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A Step Away From Fascism and 'Toward a Brighter More Just Future': 100+ Black Writers and Scholars Endorse Bernie Sanders

"When so much is at stake, not only for Black people but for all people, and all life on the planet, we feel it imperative that we step outside of our classrooms and go beyond our campuses, to speak out on the current presidential election."

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) marches with supporters to early vote on February 27, 2020 at Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Sanders continues to seek support for the Democratic nomination ahead of Super Tuesday. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) marches with supporters to early vote on February 27, 2020 at Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Sanders continues to seek support for the Democratic nomination ahead of Super Tuesday. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

As South Carolina voters headed to the primary polls and just three days before Super Tuesday, more than 100 black academics, writers, and educators issued a joint letter on Saturday endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders as they argued the election of the next president  "will determine the future trajectory of this country and the world."

"We live in perilous but promising times. What we do or don't do in 2020 in the electoral arena, and beyond, will determine the future trajectory of this country and the world. We invite you to stand with us and support the Bernie Sanders campaign, as one step away from the precipice of fascism and toward a brighter more just future."

"A Sanders presidency would go a long way toward creating a safer and more just world," the endorsment letter states. "The commitment to free college education, the elimination of student debt which so many of our students suffer under, and the enfranchisement of incarcerated citizens, are only some of the reasons we have come to this conclusion."

The academics—including Princeton University's Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Temple University's Marc Lamont Hill, Harvard University's Elizabeth Hinton, and Darrick Hamilton of Ohio State University—also noted Sanders support of a commission to study reparations for slavery and heralded his "staunch commitment to the needs of poor and working people over the course of his career" as key reasons to back his candidacy. 

"In this crucible year of 2020, when so much is at stake, not only for Black people but for all people, and all life on the planet," the letter states, "we feel it imperative that we step outside of our classrooms and go beyond our campuses, to speak out on the current presidential election."

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"We invite you," it continued, "to stand with us and support the Bernie Sanders campaign, as one step away from the precipice of fascism and toward a brighter more just future."

The letter arrived as voters in South Carolina headed to the polls—a state with the largest population of black voters so far this primary season—and just three days before 14 states vote on Super Tuesday next week.

As Common Dreams reported Wednesday, the latest Reuters/Ipsos national poll showed Sanders leading the Democratic primary field among black voters, with 26% who said they support Sanders. That compared to 21% for Michael Bloomberg, 20% for Joe Biden, and 14% who said they were not sure.

Read the full letter and the list of signatories below:

We are Black scholars, writers and educators whose careers have been devoted to uncovering, analyzing, telling the stories, and uplifting the cultures of African Americans and peoples of the African Diaspora. We are also deeply invested in the freedom of our people and the subjects of our research. In this crucible year of 2020, when so much is at stake, not only for Black people but for all people, and all life on the planet, we feel it imperative that we step outside of our classrooms and go beyond our campuses, to speak out on the current presidential election.

After much research and reflection we have concluded that while imperfect, as we all are, Bernie Sanders, the politics he advocates, the consistent track record he demonstrates, and the powerful policy changes he has outlined, if elected, would make the most far-reaching and positive impact on the lives and condition of Black people, and all people in the United States. A Sanders presidency would go a long way toward creating a safer and more just world. The commitment to free college education, the elimination of student debt which so many of our students suffer under, and the enfranchisement of incarcerated citizens, are only some of the reasons we have come to this conclusion. His support of a commission to study reparations for slavery is another reason for our decision, as well as his staunch commitment to the needs of poor and working people over the course of his career.

At the same time we respect our friends and colleagues that have chosen the other progressive candidate in the race, Elizabeth Warren, and if she wins the primary, we will support her too. Still, we feel it is important to state flatly that we feel a Sanders campaign can win and a Sanders presidency would be a game changer for the people and communities of which we are a part.

While we are not all democratic socialists, we will not be red baited to reject and vilify Bernie Sanders' views. In fact there is a long and strong tradition of Black socialists in the United States and globally that have fought for racial and economic justice, from the great scholar and intellectual, W.E.B. DuBois to labor leader, A. Philip Randolph to legendary civil rights organizer, Ella Baker. So, we see Sanders’ commitment to challenging the ravages of racial capitalism as connected to an ongoing and ideologically diverse Black Freedom Movement.

We live in perilous but promising times. What we do or don't do in 2020 in the electoral arena, and beyond, will determine the future trajectory of this country and the world. We invite you to stand with us and support the Bernie Sanders campaign, as one step away from the precipice of fascism and toward a brighter more just future.

Note: Titles and institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and in no way reflect any institutional endorsement whatsoever. Signers are acting in their capacity as private citizens.

