Mary Grabar, Resident Fellow, The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), is writing a biography of George Schuyler (1895-1977), an African American intellectual. To post-modern audiences, black and white alike, that name sounds unfamiliar, for authors of textbooks in American history have largely disappeared him from the record. Dr. Grabar would like to rectify this calculated oversight.
Schuyler spent his early years in Syracuse, New York. He enlisted in the United States Army as a teenager, and on his release by a military tribunal after going AWOL, he dabbled in socialism. He worked as the business manager of the NAACP until he broke ranks with the organization. No less than H. L. Mencken, realizing his intellectual gifts and his rapier-like wit, published him in Mencken’s journal American Mercury. He went on to write editorials and opinion pieces for the Pittsburgh Courier, an African American newspaper, that increased its circulation by leaps and bounds.
In the February 12, 2023, issue of The American Spectator entitled “Why Does Black History Month Ignore the Author of ‘The Most Talked About Column in Negro America?’” Mary Grabar observes that Black History Month “seems to focus less on black Americans who made good, and more on the followers of Karl Marx.” She blames much of the problem on Communists and Black Nationalists in erasing Schuyler’s name from credibility. Schuyler, unlike Angela Davis, who was feted at least three times during her career at Hamilton College, did not see the Soviet Union and Communism through rose-tinted glasses. Indeed, she is an inveterate communist stooge.
Before the outbreak of World War II, “Schuyler described Soviet Russia’s draconian punishments, show trials, and concentration camps for ‘counter-revolutionaries’ in memorable terms. “‘The status of the [Soviet] peasant … is comparable with that of the sharecroppers [in the United States], with an all-powerful State as landlord, telling them what and how much they must plant . . . . Under these conditions, I would like to ask these Red Uncle Toms, who glibly condone murder, calculated famine, torture and denial of elementary liberties, what difference it makes what the new Soviet Constitution says?’”
Black Studies made its entrance into American education in 1969 when students at San Francisco State University strong-armed the administration into acquiescence. Schuyler blasted the result as opening the floodgates to gross errors and mythmaking. He was Cassandra-like in his prophecies in that regard.
Schuyler had direct experience the way Africans lived from his time working as international correspondent in Liberia. “Writing in Human Events, Schuyler blasted the capitulation to the ‘belligerent demands of black militants and assorted prospective teachers of these arcana.’ It was ‘indoctrination in black racial mythology,’ intended to ‘flatter frustrated Negro youth … while at the same time brainwashing white students.’”
It is high time, stated Grabar, for Schuyler to get the credit he deserves in reporting on a wide variety of controversial subjects. He “offered stories about countless successful black American entrepreneurs, farmers, and professionals that defied the communist narrative.”
Mary Grabar’s forthcoming biography of this controversial journalist will be a must read.