The fascist who ‘passed’ for white

The fascist who ‘passed’ for white

The Guardian

Gary Younge, Feature Writer and Columnist

Lawrence Dennis was a leading light in the American fascist movement of the 1930s. He was a fan of Hitler and a self-avowed anti-semite. Now a new book reveals that he was actually black—although even his wife didn’t know. Gary Younge reports

Lawrence Dennis was, arguably, the brains behind American fascism. He attended the Nuremberg rallies, had a personal audience with Mussolini, and met Nazi leaders; throughout the 1930s he provided the intellectual ballast for America’s bourgeoning pro-fascist movement. But though his work was well known and well appreciated by the intelligentsia and political elites on both sides of the Atlantic, there was one crucial fact about him that has never emerged until now: he was black. It turns out that the man Life magazine once described as “America’s number one intellectual fascist” was, in fact, a light-skinned African American, born in the segregated South—although he “passed” for white among the greatest race hatemongers known to mankind.

In a new book, The Colour of Fascism, Gerald Horne reveals how Dennis managed to live a lie for his entire adult life. “It’s not clear that his wife knew that he was black,” says Horne, a history professor at the University of Houston. “He certainly never told his daughter. When she asked him, he would just smile enigmatically.”…

…”Passing” was common in American society at the time. Despite laws against miscegenation, the pervasive practice of masters raping their slaves had produced a large number of light-skinned people. Under America’s rigidly enforced codes of racial supremacy, any child of a mixed-race relationship was deemed “black”, regardless of their complexion. They called it the one-drop rule: one drop of “black blood” made you black…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,