Herbert Aptheker – This Week’s Jewish American Heritage Profile

Herbert Aptheker was an American historian and political activist. He wrote more than 50 books, mostly in the fields of African-American history and general U.S. history, most notably, ‘American Negro Slave Revolts’ (1943), and the 7-volume Documentary History of the Negro People (1951–1994). Aptheker graduated from Columbia University in 1936, completed a master’s degree there in 1937 and a doctorate in history in 1943. Aptheker served in World War II as a Major in the artillery. In 1964, he founded the American Institute of Marxist Studies in New York. From 1969 to 1973, Aptheker taught a full-year course annually in Afro-American History at Bryn Mawr College. He was one of the first scholars to denounce American military involvement in Vietnam. His political views, and particularly a fact-finding trip to Hanoi and Beijing in 1966, resulted in threats by Washington to revoke his passport, a move that provoked a high-profile debate about the legality of State Department travel restrictions.