On July 13, George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, and new addition to UMBC’s history faculty, was a guest on “Tell Me More,” where he spoke with guest host Maria Hinojosa about the history of government investigations into African-American politicians.
Musgrove is the author of Rumor, Repression, and Racial Politics, and spoke of his investigations into the increasing numbers of legal investigations of black elected officials from the 1960s and 1970s onward, or what he calls “harassment ideology.”
“When I sat down to a study of post-Civil Rights Era black politics when I first entered graduate school, I was interested in figuring out what happened when all the marching stopped, what happened when black folks shifted from protests to politics. And as I was going through a bunch of records, I just kept finding black elected officials claiming that the government and the news media was out to get them, that there was literally a conspiracy to undermine black leadership,” he said.
“And so I wanted to look into it. I wanted to understand if, in fact, this was going on. But more than figure out whether or not there was a conspiracy or there was a pattern, I just wanted to figure out what it meant that black folks believed this, even if it wasn’t true. And so the book is a product of trying to answer those two questions.”