Beatrice J. Adams, Doctoral candidate, History, Rutgers Unviersity
Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd, J.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Rutgers University
Laylah Ali, Professor of Art, Williams College
Abdul Alkalimat, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sam Anderson, Center for the Advancement of Black Education
Herman L. Bennett, Professor of History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Carwil Bjork-James, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Professor, Sociology, Duke University
Carole Boyce Davies, Professor of English and Africana Studies, Cornell University
Lisa Brock, Associate Professor of History, Kalamazoo College
Elsa Barkley Brown, Associate Professor of History and Women's Studies, University of Maryland College Park
Nicole A. Burrowes, Assistant Professor, African and African Diaspora Studies Department, University of Texas, Austin
Linda E. Carty, Associate Professor, African American Studies, Syracuse University
Rosa Clemente, Professor, Independent Journalist, Producer
Matthew Countryman, Associate Professor, Departments of History and American Culture University of Michigan
Dana-Ain Davis, Professor, City University of New York
Michael Dawson, John D. MacArthur Professor of Political Science and the College, University of Chicago
Frank Deale, Professor of Law, City University of New York Law School
Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt, Ph.D. Student, Michigan State University
James Counts Early, Former Assistant Secretary for Education and Public Service Smithsonian Institution
Erica R. Edwards, Associate Professor of English, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Ashley D. Farmer Ph.D., Assistant Professor, History & African & African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas-Austin
Crystal N. Feimster, Professor, Yale University, African American Studies Department American Studies Program, History Department, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
Jonathan Fenderson, Assistant Professor of African & African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis and Associate Editor, The Black Scholar
Johanna Fernández, PhD, Department of History, Baruch College, City University of New York
Bill Fletcher Jr., Independent Scholar and Author, Executive Editor, Global African Worker
Tyrone Forman, Professor, African American Studies and Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago
Paul Foster, MPA, Emerita Clinical Co-ordinator, Harlem Physician Assistant Program, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, CCNY
Olubukola Gbadegesin, Associate Professor, African American Studies and Art History, Saint Louis University
Adom Getachew, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College, University of Chicago
Keedra Gibba, Teacher of History and Social Studies, Francis W. Parker School, Chicago
Dayo Gore, Professor, Ethnic Studies and Critical Gender Studies, University of California, San Diego
Cecilia A. Green, Associate Professor of Sociology, Syracuse University
Josh Guild, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies, Princeton University
Sarah Haley, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
Darrick Hamilton, Professor and Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University
Michael G. Hanchard, Gustave C. Kuemmerle Professor and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Diane Harriford, Professor, Department of Sociology, Vassar College
Cheryl I. Harris, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
Faye V. Harrison, Professor of African American Studies and Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Renee Camille Hatcher, Assistant Professor of Law, John Marshall, University of Illinois at Chicago
Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Professor and Thomas E. Lifka Chair in History, University of California, Los Angeles
Marc Lamont Hill, Professor and the Steve Charles Chair in Media, Cities and Solutions, College of Media and Education, Temple University
Elizabeth Hinton, Professor of History and African and African American Studies, Harvard University
Gerald Horne, Moores Professor of History and African American Studies, University of Houston
Zenzele Isoke, Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota
Lynette A. Jackson, Associate Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies and Black Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
Joy James, Ebenzer Fitch Professor of the Humanities, Williams College
Destin Jenkins, Assistant Professor of History, University of Chicago
Ryan Cecil Jobson, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Chicago
Cheryl Johnson-Odim, Ph.D., Provost Emerita and Professor of History, Dominican University, Illinois
Tracey Johnson, Ph.D. candidate, Rutgers University
Robin D.G. Kelley, Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History, University of California, Los Angeles
Ainsley LeSure, Assistant Professor of Politics, Black Studies Advisory Council, Occidental College
La TaSha Levy, Assistant Professor of American Ethnic Studies, University of Washington-Seattle
R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy, Associate Professor, New York University
Toussaint Losier, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts – Amherst
Sheldon Bernard Lyke, Assistant Professor at Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law
Minkah Makalani, Director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, University of Texas at Austin
Austin McCoy, Assistant Professor of History, Auburn University
Deborah E. McDowell, Alice Griffin Professor of English, Director, Carter G. Woodson Institute, University of Virginia
Erik S. McDuffie, Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mireille Miller-Young, Associate Professor, Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
Quincy T. Mills, Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland, College Park
Leith Mullings, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Emerita, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Donna Murch, Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University
Linda Rae Murray, M.D., MPH, Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago
Premilla Nadasen, Professor of History, Barnard College, and President of the National Women’s Studies Association (2018 -2020)
Celia E. Naylor, Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University
Rosemary Ndubuizu, Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Scholar, Washington, D.C.
Mark Anthony Neal, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, Duke University
Prexy Rozell Nesbitt, Presidential Fellow, Chapman University
Margo Okazawa-Rey, Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair, Mills College & Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University
James Padilioni, Jr, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion, Swarthmore College
Melina Pappademos, Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies, University of Connecticut
Kaneesha Cherelle Parsard, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, English, University of Chicago
Tianna S. Paschel, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Earl Picard, Independent Scholar, Atlanta, Georgia
Steven C. Pitts, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education
Sherie M. Randolph, Associate Professor of History, Georgia Institute of Technology
Barbara Ransby, Distinguished Professor, African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies and History, University of Illinois at Chicago
Ismail Rashid, Professor of History, Vassar College
Aisha Ray, Professor Emerita, Erikson Institute
Shana L. Redmond, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
Russell Rickford, Associate Professor of History, Cornell University
J. T. Roan, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, School of Transformation, Arizona State University
Francesca T. Royster, Professor, DePaul University
Tanya L. Saunders, Associate Professor, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida
Kesho Yvonne Scott, Professor Emerita, Grinnell College
Barbara Smith, Independent Scholar, Albany, New York
Lester Spence, Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Robyn C. Spencer, Associate Professor, Lehman College, City University of New York
David Stovall, Professor, Black Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
Stacey Sutton, Assistant Professor, Urban Planning & Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Assistant Professor, Department of African American Studies, Princeton University
Ula Y. Taylor, Professor of African American Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Alia R. Tyner-Mullings, Associate Professor, Sociology, Guttman Community College, City University of New York
Melissa M. Valle, Assistant Professor, Sociology and African American Studies, Rutgers University-Newark
Stephen Ward, Department of Afroamerican & African Studies (DAAS), Residential College, University of Michigan
Jakobi Williams, Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor, Indiana University
Naomi R. Williams, PhD, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University
Hazel Carby, Charles C & Dorathea S Dilley Professor of African American Studies & American Studies at Yale University.
George Yancy, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy, Emory University
Jasmine K. Syedullah, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Vassar College

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