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May 21, 2012

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anon

"Purely for self-interest, all Blacks should support actions that raise the status of the[ir] race ..."

Justin Hansford

Professor Starkey,

This is a great project, and I think your book proposal should find many enthusiastic takers. My own work on Marcus Garvey's mail fraud drama deals with the rancorous debate between Garvey, W.E.B. Dubois, Cyril Briggs and others during the era; a debate in which the pejorative use of "Uncle Tom" played a major role. It's an interesting idea to trace the "Uncle Tom Wars," if you will, through history. I wonder, do you know of other sources that trace intra-group fighting within the movement during the 20th century, from a legal perspective? Your work may be unique in that respect in addition to being distinguishable from the popular books you listed in your proposal.

I was also intrigued by this aspect of your post: "Blacks should be extended enough latitude to debate the merit of varying strategies for racial transformation. It must be insisted, however, that whatever “panacea” an individual race member espouses that it be argued intellectually honestly believing it to be in the race’s best interest. Indeed, the championing of any argument must be activated and propelled by pure devotion." I would love to see if you had any particular sources you relied upon to come to this conclusion--especially the last sentence. I agree with you wholeheartedly and I hope my work supports this notion, just would love to exchange ideas about it. I'm currently struggling with the notion that some racial justice arguments in the 20th century were motivated by more than pure devotion, and if that's indeed true, what to do with that from a philosophical and democratic theory perspective.

Brando Simeo Starkey

Thanks for the kind words.

"I wonder, do you know of other sources that trace intra-group fighting within the movement during the 20th century, from a legal perspective?"

There are all sorts of intra-group fighting, most notably integrationists vs. black nationalists. But what it seems that you are wondering if law professors write about notions of racial treachery during the era of the civil rights movement. If that's what you have in mind, unfortunately not really. Most of this discussion appears in the work of political scientists, sociologists, etc.

My conception of black solidarity builds on the work of Tommie Shelby and his book We Who Are Dark. http://www.amazon.com/Who-Are-Dark-Philosophical-Foundations/dp/0674019369
See also: Melvin Rogers, Liberalism, Narrative, and Identity: A Pragmatic Defense of Racial Solidarity, 3 Theory and Event * (2002). (don't have the page number in my notes, sorry)

In my work I talk about the Garvey incident when black leaders wrote a letter to the Attorney General to get Garvey in legal trouble. And the UNIA responded back "“EIGHT ‘UNCLE TOM’ NEGROES … ‘TELL’” on Marcus Garvey." I will take a look at your article. Looks interesting.

anon

"But what it seems that you are wondering if law professors write about notions of racial treachery ...."
Actually, all this sounds better in the German language. So much more precise and expressive.

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