch or dinner meals.

Even innocent, little old black ladies were not saved from such treatment. But creative ingenuity could sometimes get around the color bar, said Schuyler:

I know a colored woman who frequently goes from New York to New Orleans and always puts on an apron when she gets below the [Mason-Dixon] line. It is a badge of servility that acts as a protection, since it definitely places her in the servant class. Of course, the most rabid Negrophobe has no objection to riding in a Pullman car or diner with a Negro if that Negro is in a menial capacity. That such a seemingly absurd precaution is frequently wise was well-demonstrated three or four years ago when a Negro woman was dragged out of a Pullman car in Northern Florida by officers of the law and fined $500 for the crime of riding through that progressive Commonwealth in comfort.

Invisible Lines and Occasional Interactions

Schuyler wrote of many instances in which the “invisible line” of the Mason-Dixon line changed attitudes and conduct by whites. He recounted an instance in which a group of black and white school teachers were traveling on the same train from Arkansas to a convention up north. When the train departed the station in Arkansas, the teachers remained in their respective “whites-” and “blacks-only” train cars. However, once the train had crossed the Missouri border, “the whites trooped into the erstwhile Jim Crow car, a Negro school principal produced a quart of corn, and a good time was had by all until the end of the journey.”

But such episodes were few and far between compared to those in which whites refused to share the same dining or club car on a train with African Americans, regardless of whether the ride was in the North or the South, but especially in the old slave states. Schuyler had observed all this, having “traveled close to 20,000 miles in the Coon and Cracker country” of the southern states. But, he pointed out that on trains even in “the liberal North every effort is made to keep black diners away from white diners, though black waiters serve both.”

The stories that Schuyler relates go on and on, from the difficulties of getting a white taxi cab driver to take a black fare to their destination to the problems of a black person finding gas stations where he could fill up his own car to continue on his way in areas not predominately populated by other African Americans.

Insisting on the Same Individual Rights as Everyone Else

Schuyler argued in a 1944 review that he wrote of Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dilemma that African Americans were increasingly unwilling to accept forever this culture of indignity and exclusion:

The so-called Negro is sick and tired of being booted about by those whom he does not regard as his betters (although they may think so). Today he wants all the rights and privileges any other American enjoys, and he means to have them. All of his leaders are unanimously agreed on that, and his 200 newspapers chorus it weekly. It would be a mistake, however, for anyone to assume that this militancy of the Negro (who is actually a mixture of European, African and Amerindian) is newly found. Throughout American history runs the fear of Negro uprisings and disorders, and the actual fact of numerous pitched battles resulting from efforts of Negroes to win the dignity of manhood status.

All along the Negroes have been much more clear-visioned than the whites and in the larger sense they have even been more patriotic because they have persistently fought for the American Creed — the principles which white America has loudly pronounced but grudgingly practiced, if at all.

As Schuyler also emphasized in another article the year before, in 1943, “Since what the Negroes want accords with the principles set down in the Declaration of Independence and the Federal Constitution, they properly feel that right is on their side and they have fought and will continue to fight for it with a fervency approaching religious zeal … because even the most unlettered Negro knows that nothing less will lift him to full manhood status.” As Schuyler went on, “The Negroes demand to live and travel where they choose, seek work where it is available, enjoy the same educational and recreational facilities” in place of “white people [who] regard it as their right to have exclusive racial neighborhoods, lily-white educational and recreational facilities, and special privileges industrially,” made possible by segregation laws and racist behavioral arrogance.

Opposing Internment of Japanese Americans

Schuyler was just as angered about the treatment meted out to another racial minority, the Japanese Americans, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was angered by the fact that so many in the public and the media seemed unconcerned and in fact supportive of a clear abridgement of the most fundamental principles of freedom and the Constitution in gathering up and placing Americans of Japanese descent in concentration camps.

