We have few iconic couples from the 1960s and 1970s left. Sonny and Cher divorced and went their separate ways politically. Republican Congressman Sonny Bono died tragically in a skiing accident in 1998. Cher continues to perform by herself.
But not all was Laugh-In and flower power.
Today another famous couple, comrades-in-arms and former collaborators in Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Weatherman, and then Weather Underground — and now coauthors of the book Race Course Against White Supremacy — are bringing their show on the road.
I am talking about Bill Ayers, once-fugitive “peace activist,” whose photo of him defiling the American flag was used against his “pal” Barack Obama during the presidential campaign.
His wife, Bernardine Dohrn, praised mass murderer Charles Manson and was jailed for seven months for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigating the 1981 Brinks truck robbery by the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army that killed two policemen and a guard.
The peace and love couple, looking like the tenured professors of a postmodernist stripe that they are (earrings — on men — have replaced the love beads), are doing the book tour. Harlem is on their itinerary. They already visited a public library in Baltimore, a visit that, like Ayers’ other appearances, has drawn ire for his violent past and, conversely, a defense of his “free speech” rights, such as the one by the Baltimore Sun editorial board that claimed “[Ayers] is a distinguished education scholar, and he’s elevating the discourse about race relations in this country.”
The “discourse” about white oppression forms the incessant beat reverberating in the halls of academe, where Ayers and Dohrn now reside comfortably, and where those like me labor as furtive migratory workers for our refusal to admit this “truth” and explore it in our scholarship.
Ayers and Dohrn’s groups supported murderous black power groups like the Black Panthers — even though civil rights acts were being passed left and right. But for them, in 2009, racism still exists.