LET’S CUT TO THE CHASE: Frank Marshall Davis was a literal, card-carrying member of Communist Party USA (CPUSA). His card number was 47544. He was pro-Soviet, pro–Red China. He edited and wrote for Party-line publications such as the Chicago Star and the Honolulu Record; contributors to the former actually served as secret agents to Stalin’s Soviet Union. Davis did outrageous Soviet propaganda work in his columns, at every juncture agitating and opposing U.S. attempts to slow Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung. He favored Yalta and Red Army takeovers of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Central and Eastern Europe. He urged America to dump the “fascist” Chiang Kaishek in support of Mao’s Red forces.
He wanted Communist takeovers in Korea and Vietnam. He was adamantly, angrily anti-NATO, anti–Marshall Plan, anti–Truman Doctrine. He argued that the U.S. under President Harry Truman—whom he portrayed as a fascist, racist, and imperialist—and under secretaries of state George Marshall and Dean Acheson, was handing West Germany back to the Nazis, while Stalin was pursuing “democracy” in East Germany and throughout the Communist Bloc. He portrayed America’s leaders as “aching for an excuse to launch a nuclear nightmare of mass murder and extermination” against the Soviets and the Chinese— as eager to end all civilization.
In short, Frank Marshall Davis’ writings were outrageous. A Jeremiah Wright sermon or Bill Ayers lecture is tame by comparison.
The federal government certainly took notice. In December 1956, the Democrats who ran the Senate Judiciary Committee summoned Davis to Washington to testify on his activities. He pleaded the Fifth Amendment. No matter, the next year, the Democratic Senate, in a report revealingly titled, “Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States,” publicly listed Davis as “an identified member of the Communist Party.”
Even more remarkable, Frank Marshall Davis’ political antics were so radical that the FBI placed him on the federal government’s Security Index, which meant that he could be immediately detained or arrested in the event of a national emergency, such as a war between the United States and USSR. Davis’ 600-page FBI file includes reports that he had been observed repeatedly photographing Hawaiian shorelines and beachfronts with a telescopic lens. There was (and remains) suspicion that he might have been doing so for foreign intelligence—that is, Soviet intelligence.
And this is just the tip of a list of activities as chilling as a Siberian iceberg.
Oh, and Davis also happened to be a mentor to the current president of the United States of America, one Barack Obama.
We’re Not in Kansas Anymore
FRANK MARSHALL DAVIS WAS BORN in December 1905 in Kansas, where he would endure serious racism that spawned justified resentment. No matter conservatives’ horror at the man’s politics, they ought to hold sympathy for the very real racism that young Frank endured. Here was a little boy who was literally nearly lynched one day walking home from school.
Davis’ politics developed slowly and unevenly. Like most black Americans at the time, he initially considered himself loyal to the party of Lincoln—the Republican Party. His evolution to the left was a long, winding road. Ultimately, however, he moved toward “progressivism” and, by World War II, to the farthest extreme of the left: the Communist Party. This development took place during his time in the 1930s and 1940s in Chicago, where, not unlike Barack Obama decades later, he would find himself politically and professionally.
Davis joined the Party during World War II—notably, after the signing of the Hitler-Stalin pact that precipitated not only the war but the Holocaust. Many American Communists (especially Jewish– American Communists) bolted the Party after the signing of the pact; to the contrary, Davis joined up. And from then on, he toed the Soviet/Stalinist line unflinchingly, unerringly, flawlessly. He was the prototype of the dedicated CPUSA foot soldier and loyal Soviet patriot who dutifully served the Motherland.
Davis’ unflagging support of Stalin’s Soviet Union is apparent in a poem he wrote, lovingly titled “To the Red Army.” In this ode to Stalin’s tanks, Comrade Davis exhorted the Soviets to show the West’s “rich industrialists” and political “experts” what Communism could do:
Truman, Churchill, and the “Pontius Pilates”
Smash on, victory-eating Red warriors!
Drive on, oh mighty people’s juggernaut!
Show the marveling multitudes
Americans, British, all your allied brothers
How strong you are
How great you are
How your young tree of new unity
Planted twenty-five years ago
Bears today the golden fruit of victory!
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