In one of his June 1942 columns in the Pittsburgh Courier, Schuyler warned:

All Americans have a right to be excited by the arrival of concentration camps for American citizens who have admittedly committed no crime. While Negroes and Indians have often been run off their land and penned in virtual concentration camps, this is the first instance in modern American history of enforced mass migration.

If the Government can do this to American citizens of Japanese ancestry, then it can do it to American citizens of ANY ancestry. Therein lies the danger of such arbitrary action which the “Founding Fathers” saw clearly and against which they erected the safeguard of the Bill of Rights and the Civil War Amendments. It is the evil from which the European ancestors of our present patriots fled. If this is to be the New Order here, then the war is already lost, so far as democracy is concerned, and it becomes merely a matter of arguing which slave State is the worst.

Criticizing Racism Under the Watchful Eye of the FBI

Schuyler’s views were considered so “subversive” that on April 22, 1942, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had requested one of his investigative officers to determine whether Schuyler should be “considered for custodial detention,” that is, imprisonment, for expressing his views on U.S. government racial and foreign policy. Several reports were prepared about him.

The FBI file says, “Subject is the most widely read Negro newspaper man in the country and his articles influence the thinking of many Negro leaders. Subject has been one of the most outspoken critics on Army and Navy [segregation] policies relating to Negroes. It is the opinion of this informant that subject is the most dangerous Negro in the country today and that if he is permitted to continue his attacks on the present war efforts, he may agitate a rebellion among Negro soldiers stationed in the South.” And it says that he was a “contributing factor to the low morale” among African American soldiers, in general.

Schuyler delivered a public address in February 1942 in New York, “Propaganda and Its Effect,” which an FBI informant attended. Besides Schuyler’s criticism of government racial policies relative to the war effort, the informant seemed to be also bothered by the fact that Schuyler “pooh-poohs all the ideas of race and claims that there is not only white blood in all Negroes, but also goes further and claims that all whites have some Negro blood.” Clearly, this was shocking and serious “un-American” stuff! The informant concluded that “whether he is in the pay of some foreign government or not, he is a helper of Hitler and Hirohito.”

America’s Race Problem Was a White Problem

He remained a thorn in the side of the government throughout the war years. For instance, in 1944 he published an article titled “The Caucasian Problem.” America did not have a black or Negro problem it was a problem with the tribal and collectivist thinking, attitudes, and policies of too many among those in the white population in America, who refused to regard and treat those of African descent as contributing Americans deserving and having the same individual rights before the law as all others in the society.

The same year, 1944, he also wrote an article titled “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Negro,” in which he drew attention to the two faces of too many whites in the United States. Oh, they all knew and interacted with individual people in the black community in various menial and household jobs and activities, and social settings. And almost all of them in their Dr. Jekyll personas acted in friendly, polite, and even courteous ways with “their” Negroes. “Why, she is just the nicest and most trust worthy person I just love my maid, Mable. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”

But socially amalgamate all of those individuals of African descent into “the Negroes,” and far too many of those same whites were transformed into the cruel and callous Mr. Hyde, unwilling to view “them” as human, equal, or deserving of the same rights and respect as others that those whites considered to be “their own kind” — and willing to turn a blind eye, or even participate in violence against a black person, for an invariably imaginary offense.

Yes, there was a race problem in America, George Schuyler never desisted from insisting, but it was a white man’s problem by refusing to fully, consistently, and honestly practice those individualist and liberty-based principles they all hailed and gave allegiance to except when it required inclusion of African Americans. It would require not only giving up social and psychological attitudes, but also forgoing the segregation barriers that denied black Americans the economic liberty to freely compete in the arenas of industry, commerce, and employment. Economic liberty was inseparable, in Schuyler’s mind, from real freedom for the black man in America.

Opposing Communism Equally With Racism

In the postwar period, George Schuyler continued to criticize and insist upon the end to all discriminatory legislation and legal barriers to black participation in American society. This was matched by an increasing vehemence in his criticisms against Soviet Russia and the dangers from communist activities around the world that were growing threats to liberty.

