Professor George G. M. James, author of Stolen LegacyA couple of month back, I read a blog that raised questions about the fatality of Professor George G. M. James, author of the controversial job-related of history Stolen Legacy. The writer the the blog include that quickly after the publication of Stolen Legacy James had died under mysterious perhaps also violent circumstances. So in search of sources I confirm Wikipedia. The short article on James evidenced he had passed away violently but did so without citation, a typical shortcoming the this neighborhood based digital encyclopedia. The short article on James might in fact have been the blog writer’s resource or perhaps the blog writer added to the article. In any type of case, both to be reporting that James had died violently under secret circumstances. Once I stumbled upon that blog, i was currently working on a background of the “Vindicationist School” of black Historians, which in enhancement to James consists of Joseph Ben Jochannan, man G. Jackson, john Henrik Clark, and also Cheikh Anta Diop. Previously I had frequently wondered without monitor up what ended up being of James therefore I made decision to execute a preliminary investigation right into his death.

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The blog writer’s theory seemed plausible, at least on the confront of it. At the moment of his death, James was on faculty at Agricultural, mechanical & normal (AM&N) university in pine tree Bluff, an HBCU. It to be the mid 1950s, and also the polite Rights motion was obtaining momentum. The U.S. Can be fried Court had made its historic ruling in Brown v. Board of education and learning of Topeka Kansas the same year that Stolen Legacy to be published, and Arkansas was around to take it the national stage as the test bed for school desegregation. On the defensive against integration, White southerns were acting with increased hostility in the direction of African Americans, particularly in the deep south. A year after ~ Brown and a year before Jackson died, in Money, Mississippi, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam lynched 14-year old Emmett Till, a cherub-faced african American boy from Chicago visiting the deepest south for what would certainly be his last time. His globally publicized torture and also death followed very closely on the heels that the publishing of what would certainly be James’ magnum opus.

The deaths the James and also Till space not directly connected, yet the alleged offense that price Till his life, supposedly having whistled in ~ the wife of Roy Bryant, cut against the same lily-white “Ubermensch” ideas that James assailed in Stolen Legacy making lock akin. Regarded as literature, Stolen Legacy was itself similar to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor has actually No Clothes in that it wagged a perspicacious finger at western pundits on the subject of the origin of Greek philosophy, just as the child had pointed a perceptive finger in ~ the Emperor dressed in his birthday suit in Andersen’s fairy tale. In his version, James had averred the the foundation of Greek ideology was Egyptian philosophy, and also that in as lot as Egypt was in Africa, Egyptian viewpoint was one African innovation that west intellectuals had actually falsely attributed come the Greeks. James had struck a blow at the foundation of western world which rests ~ above the twin pillars of Greek background and Greek philosophy. If either shaft should fall the entire origin the western world would topple into myth and also require what would be for many proponents that the traditional view that western world an unthinkable rethinking.

In the deep south in the 1950s, wherein white southerners killed African Americans out of ignorance and also hate; for sport, for fun, and also for nothing in ~ all, that is not lot of a stretch to imagine the James’ thesis might have put him in the crosshairs of a white supremacist group or the of a white supremacist exhilaration alone. So genuine is that issue to some African Americans that as current as a couple of years ago, the expression “white supremacy” was immediately filtered in email correspondence at roadway College, one HBCU in Jackson, Tennessee. An interpretation that if you used that expression in one email, even for a legit purpose, her email would certainly be captured by the college server and not forwarded to the recipient. I made this exploration while on faculty at roadway College when I attempted to organize a forum to discuss the source of the trouble behind police brutality and also violence in the black color community. My colleagues defined to me that we could comment on police brutality but that I might not use the expression “white supremacy” together it was also controversial and thus not permitted. James had passed away in Tennessee. Appreciating how white southerners in 1954 would have actually most most likely viewed and also reacted come his book it seemed plausible that the challenge made by James in Stolen Legacy might have cost James his life.


