Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing: A Genius Shunned by Black Academicians

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing: A Genius Shunned by Black Academicians

Article excerpt

Regina Jennings is author of several books including Malcolm X and the Poetics of Haki Madhubuti and Race, Rage, and Roses. She has published articles in over 28 peer-reviewed journals and is currently working on Poetry of the Panthers: From Ancestral Memory, Morphogenetic Fields to Hip Hop.

I never been comfortable with the knowledge that Howard University, a prominent Black institution of higher learning refused to honor our Sister/Genius, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, with all of the academic accolades available. The purpose of this essay is to explore possibilities as to why Howard University rejected our Dear Sister Genius who has recently joined our Ancestors. My major frustration concerns why this (or any other) Historically Black University didn't endow our Genius Sister-Dr. Frances Cress Welsing- with a Chair (for multiple years). A chair in academia is similar to a grant where the esteemed scholar can have a salary, without full teaching and committee responsibilities. This enables the scholar to continue her research, writing, and lecturing unencumbered. Actually, I will begin with my ending conclusion: Dr. Frances Cress Welsing's Howard rejection and isolation strategy is Black betrayal which further causes me to question, the purpose of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

To begin, I discovered Frances Cress Welsing probably as many of us old enough to remember Tony Brown's Journal and to my absolute delight during the 1980s I had the honor of performing poetry at Philadelphia events where Cress Welsing was the major speaker. Oh, how I idolized her and learned so very much about my people and myself from listening to her lecture. She was tall, downtown brown, feminine, atop her head a cottony afro and her wit and wisdom had all of us magnetized.

I had found a desperately needed role model: a genius Sister Scientist whose fierceness reminded me of the Panthers. She was so lovingly Black and courageous and her brilliance was a unique combination involving psychology, science, sociology and most importantly to me, Black Nationalism. From her I learned so much more about our people and those in authority over us, questions I had been pondering since childhood and especially during my years as a runaway.

In the 1990s I attended a few of her New York City talks as I was completing my doctoral studies, and for some reason I just assumed that this incredible expert was still employed at Howard University. Taking that assumption for granted, I was overwhelmed with my own college level studies, childrearing and fighting white racism, so I simply figured she was still at Howard.

After all she was a major scholar, with groundbreaking innovative theory that explained a world problem: white supremacy. Cress Welsing had published the highly theoretical and practical Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors (1991) and had all the credentials for tenure. She had brought high level media attention to Howard University, debating and teaching leading White authorities who disparaged Black intellectualism. She had done more to deserve tenure than the regular ivory tower professors married to repetitious book learning, and producing nothing new (which is supposed to be a mandate within academe: to produce new modes and forms of inquiry). In my naivety, I had decided that our dear Dr. Sister Frances Cress Welsing was economically and professional stable at a major HBCU.

When I realized that Howard refused to keep Dr. Francis Cress Welsing, among its ranks, it broke my already broken heart, and I again experienced Black on Black betrayal. If White academicians had sanctioned Dr. Cress Welsing, so would the negro lackeys who refused to maintain her. If she had been applauded for espousing euphemisms that extend white supremacy, she'd be at Howard. If she had buck-danced and shuffled or displayed manufactured n/Negro American made behavior, she would have had a regular university paycheck.

But that was not how our dear Dr. …

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