Frank Marshall Davis, alleged Communist, was early influence on Barack Obama

New details about a black poet in Hawaii who was a key early influence in Barack Obama’s life can be revealed by The Telegraph.

Toby Harnden
The Telegraph [UK]
22 Aug 2008

Although identified only as Frank in Mr Obama’s memoir Dreams from My Father, it has now been established that he was Frank Marshall Davis, a radical activist and journalist who had been suspected of being a member of the Communist Party in the 1950s.

Mr Davis moved to Honolulu from Chicago in 1948 with his second wife Helen Canfield, a white socialite, at the suggestion of his friend the actor Paul Robeson, who advised them that there would be more tolerance of a mixed race couple in Hawaii than on the American mainland.

A bohemian libertine who drank heavily and loved jazz, he became friends with Stanley Dunham, Mr Obama’s maternal grandfather in the 1960s. Mr Davis died in 1987 at the age of 81, five years before Mr Dunham…

…While his mother was in Indonesia during part of his teenage years, Mr Obama lived with his white grandparents. Mrs Weatherly-Williams said that the poet was first introduced to the future Democratic presidential candidate in 1970 at the age of 10…

…Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama’s half-sister, told the Associated Press recently that her grandfather had seen Mr Davis was “a point of connection, a bridge if you will, to the larger African-American experience for my brother”.

In his memoir, Mr Obama recounts how he visited Mr Davis on several occasions, apparently at junctures when he was grappling with racial issues, to seek his counsel. At one point in 1979 Mr Davis described university as “an advanced degree in compromise” that was designed to keep blacks in their place.

Mr Obama quoted him as saying: “Leaving your race at the door. Leaving your people behind. Understand something, boy. You’re not going to college to get educated. You’re going there to get trained.”

He added that “they’ll tank on your chain and let you know that you may be a well-trained, well-paid nigger, but you’re a nigger just the same.”

It has also been established that Mr Davis, who divorced in 1970, was the author of a hard-core pornographic autobiography published in San Diego in 1968 by Greenleaf Classics under the pseudonym Bob Greene.

In a surviving portion of an autobiographical manuscript, Mr Davis confirms that he was the author of Sex Rebel: Black after a reader had noticed the “similarities in style and phraseology” between the pornographic work and his poetry…

The complete article is at The Telegraph.

H/T Confederate Yankee

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