The incarnation of Spelman College began in the post-reconstruction South when two white women from Massachusetts implemented a vision of liberal arts education for black women in Atlanta, Georgia. John D. Rockefeller, attracted to the vision, financed it. The name changed from the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary in 1881, to Spelman Seminary (after Laura Spelman Rockefeller and her parents) in 1884, and then finally to Spelman College in 1924. The College has grown from eleven African American women with a bankroll of $100 to more than 2000 matriculants today with an endowment of half a billion dollars.
Spelman College should be grateful for the largess. But like so many of American colleges and universities, the institution underwent transformation after World War II from a place governed by its Christian roots into its current mission as an outpost of Marxism and black radical thought. In “The Demise of Spelman College: From Howard Zinn to Nikole Hannah-Jones,” published in the May 11th issue of Front Page Magazine, Mary Grabar, Resident Fellow, The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, outlines how it happened.
Dr. Grabar lays much of the blame at the feet of Howard Zinn. Before he completed graduate school and defended his dissertation, Zinn received a position at Spelman. He was a card-carrying member of Communist Part, USA at the time. Albert Manley of Afro-Jamaican descent was the first male president of Spelman in 1953. During the Civil Rights struggle and the Vietnam war, he and Zinn often crossed swords. Zinn relentlessly complained about Manley as a “colonial” dictator.
In the following years of Zinn’s seven years stint at Spelman, he “was encouraging students to defy campus rules about church attendance, dress code, and curfews. Zinn brought a recording of students expressing their grievances about campus rules to a faculty meeting. Manley refused to listen.” Before Zinn was cashiered by Manley (allegedly for “insubordination”), Zinn made it his mission to radicalize African American pupils. But Manley, to his credit, “saw through Zinn’s ruse. The ‘civil rights’ protests Zinn led his students on did little more than result in their incarceration . . . drained the coffers of the NAACP for bail and legal fees, and resulted in very few voter registrations.” Manley also produced a “‘morals charge’ from 1960, warning the married Zinn with ‘documented facts concerning your personal and private relationships with a student, which are extremely relevant to your fitness to serve as a faculty member in this or any other institution.’”
Like Zinn, Nikole Hannah-Jones also distorts the past for self-promotion, disinformation, and profit. It is altogether fitting and proper that she follows in Zinn’s footsteps. “[E]ighteen years later the Spelman College Class of 2023 will be getting more of the same,” said Grabar. That’s right: Spelman has invited Hannah-Jones to be its commencement speaker.