Frank the Poet Remembered

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Academic elites have treated controversial presidential mentor Frank Marshall Davis one of two ways. Either they ignore him or elevate him.

For example, Boston University’s Gene Anthony Jarrett labels him one of the “canonical African-American writers.” John Edgar Tidwell of the University of Kansas calls him ”Kansas’s Most famous Unknown Poet.”

For their part, Friends of Barack, not to mention the man himself, are in denial about his relationship to Davis. Although the president mentioned Davis at least 22 times in his memoirs, FMD’s last name was never given.

Now, “There is not a single Frank Marshall Davis audio clip from Dreams From My Father,” historian Paul Kengor noted in a conference in Washington, D. C. on July 19, 2012. “They’ve all been pulled.” Kengor spoke at a conference organized by America’s Survival, which was founded by Cliff Kincaid, who also directs Accuracy in Media’s Center for Investigative Journalism.

Few scribes, scholars and pundits ponder why the man President Obama identified in his memoir only as “Frank the poet” became the subject of a 600-page FBI file.  Grove City College professor Paul Kengor actually read that file, along with Davis’s testimony before a congressional committee, various government reports that name him as an enemy agent and the columns which Davis wrote for newspapers in Chicago and Hawaii.

The result is a fairly definitive book entitled The Communist.  “For the record, it is very significant—and disturbing—that Frank joined the Party after, rather than before, the Hitler-Stalin pact,” Kengor writes. “Numerous American communists joined CPUSA [the Communist Party of the United States of America] during the Great Depression in the early 1930s, but fled the Party like the plague after Stalin betrayed them by signing this pernicious pact with Hitler.”

“For Frank to join after the pact is a striking display of his commitment.”  Kengor’s book is subtitled Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.  Of course, Frank supported the war effort against Hitler once the Soviet Union joined it.

As well, Kengor gives us Davis’s communist party membership card number—47544. For good measure, Kengor connects the dots from past to present. “Again, the overlapping orbits are fascinating,” he writes. “Think about the relationships: Frank mentored Obama. “ But that’s just the beginning: The senior advisor to the president—Valerie Jarrett—also is in the linkage.

“Recall that Valerie Jarrett’s father –in-law, Vernon Jarrett, and her maternal grandfather, Robert Taylor, both worked with Frank as joint members of communist fronts or in suspected front activities.”

Other odd coincidences—in his weekly columns from 1940 to 1960, some of Davis’s favorite subjects were:

  • The vilification of Winston Churchill, whose bust President Obama removed from the White House and returned to the British embassy;
  • The promotion of national health care, which President Obama passed;
  • The demonization of big business, particularly General  Motors, which President Obama nationalized;
  • Arguing for public works spending as a way out of a recession or depression rather than tax cuts or deregulation, which also describes the Obama Administration’s economic policies.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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