1965 April 21

Ohio State Bans Marxist Speaker, Herbert Aptheker

 

Ohio State University on this day banned the speaking engagement of Historian Herbert Aptheker, a Marxist. Aptheker appeared on campus a month later and stood silently as other people read from his works. After the event, he left the campus quickly after death threats were made. Ohio State created its speaker ban on September 4, 1951.

Aptheker was a pioneering scholar of African-American history who, in 1943, published the first comprehensive history of slave revolts, American Negro Slave Revolts. He wrote or edited 50 books in his long career, including the 7-Volume Documentary History of the Negro People (1951-1994).

Aptheker was also banned from speaking at the University of North Carolina, and on March 9, 1966, he and Frank Wilkinson stood just outside the campus and spoke to about 1,000 students who were on the other side of a low wall that marked the boundary of the campus.

Read Aptheker’s groundbreaking work: Herbert Aptheker: American Negro Slave Revolts (1943)

Read his daughter’s memoirs: Bettina Aptheker, Intimate Politics (2006)

See Herbert Aptheker speaking at UCLA in 1970https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeHjmapYBsM

Read an oral history of Jeff Schwartz about the Ohio State speaker ban here.

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