He forcefully reminded his African American readers in the Pittsburgh Courier beginning in the 1940s that the Soviet Union was a totalitarian slave society equal to and indeed greater than Nazi Germany and fascist Italy in terms of its tyranny, the mass murders, and number of concentration camp victims throughout the workers’ paradise. In fact, in constructing their own totalitarian regimes, Mussolini and Hitler were “pupils of Lenin, Stalin, et. al.,” Schuyler explained.

And he persistently warned, over and over again, of the attempts by communist agents and “fellow travelers” to spy for Moscow and infiltrate civil rights and labor union organizations for their own purposes. Following the partial and brief opening in the 1990s of the formerly secret archives of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the KGB, plus the U.S. government release of the Venona Papers (the deciphered communications between Moscow and its Soviet agent in the United States going back to the war years of the 1940s), it is no longer “red baiting” to point out the degree of successful and attempted Soviet infiltration of the U.S. government and private sector organizations for the purpose of furthering Soviet foreign policy goals. The Soviet Union definitely tried to “influence” domestic American politics!

Freedom and Misguided Political Paternalism

Any careful reading of George Schuyler’s writings from the late 1920s through the rest of his writing career brings out an interesting aspect to his straightforward and uncompromising criticisms of racism in America, particularly against African Americans. He called for the abolition and repeal of all legislative restrictions, barriers, and hindrances standing in the way of the personal, social, and economic liberty of black Americans. He almost never advocated or called for “active” government policies on behalf of any minority group, including black Americans.

He also always called upon the conscience of those in the white community in America to stand in both their words and their deeds to bring justice and legal equality for all. Racism began with people’s attitudes and actions, and the final answer to racism could only come through changes in those attitudes and actions.

This meant that almost from the start, Schuyler’s agenda for bringing justice and equality to those in the black community was different from and in general opposition to the “affirmative” interventionist policies advocated by a growing number of those in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In this context, his most “notorious” stand was against the Civil Rights Acts of 1964.

Changes in and Compliance With the Law Follows Social Attitudes

A leading premise in his opposing federal legislation of this type was his belief that, ultimately, you cannot politically force social change with that very type of legislative act without bringing about backlash resistance that can work contrary to the purposes behind that legislation. For instance, after decades of trying to get people to give up alcoholic drink, the temperance movement succeeded in having passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in 1919, the Prohibition Amendment. It was finally repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment. Why? Because it had tried to change people’s desires and actions when far too many in society did not agree with the government telling them what they could drink. It had merely resulted in law breaking, criminal activity, and political corruption.

He argued that the same had been the case with many attempts to pass anti-lynching laws. But they did not get passed and would not have succeeded very much if they had in earlier times. The reason was that passing a piece of legislation could not change people’s perverse racist attitudes and actions that some black man had to “pay” for almost always some imaginary offense against the virtue of some white woman. Explained Schuyler in his article “The Case Against the Civil Rights Bill” (1964):

From 1922 onward various Congressmen introduced anti-lynching bills in almost every session. Not one passed and there is none now, but lynching has become a rarity whereas when I was a boy there were about two lynchings every week on average, and terrorism was much more common. But times have changed along with public opinion, thanks to the aroused public conscience and the educational activities of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and numerous white agencies and individuals. Of course, this change was not and could not be wrought overnight. It had to be educative and gradual.

Change Comes From Within, Not by Compulsion

The same was true, in his view, with the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. You can pass laws, but you cannot change people’s attitudes, beliefs, or personal responses in opposition to laws that they consider wrong or undesirable. Schuyler was arguing that in the long run, law reflects people’s social values and notions of justice and what’s right. And until that changes one person and one community at a time, little that is positive may result from coercively imposing it on people. It may just harden resistance when you force something on someone who disagrees with what you want him to do. Schuyler argued:

The Civil Rights Laws are another typically American attempt to use the force of law to compel the public to drastically change its attitude toward and treatment of a racial group, the so-called Negro, which the overwhelming majority population does not care to associate itself with.… This has been the majority attitude since the earliest colonial days. It is morally wrong, nonsensical, unfair, un-Christian and cruelly unjust, but it remains the majority attitude.