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Stolen legacy was originally published in 1954

I started my research into his fatality on Ancestry.com, a advantageous research tool once looking for an important records because that a person. I immediately found where Professor James had actually made an application for a Social defense card. The application revealed that he was born in Georgetown, Guyana on November 9, 1893 to Finch and also Margaret James. Due to the fact that James had actually personally made the application for the Social defense card, we deserve to safely assume the his place of birth and date that birth together with the names of his parents on that file are without doubt accurate. In fact, his place of birth on his Social security card applications corrects his ar of bear on his death certificate, which lists Jamaica in the then British West Indies. Wikipedia had had his location of birth and also parents surname correct. What about his death? how did Professor James die? had actually his death come together a an effect of him having thrown under the gauntlet against racist white scholars on the origins of Greek philosophy? not exactly.


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According come his fatality certificate, Professor James died June 30, 1956, may be under the care of Black doctors at the George W. Ha Hospital, the black color hospital called after its an initial director and also associated with Meharry medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1876, Meharry is of food the 2nd oldest afri American college of medication in the joined States. Medical professionals admitted Professor James right into Hubbard Hospital ~ above June 9th, therefore his death came after ~ a 21-day hospitalization. The immediate cause of fatality on his death certificate is detailed as gastric cancer. The second cause is provided as Aneurysm, Innominate Artery, and Arteriosclerotic heart Disease.


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Credit: Ancestry.com

I am familiar with gastric cancer because my father, a physician, provided away two thirds of his stomach in his fight versus that very form of cancer, a cancer that is low ranking among the causes of cancer deaths in the unified States, accounting for a little an ext than 1% of cancer deaths every year. Even more rare is the aneurysm of the Innominate Artery. According to a 1985 examine of 1147 aneurysm patients, just three had an aneurysm of the Innominate Artery. The is 0.003% of the population. In the 1950s, aneurysms the the Innominate Artery were frequently syphilitic, huge lesions, with a bad prognosis due to the fact that they were challenging to treat. Today, if diagnosed with time medicine have the right to often successfully treat the condition. In considering etiology, over there is no point out of syphilis top top Professor James’ death certificate, however the Atherosclerosis the is pointed out accounts for 60% of instances of aneurysm the the Innominate Artery today, offering credence to the idea that it being a contributing factor to James’ death. Because there is also no mention of any kind of trauma or injury on the fatality certificate that seems most likely that there was no overt foul play. Professor James’ death then was a result of clinical complications native at the very least two diseases. Medically and sufficiently this need to firmly create his reason of death, and yet his death arisen at a high watermark the the Cold War, a time as soon as assassinations were brought out covertly. Having actually previously read about disease-induced assassinations I can not suppress wondering if the resource of his primary reason of fatality was natural or artificially presented by an exterior agent. Can there have actually been a concealed contributor that seeded his gastric cancer? If so, this would certainly mean federal government involvement.

During the Cold War, assassinations were carried out through a range of insidious and also surreptitious means, one such an approach was the usage of the radioactive aspect Polonium. Polonium is a carcinogen, and also in 2013 Aljazeera linked it come the fatality of Yassar Arafat, former iconic head of the Palestine Liberation company (PLO). Could Polonium be the true resource of James’ cancer? Perhaps but without an ext information it appears unlikely. Nevertheless, prior to you dismiss the idea as conspiracy, consider that Professor James was an Ivy organization educated academician of the very first order whose research study was directly complicated the prominence of Greco-Roman philosophy, the foundation of west civilization. That is likely that James would have been a known human to the United states government and known possibly to the manager of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover committed in sniffing out nonconformist. He supervised COINTELPRO, a FBI respond to intelligence initiative that often used illegal means to disrupt teams seeking in someway to revolutionary American society. His quest of the black color Panther Party is well documented. Hoover viewed as subversive or communist any kind of group or individual that he deemed a risk to the condition quo. He also investigated Eleanor Roosevelt, so it is not tough to imagine him investigating James. But investigating James and also having him murdered are two different things entirely. World write controversial books all the time, and also the best defense against a publication like Stolen Legacy is to perform what tendency white and black scholars have done because that 60 years, i beg your pardon is to ignore it.

Future research study may give us the final word, but there is just plausible conjecture supporting the idea of foul pat in James death. For now the most substantive proof points come his fatality as being of herbal causes.

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Assistant Professor of background and manager of the Public history Program at phibìc Carolina main University.