full professor

Tony Martin (professor)

Tony Martin (born 1942) was an American professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley College who retired in June 2007 as professor emeritus (a status the college confers automatically on all retiring professors) after 34 years of distinguished service to the Africana Studies Department where he was a founding member. A lecturer and prolific author of scholarly articles about Black History, primarily the Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey, his written works and statements about the involvement and responsibility of Jews in the American slave trade, which echo allegations made by the Nation of Islam, have been a source of ongoing controversy.

Academic appointment and credentials

Martin received a B.Sc. honours degree in economics at the University of Hull (England) and an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Michigan State University.

Martin began his teaching career at the University of Michigan-Flint, the Cipriani Labour College (Trinidad) and St. Mary's College (Trinidad). He began teaching at Wellesley in 1973, became tenured in 1975, and became a full professor in 1979.

He is also a barrister-at-law from Gray's Inn, London.

Dr. Martin is a prolific author of scholarly articles on many aspects of Black History and has lectured all over the world.,. He has received awards and honors from the American Philosophical Society, the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations and many others.

Incident in 1991

In 1991, a Wellesley student, Michelle Plantec, on hall duty, claimed that she saw Martin wandering in a female dorm in a restricted area, in violation of a rule requiring male guests to be escorted. When she asked him about his escort, Martin, she claims, "responded using profanity, accused her of racism and bigotry, and positioned himself so as to physically intimidate her.". Martin, denied all these claims, in spite of 14 documented witnesses to the attack, and declared that a group of women "accosted him rudely, despite circumstances that in his view made the legitimacy of his presence obvious".

This incident prompted Counterpoint, a joint MIT-Wellesley student publication, to ask student Avik Roy to write a "retrospective chronicling the controversy surrounding Martin since his arrival as associate professor in 1973". According to Roy, the sense among the staff was he would be less biased, since he was an MIT student.

Libel suit

The article by MIT student Roy alleged that Martin "gained tenure within the Africana Studies department only after successfully suing the college for racial discrimination," and that this explained a reluctance on the part of the College to censure Martin. Martin sued Roy for libel, and a Massachusetts Superior Court Judge found that a lawsuit by Martin against Wellesley had in fact occurred, but "well after his tenure, and thus could not have caused it." The suit in question was filed in 1987 alleging racial discrimination over a merit increase. Judge Judith Fabricant dismissed the libel suit, finding that the statement in question was "partly false, but substantially true," and inaccurate in its "implication of timing and causation." The judge agreed that Roy's conclusion, "that fear of litigation would cause Wellesley to exercise 'particular restraint' when dealing with Martin, 'follows at least as strongly from the actual facts as it would from the erroneous version.'"

In the end, the judge ruled that Martin did not meet his burden of proof on 4 out of 5 necessary components for proving libel


Marcus Garvey

One of Martin's earliest works is Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association, published in 1976.

He has also written a number of other books about Garvey, including Marcus Garvey Hero: A First Biography, African Fundamentalism : A Literary and Cultural Anthology of Garvey's Harlem Renaissance, Literary Garveyism: Garvey, Black Arts and the Harlem Renaissance, The Poetical Works of Marcus Garvey, and The Pan- African Connection: From Slavery to Garvey and Beyond.

He co-authored, with Wendy Ball, Rare Afro-Americana: A Reconstruction of the Adger Library


Wellesley course controvery

Martin received national media attention in 1993 as a result of his inclusion of the 1991 Nation of Islam book The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews. in the course materials for his class on African-American History.. Selwyn Cudjoe, the scholar who chairs Martin's own Africana Studies Department at Wellesley, called this work "patently and scurrilously anti-Semitic.

NPR, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Associated Press among others, covered the controversial choice.

In Martin's view,

"In January 1993, I was minding my own business and teaching my Wellesley College survey course on African American History when a funny thing happened. The long arm of Jewish intolerance reached into my classroom. Unknown to me, three student officers of the Jewish Hillel organization (campus B'nai B'rith stablemates of the Anti-Defamation League), sat in on my class and remained for a single period only. Their purpose was to monitor my presentation...The book documents the considerable Jewish involvement in the transatlantic African slave trade, the dissemination of which knowledge they, as Jews, considered an "anti-Semitic" and most "hateful" act. .

