In 1995, an aspiring politician named Barack Obama published an autobiography called Dreams from My Father. There, Obama acknowledged the people who influenced him throughout his life. Among the most prominent influences was a figure that Obama gingerly acknowledged only as “Frank.” Remarkably, however, not once in the entire book did Obama divulge Frank’s full name. Even more mysterious, in 2005, a presidential aspirant named Barack Obama released the audio version of Dreams from My Father where, this time, “Frank” was purged altogether, as Jack Cashill called attention to in column on my book last July.
How did this happen? And who is “Frank?” The answer helps explains Obama’s concealment.
As readers of The Blaze know, Frank Marshall Davis (1905-87) was a mentor to a young Barack Obama throughout the 1970s, the period of Obama’s adolescence. Davis was also a literal card-carrying member of the Communist Party—Party number 47544. My book on Davis, The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor, was published this summer by Mercury Ink.
Davis edited and wrote for Party-line publications such as the Honolulu Record and the Chicago Star, which included contributors who served as actual agents to Stalin’s Soviet Union. Davis did outrageous Soviet propaganda work in his columns, at every juncture agitating and opposing U.S. attempts to slow Joseph Stalin. He argued that U.S. officials under President Harry Truman—who he portrayed as a racist, fascist, imperialist, and colonialist—and under secretaries of state George Marshall and Dean Acheson were handing West Germany back to the Nazis, while Stalin was pursuing “democracy” in East Germany and the Communist Bloc. He referred to the Marshall Plan as a form of “white imperialism” and “colonial slavery.” He portrayed America’s leaders as “aching for an excuse to launch a nuclear nightmare of mass murder and extermination” against the Soviets and communist Chinese. Davis also harbored a special contempt for Winston Churchill.
Davis’s political antics were so radical that the FBI placed him on the federal government’s Security Index, which meant he could be immediately detained in the event of a national emergency, such as a war breaking out between the United States and USSR.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone could see Davis as a mentor. And yet, in the autumn of 1970, Davis was introduced to Obama by Obama’s grandfather, who was seeking a role model/father figure to mentor his grandson. Davis and Obama would meet throughout the 1970s, right up until Obama left Hawaii for Occidental College in 1979. In fact, in Dreams from My Father, Obama notes the parting advice he got from Davis before leaving for Occidental; it was a classic Davis diatribe trashing “the American way.”
Given these shocking facts, it’s no surprise that Barack Obama was hesitant about divulging Frank Marshall Davis’s full name anywhere in his memoirs—even as Davis was such an influence that Obama could not ignore him. In Dreams from My Father, “Frank” is mentioned twenty-two times by name, and far more via pronouns and other forms of reference. He is a consistent theme, appearing repeatedly and meaningfully in all three parts of the book. He is part of Obama’s life and mind, by Obama’s own extended recounting, from Hawaii—the site of visits and late evenings together—to Los Angeles to Chicago to Germany to Africa, from adolescence to college to community organizing. “Frank” is always one of the few (and first) names mentioned by Obama in each mile-marker upon his historic path from Hawaii to Washington. When Obama at last arrived in Chicago, where he would find himself politically, professionally, and ideologically—precisely as Frank Marshall Davis had 50 years earlier—the first thing he did was think of “Frank,” literally visualizing him, picturing him there.
Even then, Obama was smart enough to never once use Frank’s full name anywhere in his book, no doubt understanding the political danger of conceding such a close, abiding association with a man of Frank’s political past and proclivity.
As Obama got closer to the presidency, particularly during his meteoric rise upon the national scene from 2004 to 2007, he sought even safer distance from “Frank.” This is most evident in the 2005 audio version of Dreams, which is narrated by Obama himself, and for which Obama won a Grammy for “Best Spoken Word.” As noted on the back cover, the audio version was personally “approved” by Obama himself. The audio version is abridged, but the abridgment somehow excludes every single mention of “Frank” that appeared throughout all parts of the original print edition. That’s right, all of them; they’re all gone. The old communist is purged, blacklisted.
This was no easy task. It isn’t like “Frank” appeared in a cluster of, say, six or seven consecutive pages in Part One of the original version. No, Davis, as noted, appeared in every section of the original. Here’s one example of the selective exclusion of “Frank” in the audio version:
Original text version (1995): “It was the same dilemma that old Frank had posed to me the year I left Hawaii.”
Audio version (2005): “It was the same dilemma posed to me the year I left Hawaii.”
So, how did this happen? Obviously, it’s no coincidence.
I’d love to hear President Obama’s explanation. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of access. But there are people in the media who do. Could one of them ask the president? Or, more generally, could one of them simply ask about Obama’s relationship with Frank Marshall Davis, or about the many other elements of his cloudy past?
Barack Obama has covered up these relationships, and his doting media is aiding and abetting the cover up.
Dr. Paul Kengor is author of The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor. Read more about the absence of “Frank” in the audio version of Dreams From My Father in a Blaze report by Tiffany Gabbay.