This attitude has been progressively modified, however, especially with regard to individuals of color with the passage of time and continued intercourse and juxtaposition of the two groups. Anybody who has observed race relations during the past quarter century knows this to be true.…

Changes have been very slow since 1865, but there has been marked change and civil rights laws, state or federal, have had little to do with it. They have been enforced and accepted only when the dominant majority acquiesced, and have generally lain dormant in the law books. In short, custom has dictated the pace of compliance.

Social pressure, freedom of association, and free market exchange were what George Schuyler considered the better and more sustainable avenues to bring a fuller and more real equality among the races in America. Some criticized him as an “apologist” for American racist policies during the Cold War, by supposedly downplaying the American experience relative to other places in the world.

America and the Conscience of Liberty

But that was exactly Schuyler’s point in a speech delivered in Europe in 1950, “The Negro Question Without Propaganda” and, again, his argument against the 1964 Civil Rights Acts. Only in America, compared to so many other places around the world, and most assuredly anywhere in the communist countries behind the Iron Curtain, had freedom worked both as an idea and an ever-widening policy.

In spite of segregation laws and white racist attitudes, only in America had blacks been able to not only survive, but to find niches of opportunity and prosperity in their own communities and with degrees of overlap with the wider white America, though still behind compared to their white fellow countrymen, of course. But blacks in America had not been rounded up into concentration or labor camps like in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. They were not mass murdered or exiled to remote, unlivable parts of the country as tens of millions had experienced in the Soviet paradise.

The counterweight to that ever happening in America in the aftermath of the end of slavery in the American Civil War was that underlying set of principles upon which the country had been founded — that government serves man, and man does not live to serve and obey government. The reason is that each and every human being has inherent individual rights to their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. That idea and ideal, in spite of the bigotry, discrimination, cruelty, and sometimes acts of brutality, remained like an acid eating away drip by drip at the tribal notions of “race” and political compulsion in restricting one group for the benefit of another.

More than 50 years after the passing of those Civil Rights Acts, many, no doubt, would say, “Surely they worked.” Without claiming to be a medium knowing how to speak with people on “the other side,” I think that if George Schuyler were still alive today, he would say, yes and no. Circumstances for those in the black community in America are light years from the attitudes and daily conditions experienced by African Americans 50, 60, or 70 years ago. For those of us old enough to have some memory of the circumstances of the racial tensions and conflicts of half a century ago in the United States, today is like living on a different and far better planet.

I believe that Schuyler, based on what he said in all his writings over the decades of his career, would say that any real and sustainable change in the attitudes of whites in America and therefore in the relationships between the races has been due to the social changes in thinking and conduct, person by person, association by association, separate from and more importantly than any forced integration and compelled interactions. And, in my view, George Schuyler would consider the rise of political correctness and identity politics to be the very collectivist and tribal ideology that he had spent his life opposing, only now it is dressed up in a different garb.

The Cost of Speaking One’s Mind

George Schuyler paid a high personal and professional price for taking the positions that he did in the late 1950s and the 1960s. He was unceremoniously let go from his long-established editorial position at the Pittsburgh Courier. Most of the mainstream publications turned his articles down. He increasingly was confined to the far more conservative publication outlets, unlike in the past. And he was shunned by the civil rights movement, being either condemned or ignored. There were no public memorials or praising dedications recalling his long and determined fight against racism in America following his death on August 31, 1977.

But he never wavered from his own conscience as a conservative, as he understood it. Schuyler remained uncompromisingly dedicated to the principles of individual freedom and decentralized and limited constitutional government in the latter part of his life, and with the same fervor with which he opposed racist and other unjust government policies before and during the Second World War.

