The Oakland Museum's hagiography of a Marxist murder accomplice

I remember going to the Oakland Museum when I was a kid.  An amalgam of three smaller museums (art and natural history), it always leaned left, although it still had great Californiana art and history.  Now, in addition to the general leftism that characterizes all modern American museums, the Oakland Museum is dedicating a whole exhibit to Angela Davis, a convicted felon connected to a judge's execution and a hardcore Marxist.

For those who like traditional museums, the Oakland Museum has a stunning collection of items showcasing California art and design, California's natural sciences, the California craftsman movement, and general California history.  As a decidedly nerdy child, I enjoyed going there beginning around 1970 or so.  There were lovely things, such as this painting, in the museum's collection:

Yosemite Valley, 1868, by Albert Bierstadt.

But the museum is so much more because it's now a celebration of leftism — all kinds of leftism, but especially Black activism.  I was reminded of that when I received a press release boasting about the museum's 2022–2023 "exhibitions and projects."

There's the celebration of feminism — not just any feminism (voting rights, equal pay for equal work), but third-wave, intersectional feminism:

Hella Feminist is rooted in the idea that discrimination against all elements of identity (gender, class, race, sexual orientation, physical ability, education, age, etc.) is interlinked and that no element can be addressed in isolation.

There's an ongoing "Black Power" exhibit:

Black Power illustrates the creative ways Black anti-racist activists in California supported their communities and challenged the U.S. government. Focusing on the example of the Black Panther Party, Black Power brings to light the tensions between a culturally and socially progressive California and examples of economic racism and oppression in the state.

And a "Black Males" exhibit:

Immerse yourself in intimate videos — woven together and arranged to simulate face-to-face conversations between participants — among a diverse group of over 160 Black men across the United States.

But the exhibit that really caught my eye is the celebration of Angela Davis:

Angela Davis: Seize the Time is an exhibition focused on Davis and her image. Organized in partnership with the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, the exhibition provides a compelling and layered narrative of Davis's journey. Using the Angela Davis Archive in Oakland as both the heart of the exhibition and a source, visitors are given the opportunity to investigate how we remember, preserve, and activate radical Black history, while also allowing us to re-imagine the construction of the image of Davis as an icon of American Black radical resistance, female empowerment, and a threat to the white patriarchal status quo.

Beyond the archive and popular culture references, the exhibition positions Angela Davis as a continuing touchstone for contemporary artists referencing mass incarceration, Black Lives Matter, and economic disenfranchisement. Contemporary artworks assert Davis' significance as a Black feminism intellectual and engage with her as a historical participant in a larger narrative, not simply as an unmoored image of radical chic. 

That description leaves out a few things.  Angela Davis is an open Marxist who provided the guns that killed four people in a Marin County courtroom, including a judge.  Some might think that's a reprehensible record.  After all, the political ideology she espouses, through Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, and other socialist dictators, was responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000,000 people in the 20th century alone.  And as noted, she was directly responsible for four deaths in that courtroom.

Image: Angela Davis wanted poster.  Public domain.

But to the leftists at the Oakland Museum, she's "an icon of American Black radical resistance, female empowerment, and a threat to the white patriarchal status quo."  The blood on her hands is washed away in the radical righteousness of her cause.

What's sad is that the Oakland Museum isn't an outlier.  Last month, the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage banned Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis.  A curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was fired for daring to say he would still consider art that White men created.  The Smithsonian engaged in blatant anti-White propaganda.  And the National Archives and Records Administration announced that its collection of core American documents is tainted by "structural racism."

I blame academia for all of this.  The taint of leftism that began in colleges in the 1910s with the Fabians, the 1930s with the Frankfurt School, and the 1950s with Soviet infiltration has seeped into everything.  Wherever college graduates have gone, the rot has followed — and museums are the preserve of the college-educated.

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