Below is an article from the Washington Post
regarding Harold Cruse.
Harold Cruse, 89, a captivating, sometimes
audacious voice in black social, political and artistic life
for five decades whose best-known work was the essay collection
"The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual,"
died March 25 at an assisted living facility in Ann Arbor,
Mich. He had congestive heart failure.
Mr. Cruse had been a student of the theater -- stagehand,
failed playwright -- an Army veteran, a Communist, an ex-Communist,
a teacher, an essayist and a polemicist. But overall, he saw
himself as a dissident who offered political critiques along
He used writing to explore issues of social justice and equality;
relationships between blacks and Jews (he resented the idea
that a great bond existed between the groups); and black literature
that appealed to mass, white audiences. He considered it farcical
that Lorraine Hansberry's play "A Raisin in the Sun"
would be considered a realistic portrait of working-class
He criticized notable figures of all races, from the Gershwins
for "stealing" Harlem jazz to black scholar Cornel
West, whose fondness for quoting European philosophers annoyed
A New Yorker reviewer was not far off when he wrote that "The
Crisis of the Negro Intellectual," published in 1967,
"will infuriate almost everyone." Viewed by some
as a brilliant rant and others as engaging but flawed, the
book established the author as a leading personality among
black thinkers of the day.
William Jelani Cobb, an assistant history professor at Spelman
College who edited "The Essential Harold Cruse,"
wrote that next to "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"
and Frantz Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth,"
Mr. Cruse's book was "required reading among Black Powerites."
Mr. Cruse held a dubious view of capitalism and its economic
influence over the working class and the media. But he also
believed that pragmatism was more influential in contemporary
life than the social and racial utopias promoted by American
Marxists and Communists.
Fascinated by the intersection of the arts and social change,
he slammed white pop and jazz musicians and composers who
"achieved status and recognition in the 1920s for music
that they literally stole outright from Harlem nightclubs."
He called for black performers and technicians to boycott
any future production of the Gershwin folk opera "Porgy
and Bess," which he considered "a symbol of that
deeply-ingrained American cultural paternalism practiced on
Negroes ever since the first Southern white man blacked his
Neither did he feel the Harlem Renaissance, the artistic movement
of the 1920s, was a success. It was integrationist in nature,
he said, and did not meet his standards for addressing black
Because of the book's notoriety, Mr. Cruse was invited to
lecture at the University of Michigan in 1968. Within a decade,
he had risen to full professor of history -- reportedly one
of the first blacks without a college degree to receive tenure
at a major university. In 1970, he helped found the university's
Center for Afroamerican and African Studies. He retired in
the mid-1980s as professor emeritus of history and African
Harold Wright Cruse was born in Petersburg, Va., on March
8, 1916, and was taken to New York by his father, who had
divorced his mother.
He was determined to be a writer, but he also developed a
lifelong appreciation for the arts through an aunt who took
him to black vaudeville shows on the weekends. Early on, he
did technical work at the YMCA theater in Harlem.
After Army service during World War II, he attended the George
Washington Carver School, a Harlem institution run by the
poet Gwendolyn Bennett, where he heard civil rights leader
W.E.B. Du Bois lecture. He regarded the school as "the
Communist Party's cultural base in Harlem."
He had a short stint writing for the Communist newspaper the
Daily Worker and failed in his attempts as a playwright in
the mold of Abram Hill, a founder of the American Negro Theater
whose plays "Hell's Half Acre" and "On Strivers
Row" he admired.
He visited Cuba in 1960 as part of a delegation of black intellectuals;
wrote for newspapers and magazines; and taught black history
for the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School, founded in Harlem
by the writer Amiri Baraka.
After retiring from Michigan, he wrote "Plural but Equal"
(1987), a book that was damning of the 1954 Brown v. Board
of Education decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed
racial segregation in public schools.
"As it was implemented in the South," he wrote,
"the Brown decision eliminated black teachers, black
principals, black administrators, a whole generation of experienced
administrative public school personnel made superfluous by
He concluded that "the progress of racial integration
as public policy can be seen as a process that has left the
majority of the black population stranded and stalled at the
edges of power while the inner sanctums were protected from
Survivors include his companion of 36 years, Mara Julius of
Ann Arbor, and two half-sisters.
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The 2005 Application Period
May 1 to May 31, 2005
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Saturday, April 30, 2005
starting at 9am for an Information
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The workshop will be held in
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Black Celebratory Program
I am writing to again request your participation in the
11th Annual Black Celebratory Program on April 30, 2005. Your
presence in the formal procession onto the stage of the Hill
Auditorium will make a vivid statement about the importance
of our students' accomplishments. In the past, some 2,000 students,
families, faculty, and staff have participated in this event.
We want this year's celebration, with its theme "The
Beautiful Struggle," to be equally memorable. The Black
Celebratory Planning Committee has selected Dr. Kenya Ayers
as this year's keynote speaker who is the Associate Vice Provost
for Academic Services at Kettering University and a U of M Alum.
As always, the Black Celebratory Program has been scheduled
after all other commencement exercises are completed so that
students can also attend the commencement ceremonies of their
schools and colleges. The celebratory will start at 7:30 p.m.,
but I am asking that you come to the upper level of Hill Auditorium
at 7:00 p.m. to line up for the processional.
Academic attire is appropriate for this occasion. I am making
a limited number of bachelor, master, and doctorate gowns available
for your use. Please contact Lisa Schulte at the Michigan Union
Bookstore in the basement of the Michigan Union for assistance.
Borrowed gowns can be returned to the Office of Academic Multicultural
Initiatives (3009 SAB Building) or left at Hill Auditorium after
I look forward to our collectively celebrating and honoring
the achievements of our students.
Please RSVP to Theda Gibbs
Matlock (email@example.com) at
936-1055 by Thursday March 31.
Your response by that date is important, as we would like
to list participating faculty and staff in this year's program
Read More About the Black Celebratory
LESTER P. MONTS
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Senior Counselor to
the President for the Arts, Diversity, and Undergraduate Affairs
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Music (Musicology)
NSF ADVANCE Project at the University of Michigan
invites you to attend the Network of Women Scientists and Engineers
The NSF ADVANCE Project at the University of
Michigan is a five-year, grant funded project promoting institutional
transformation in science and engineering fields. The goals
of this program are to improve recruitment and retention of
women faculty in science and engineering and to improve the
institutional climate. The UM ADVANCE Project is housed within
the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
Please join us for an evening of abundant conversation and
dining as we welcome spring and celebrate our accomplishments
from the past year. As always, we will hope to hear from everyone
about issues ADVANCE might be helping to address.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
6:30 p.m. hors doeuvres
7:00 p.m. dinner
La Piázza by Mediterrano
The Pomegranate Room
2900 South State Street
Please send the included postcard via campus mail to RSVP
or email your RSVP with meal choice to firstname.lastname@example.org by
April 14, 2005.
will attend ___ will not attend ___
Please select soup or salad and entrée choice:
__ Soup or __ Salad
__ Cumin, Ginger & Coriander Roast Game Hen
__ Moroccan Vegetable Cakes
__ Grilled North Atlantic Salmon
Please RSVP by April 14, 2005
Cynthia A. Hudgins
Program Manager, ADVANCE
204 South State Street
1136 Lane Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290