Organizations were upset by the use of these materials, which assert that Jews had a disproportionately large role in the Atlantic slave trade.

Martin and Gates

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Chair of the African and African American Studies Department and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, was critical of Martin's work, leading Martin to describe him as "Brer Gates," and to call him
"the most pristine example we have in the world today of a classic HNIC...Whenever the other folks have wanted anybody to beat the rest of the race over the head with, Brer Gates has been on the scene, like an HNIC machine. They gave him an unprecedented full page op-ed in the New York Times to attack the Nation of Islam's Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews. This op-ed was actually typeset in the shape of a Star of David. There is no evidence that Gates even read the book, but he pulled together some platitudes attacking it anyway.

The Jewish Onslaught

Martin published The Jewish Onslaught: Despatches from the Wellesley Battlefront (The Majority Press) in 1993. He states this was in response to attempts by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, American Jewish Committee, Wellesley Hillel, and other Jewish organizations to have him fired from his tenured position at Wellesley College.

Martin's response, The Jewish Onslaught, placed the attacks against him in the context of Black-Jewish relations during the Civil Rights era and throughout history. It was praised by a number of reviewers. Dr. Molefi Asante of Temple University called the book the best polemic by an African since the 1829 classic, David Walker's Appeal. Dr. Raymond Winbush of Vanderbilt University compared it to W.E.B. DuBois' Souls of Black Folk The Jewish scholar Steve Bloom wrote that "Martin shows that he has been the victim of a vicious slander campaign by those who use a Jewish identity demagogically....

However, the Chair of Martin's department at Wellesley, Professor Selwyn R. Cudjoe, labelled Martin's book "Gangsta history, meant to demean and to defame others and to bring them into disrepute, rather than to enlighten and to lead us to a more complex and sophisticated understanding of social phenomena. It ought to be labeled anti-Semitic." The majority of the Wellesley faculty signed a statement condemning Martin's work as "for its racial and ethnic stereotyping and for its anti-Semitism."

The American Historical Association, America's largest historical society, founded in 1884, issued a statement condemning the accuracy and tone of Martin's work: "The AHA deplores any misuse of history that distorts the historical record to demonize or demean a particular racial, ethnic, or cultural group. The Association therefore condemns as false any statement alleging that Jews played a disproportionate role in the exploitation of slave labor or in the Atlantic slave trade." Martin was also criticized in a statement by the President of Wellesley College.

Martin and Holocaust Denial

Martin took part in historical revisionist David Irving's Cincinnati "Real History Conference 2001", giving a lecture entitled "The Judaic Role in the Black Slave Trade.

Martin also served as a witness for German Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel in front of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. When interviewed by Ashahed M. Muhammad (author of "The Synagogue of Satan", a book that claims that Jews are agents of Satan), for his Revisionist "Truth Establishment Institute, Martin noted, "I read the materials they sent me from his website, including a pamphlet (I think the title was something like, "Did Six Million Really Die?" which he had apparently republished, if I remember right. I stated in my brief to the tribunal that I had never studied the Jewish holocaust and had no basis for an opinion one way or another on the numbers involved. But the pamphlet seemed to me to fall within the normal range of scholarly revisionism. I pointed out that revisionism is at the very core of the historical profession and it seemed unwise to persecute people for differing historical analysis. The pamphlet asserts that the Holocaust never occurred.



  • Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association, 1976, 421 pages. (ISBN 0-912469-23-4)
  • Marcus Garvey Hero: A First Biography (ISBN 978-0912469058)
  • African Fundamentalism : A Literary and Cultural Anthology of Garvey's Harlem Renaissance (ISBN 978-0912469096)
  • Literary Garveyism: Garvey, Black Arts and the Harlem (ISBN 978-0912469010)
  • The Poetical Works of Marcus Garvey (compiled and edited)
  • The Pan-African Connection: From Slavery to Garvey and Beyond (ISBN 978-0912469119)
  • In Nobody's Backyard : The Grenada Revolution in Its Own Words, edited by Tony Martin with Dessima Williams.
  • The Jewish Onslaught : Dispatches from the Wellesley Battlefront, (ISBN 978-0912469300)

External links

  • Tony Martin's personal website: http://www.tonymartin.net.tt,
  • http://www.marquiswhoswho.net/tonymartin/,
  • http://www.blacksandjews.com/TMartin_Broadsides.html#anchor243613

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