For classical liberals dedicated to individualism in all its personal, social, and economic dimensions, George Schuyler stands out as an inspiring voice for liberty in the face of many forms of tribalism and collectivism in the 20th century.


Angelica Schuyler Church

John Trumbull / Wikimedia Commons

The eldest of the Schuyler children, Angelica (February 20, 1756–March 13, 1814) was born and raised in Albany, New York. Thanks to her father’s political influence and his position as a general in the Continental Army, the Schuyler family home was often a site of political intrigue. Meetings and councils were held there, and Angelica and her siblings came into regular contact with well-known figures of the time, like John Barker Church, a member of the British Parliament who frequented Schuyler's war councils.

Church made himself a sizable fortune during the Revolutionary War by selling supplies to the French and Continental armies—making him persona non grata in his home country of England. Church managed to issue a number of financial credits to banks and shipping companies in the fledgling United States, and after the war, the U.S. Treasury Department was unable to pay him back in cash. Instead, it offered him a 100,000-acre tract of land in western New York State.


Forgotten conservative: Remembering George Schuyler

It was 40 years ago, August 31, 1977, that George Schuyler died. He has been largely forgotten, and that’s a shame. At one point, Schuyler was one of the most recognized and read columnists in America, particularly from his platform at one of America’s great African-American newspapers—the Pittsburgh Courier. He was also one of the nation’s top conservative voices.

My colleague Mary Grabar, who is writing a book on Schuyler and has done some of the best research and public speaking on the man, tells me about contacting two leading modern African-American conservatives about Schuyler. I’ll leave them unnamed, but it pained me to hear that one of them hadn’t even heard of Schuyler. It pains me more to know how many conservatives generally (black or white) have never heard of the man.

Raised in Syracuse, New York, George S. Schuyler would spend a crucial formative period in his 20s in the ideological asylum of New York City, where he devoted some time and energies to the left’s gods that failed: socialism and communism.

Schuyler was never a communist, which he excoriated with his brilliant, colorful flare. He was especially aghast at vigorous communist recruitment of African-Americans.

“The Negro had difficulties enough being black without becoming Red,” wrote Schuyler in his autobiography, Black and Conservative. He warned fellow African-Americans that “an attempt was being made by Communists to make a dupe out of the Negro which could only end in race war and his extermination.”

That was precisely what happened to Lovett Fort-Whiteman, the leading black American communist in the 1920s, who a decade later—after following his heart to Stalin’s USSR—perished in the Gulag. In the end, Lovett Fort-Whiteman was a black man treated the same way as a white man under Soviet communism: he was killed.

“With Communism bringing only misery to white people,” asked Schuyler, “what could it offer non-whites?” He saw right through communists and how they were seeking “viable tactics for corralling Negroes.”

Schuyler as early as June 1923, even before writing columns exposing communism, was publicly debating the likes of Soviet Comintern lackey Otto Huiswood, who Schuyler dubbed “a Red Uncle Tom always ready to do the Kremlin master’s bidding.” He blasted other black communists, from W.E.B. DuBois to Paul Robeson to Langston Hughes, and even called out (eventual) Obama mentor Frank Marshall Davis. He lit up white socialists like Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, the English Fabians, and John Dewey, founding father of American public education.

“I never had any of the prevalent enthusiasm for the murderous Soviet regime,” explained Schuyler, referring specifically to American leftists/progressives of the day who thrilled over the “Soviet experiment.” He saw the Bolshevik regime “as a combined Asiatic Tammany and Mafia, much less democratic than Czarism had been. Many I encountered saw the Communists as the heralds of freedom, but to me they were a murderous gang, and I hoped they would be suppressed.”

This is good to remember today, as our universities and public schools teach our youth the extraordinary claim that—yeah, sure—the communists may have killed 100 million people or so, but they were good fighters for civil rights. That’s utter rubbish—a red herring. One wishes that George Schuyler were still around to eviscerate such nonsense.

