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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University


Author: Williams, Vernon J., Jr.
Author Background:
Date 1/1/95
Type Journal
Journal Title: Western Journal of Black Studies
Volume/Pages 19(2)p.81-89
Subject Matter African American
Abstract In a small volume published in 1990, Marshall Hyatt argued that Franz Uri Boas throughout his long career used blacks as a camouflage . . . for attacking all forms of prejudice. In other words, for Hyatt, Boas sskeptical stance toward antiblack racism stemmed from his desire to protect his own ethnic group, Jews. However, an investigation of Boas s correspondence with leading African-American intellectuals such asBooker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Carter G. Woodson, Alain L. Locke, George E. Haynes, Abram Harris, Charles S. Johnson, Monroe N. Work, Charles H. Thompson, and Zora N. Hurston, qualifies Hyatt sargument that Boas s indictment of the plight of African Americans was mere camouflage for attacking anti-Semitism. In his correspondence Boas not only displayed an astonishing degree of empathy with theplight of African-American intellectuals and the black masses for the early 20th century, but also performed such practical functions as assisting them in obtaining jobs and foundation support, fighting for academicfreedom, and nurturing studies of African-American history and life in the social sciences. As a result of his long-term support of African Americans and their causes, some members of the intelligentsia, in turn,were supportive of him when the Nazi s propaganda and atrocities were revealed to the general public in the late 1930 s.