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Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, ‘Isis Papers’ author, dies at 80

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, best known for her book “The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors” died in Washington D.C. of complications from a stroke early Saturday. She was 80.

The Washington Informer reported Welsing was taken to MedStar Washington Medical Center and was kept alive by ventilator until her passing.

Born in Chicago in 1935, Welsing came from a prominent family of physicians. She was educated at Antioch College in Ohio and Howard University College of Medicine. She went on to develop a career in general and child psychiatry. In 1970 she released an essay entitled: The Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy) in which she theorized a deficiency in melanin was the root of racism in Whites, which she called an “an uncontrollable sense of hostility and aggression” toward people of color.

In 1974, Welsing debated Dr. William Shockley who theorized that Blacks were genetically inferior on PBS’s “Tony Brown’s Journal,” debunking his notions and even comparing his theories to those of Nazi Germany. The debate pushed her into further notoriety in the Black consciousness circles of the day, and opened a dialogue on her theories of melanin and racial behavior.

In 1991, she published “The Isis Papers” which further outlined her arguments on White supremacy and how it had permeated society in many forms. She theorized that it comes from a White fear of genetic annihilation, which had been historically focused on Black males.

She wrote:

In the White supremacy mind-set, consciously or subconsciously, Black males must be destroyed in significant numbers -just as they were in earlier days when there was widespread open lynching and castration of Black males, or during the Tuskegee Syphilis Study from 1932 to 1972 when a large number of Black males were used and destroyed by Whites.

However Welsing’s theories posited in the book on White genetic inferiority met with criticism and were even derided as pseudoscientific. She was also criticized for suggesting homosexuality among Black males was imposed on them by White men to reduce the overall Black population.

But her overall study of racism focused on strengthening and nurturing of Black children and ensuring stable home foundations as a way to ultimately challenge a White supremacist structure. “We must revolutionize ourselves,” she said in a 1987 interview with Essence magazine. “Whether White people are consciously or subconsciously aware of it, they are behaving in a manner to ensure white genetic survival. We must know this truth. And the truth is the first step toward real strength.”