Schuyler had no use for Bolshevism, but he did early in his formative years (1921) briefly join the Socialist Party. He learned the error of that way. He would soon come to reject “Socialist bilge” as much he spurned “Bolshevist twaddle.” And he didn’t hold back in blasting pro-Soviet leftists.

In response, Soviet sympathizers and “parlor pinks” (as Schuyler called them) teamed up in writing a letter to the Pittsburgh Courier demanding that Schuyler be immediately fired. Schuyler publicly responded to them (“appropriately,” he noted) on April Fools’ Day 1938. There, he marveled at “the stampede to Communism by so-called intellectuals,” which he said was “no more intelligent than a stampede of cattle.” These intellectuals had been “hypnotized by the sonorous and hollow hokum of revolutionary psychopaths” in Moscow who promised to “usher in a world of love by increasing the volume of hatred.” These “goose-stepping ‘intellectuals’ began to yammer the praises of Stalin,” and saw “everything in America as bad and everything in Russia as good.” Said Schuyler, “they are the most disillusioned people in the country.”

Schuyler was particularly scathing in denouncing the Comintern-Communist Party USA efforts to create a separate, segregated African-American state in the South. Yes, that’s right. In 1930, at a Comintern conference in Moscow, a resolution was passed calling for a Soviet-directed and controlled “Negro Republic” among America’s Southern states. The Soviet Comintern, working through American communists, actually crafted plans for a “separate Negro state.” The strategy was to foment an African-American rebellion within the South, which would join forces with a workers’ uprising in the North. As Mary Grabar notes, Schuyler wrote brilliantly against what he dubbed “The Separate State Hokum.”

Schuyler instead preferred African-American voices like the great Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington rather than gushing admirers of Stalin like Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes, the latter of whom had urged his fellow Americans to “put one more ‘S’ in the USA to make it Soviet. The USA when we take control will be the USSA.”

While blasting collectivism, Schuyler extolled the virtues of conservatism, which he spoke of in very American terms, and which he applied to race. He wrote in Black and Conservative:

The American Negro is a prime example of the survival of the fittest…. He has been the outstanding example of American conservatism: adjustable, resourceful, adaptable, patient, restrained…. This has been the despair of the reformers who have tried to lead him up on the mountain and who have promised him eternal salvation. Through the succeeding uproars and upheavals that have attended our national development, the Negro has adjusted himself to every change with the basic aim of survival and advancement…. The ability to conserve, consolidate, and change when expedient is the hallmark of individual and group intelligence.

He said that black Americans “have less reason than any others to harbor any feelings of inferiority.”

Schuyler wrote those words in 1966. Think of all the black Americans who since that time have persevered and truly achieved the American dream. If ever there was a group that survived and thrived with government directly stacked against them—from legalized slavery to Dred Scott—it has been African-Americans. They embody the conservative philosophy of looking to oneself and one’s God rather than to one’s government.

Schuyler affirmed: “I learned very early in life that I was colored but from the beginning this fact of life did not distress, restrain, or overburden me. One takes things as they are, lives with them, and tries to turn them to one’s advantage or seeks another locale where the opportunities are more favorable. This was the conservative viewpoint of my parents and my family. It has been mine through life.”

Schuyler was, in that sense, American above all else.

“The more I read about him, the more I see that Americanism was the consistent element in Schuyler’s thought,” says Mary Grabar. “He did flirt with socialism and even some communist ideas, but he never once entertained the thought that he was less than 100 percent American.”

And throughout that American life, George Schuyler’s columns were read by millions of Americans. He was a leading voice of conservatism, and arguably the top (at least in his time) black conservative. We should pause to remember the man, his mighty pen, and his contributions.

About Paul G. Kengor

Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and chief academic fellow of the Institute for Faith and Freedom at Grove City College. His latest book (April 2017) is A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century. He is also the author of 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative. His other books include The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.


Watch the video: The Black Panthers - George S. Schuyler 1972 Reel 1-12 (November 2021).