You can’t always believe what you see in films and television programs ostensibly “based on true stories.” That noted, let’s take a look at one of the most audacious lies — subtle political propaganda — perpetrated by one of the most popular dramas on television today: HBO’s show“Boardwalk Empire” (BE).
Loosely based on the life and crimes of corrupt Roaring 1920s-era Atlantic City political boss Enoch Johnson — called “Thompson” on the program, now in its fifth season — the epic and fascinating tale is populated with a host of real-name figures who ruled the underworld of their day: eminent Jewish mobsters such as Arnold Rothstein, his protegé, Meyer Lansky — who rose to become “chairman of the board” of the crime syndicate — and their Italian-American cronies such as “Lucky” Luciano and Al Capone.
However, one of the most patently untrue characterizations is that of an oily, over-the-top Harlem pimp and heroin peddler, one “Valentin Narcisse,” who postures publicly as a religious figure and a voice of self-help for Americans of African slave descent, associated with the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA),which he uses as a front for his criminal ventures.
Now, Narcisse is a fictional name but critics have noted the character is clearly modeled on W.E.B. DuBois, one of the leading black intellectuals of the 20th century. And while neither DuBois nor the UNIA, which did exist, were involved in drug dealing or prostitution, the viewer is left with that impression. The truth is that DuBois and Marcus Garvey, leader of the UNIA and its famed “Back to Africa” movement, were, in the end, bitter rivals.
So BE is devilishly smearing DuBois and Garvey. No actor portraying Garvey has appeared on the show, but Garvey and the UNIA were regularly mentioned.
Why would Hollywood smear DuBois? After all, DuBois was a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) — although he eventually broke with the NAACP, viewing it as a front for other forces — and a man generally painted as a “leftist,” despite the fact he fought bitterly with the Communist Party USA.
Part of the answer can be found in Andrew Nagorski’s book, Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power, which features essays by Americans who visited Germany during the 1930s. One provocative commentary was penned by DuBois in which he remarked that during his visit to the Third Reich, “I have been treated with uniform courtesy and consideration.”
DuBois described attending the opera, eating in fine restaurants and having cordial meetings with German academics and others fully in accord with the Hitler regime. And while DuBois did criticize Germany for its efforts to curtail Jewish power, he said that under the Nazis there was “in some respects, more democracy in Germany than there has been in years past.” At the time, Jews blasted DuBois for his even-handed reportage.
In the post-war years, not surprisingly, DuBois ran afoul of the rising force today known as “neoconservatism.” These internationalist elements — rising from the ranks of Jewish followers of Leon Trotsky — were pushing for war against Stalin-ruled Russia and pressing for U.S. military adventurism and imperialism abroad, during the time the CIA and Israel’s Mossad were seeking to dominate former European colonies in Africa and terminating nationalist leaders who opposed them.
All told, it appears, the rulers of Hollywood have decided independent-minded black voices of the DuBois-Garvey stripe — black nationalists — need to be marginalized.
There’s much more to black nationalism than the major media is telling you. True black nationalists seek racial national identity, as opposed to multiculturalism. Basically, black nationalism desires unity and self-determination for blacks — not dependence upon and integration into a white liberal welfare state society.