Dr. Abraham L. Davis is now retired from Morehouse College in Atlanta after 41 years of educating the best black minds in America. A native of Tuskegee, Alabama, he completed his bachelor’s in political science from Morehouse College, earned a master’s in political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a Ph.D. in political science from Ohio State University. Dr. Favis has also been a visiting professor at Ohio State University, Emory University, Texas Tech University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, North Carolina A&T State University, Colgate University, the University of Suriname and the law faculties in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
How does the media play a role in the miseducation of black Americans?
The media plays a very important role in shaping the opinions of the American people. For example, Mr. Sterling, the owner of the Clippers professional basketball team would lead people of all ethnicities to believe that his racist comments are an exception to the rule when nothing could be farther from the truth. There are other owners of professional teams whose viewpoints are similar to those of Mr. Sterling but they are clever enough not to express them.
Racist viewpoints permeate the American landscape and this explains why progress concerning matters of race has been so painfully slow. The media is an important component of this unfortunate state of affairs. The media undoubtedly influences public opinion. Leaders would not be talking about the scandal at the nation’s VA hospitals if the media had not reported the story. We are now talking about the resegregation of the nation’s public schools because the media reported this story.
What should we do collectively as a race?
The first thing that black Americans should do is to have more respect for each other and to strengthen our organizational structure, which is extremely weak presently. We should be so well organized that when an issue comes forth that adversely affects us, the component structures would inform us of what steps we are to take including an economic boycott or a march, etc. This organizational structure has not been developed by blacks who call themselves our leaders, and this is very unfortunate. This should be a top priority for black leaders if genuine progress is to be made. To ignore this guiding principle is to stifle the future of our race and political culture. Black Americans must return to the era when their ancestors had literally nothing but hope but stuck together and supported each other. That spirit is no longer an integral part of how we operate and has stifled us immensely.
What are you currently reading?
The Civil Rights Movement by Bruce Dierenfield, Stealing Lincoln’s Body by Thomas Craughwell, Portrait of a Racist by Reed Massengill, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. by Charles Hamilton
What books are a must-to have a modern political perspective?
The Supreme Court, Race, and Civil Rights by Abraham L. Davis; Race, Racism and American Law by Derrick Bell; Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal by Gary Orfield; In the Matter of Color by A. Leon Higginbotham; The Shame of the Nation by Jonathan Kozol; The Strange Career of Jim Crow by C. Vann Woodward; Markets and Minorities by Thomas Sowell
What are the names of the books you have written?
The United States Supreme Court and the Uses of Social Science Data, Blacks in the Federal Judiciary, The Supreme Court, Race and Civil Rights
If you were able to have an intellectual dinner party of great minds, what three persons would you invite and why?
I would invite Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, WEB Du Bois, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela. I would be able to gain great insight and tidbits of wisdom from them concerning the pressing issues that have faced this nation historically. I would welcome such an experience.
Has President Obama been a benefit to the black race?
President Obama has been of great benefit to black Americans. He exemplifies what is possible if one dreams big dreams and then pursues them with a passion. He has validated the proposition that race is insignificant in comparison to hard work, persistence and excellence. Additionally, he serves as an example and inspiration to those black Americans whose dreams have been tattered, blurred and diluted by racism and bigotry.