Fox News reports that Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., worked as a youth and assistant pastor of a church for a decade while it repeatedly hosted former New York City professor Leonard Jeffries, who was ousted over antisemitic and black supremacist teachings.
From 1991 to 2001, Warnock served as youth pastor for six years and then assistant pastor for four years under Rev. Calvin O. Butts at Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. From 1991 to 1998, Butts’ church hosted Jeffries as a speaker at least three times.
Leonard Jeffries is the uncle of far-Left election denier Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who is poised to succeed far-Left election denier Nancy Pelosi as the next Democrat leader in the House. The congressman said in 2013 that he remained close with his uncle but disagreed with his theories.
At the time of his first appearance at the Abyssinian church in 1991, Leonard Jeffries was embroiled in a legal battle to retain his position as the Black studies department chair at City University of New York (CUNY). He was ultimately removed from his position after a years-long dispute over racist and antisemitic remarks, including blaming Jewish people for the transatlantic slave trade and supporting Black supremacist ideals, like the theory that higher melanin levels make Black people inherently superior to White people.
Leonard spoke about the CUNY controversy during an October 1991 speech at Abyssinian Baptist Church after a student reporter with The Harvard Crimson alleged the professor had slammed the outlet as a “Jewish newspaper” during their interview, threatened the reporter’s life and had a bodyguard physically seize the audio recording of the interview, the New York Times reported at the time.
Leonard did not deny the reporter’s accusations.
Also in 1991, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) released a report on Leonard “and the Antisemitic Branch of the Afrocentrism Movement,” highlighting several of the now-former professor’s comments on white people and Jews.
The AJC report said Leonard “preaches Jew-hatred like a religion” and claimed he organized a 1990 conference for black teachers that featured black nationalist and antisemitic rhetoric and reading materials.
In July 1991, three months before his first Abyssinian speech, Leonard claimed the portrayal of black people in movies was “a conspiracy, planned and plotted and programmed out of Hollywood, where people called Greenberg and Weisberg and Trigliani and what not,” the AJC report said.
The report also noted Leonard’s racially-charged rhetoric “teaching that blacks are racially superior to whites” and his references to black people as “sun people” due to “more melanin in their skin than whites, whom he calls ‘ice people.’”
Jeffries appeared at the Abyssinian church again in February 1992, giving a speech about systemic racism and white-on-black crime after a white police officer was acquitted in the shooting death of black teenager Phillip Pannell. “Black people are under siege,” Jeffries was quoted as saying.
Abyssinian hosted Jeffries for a third time in July 1998, when he and his wife, Rosalind, performed the libation marking the passing of black historian John Hendrik Clarke.
In 2017, the left-leaning group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), dubbed Jeffries an “anti-Semitic” speaker in a report covering antisemitism on college campuses.
“Leonard Jeffries, the former head of the Black Studies Department at the City College of CUNY, and a professor there since 1972, has espoused racist and anti-Semitic views and theories since at least the early 1980s, when his comments – made while he was department head – began to attract public attention,” the ADL wrote.
“In the spring of 1988, a white student wrote an account in the student newspaper of his experiences in Jeffries’ class, Black Studies 101,” the ADL continued. “The student recounted numerous times when Jeffries constructed large parts of his class around anti-white arguments.”
The ADL also noted the 1990 New York Times article that “reported that in an April 1990 class on African heritage, Jeffries said that ‘rich Jews who financed the development of Europe also financed the slave trade,’ and that ‘the Jewish Holocaust is raised as the only Holocaust.’”
Leonard Jeffries’ rhetoric about Jewish people continued after his Harvard appearance as well. In 1994, he was quoted by The New York Times as comparing Jewish white people to “skunks” who “stunk up everything.” Prior to a February 2012 keynote speech in Chicago from notorious antisemitic preacher Louis Farrakhan, Leonard was quoted as saying during a discussion panel, “The evil genius of the Jewish community was to put together their powers to make business their religion and make it part of their culture.”
4 Known Connections
Jeffries’ black supremacist views first came to public notice in the spring of 1988, when a white student, writing in the CCNY campus newspaper, catalogued the host of anti-white theories that Jeffries routinely advanced in one of his classes, Black Studies 101. Jeffries had been teaching at CCNY since 1972, when he was tapped to head the Black Studies department and was almost instantly granted tenure, thanks in no small part to a CCNY administration determined to appease a surging militancy among blacks on campus. Jeffries had little or no standard peer-reviewed scholarship to his name at the time he was granted tenure — or, for that matter, since.
In April 1990, the New York Times reported that another Jeffries class, nominally about African heritage, would have been truer to its content had it been offered under title of “Anti-Jewish Conspiracies 101.” Grossly overstating the participation of Jews in the transatlantic slave trade, Jeffries taught that “rich Jews who financed the development of Europe also financed the slave trade.” In a similar vein, he railed against the notion that the murder of six million Jews during World War II deserved to be recognized as a uniquely horrific act of genocide, complaining to his students that “the Jewish Holocaust is raised as the only Holocaust.”
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