Incoming Brooklyn Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, who set off a firestorm last week with a Facebook post that blamed some “knockout game” attacks on tensions between blacks and Jews, once invited a known race ranter to speak at her museum.
Former CUNY Black studies professor Leonard Jeffries was listed as a featured speaker for an “African Day” event in 2011 at the Brooklyn Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, or MoCADA, which she founded.
Jeffries, who once declared that Jews financed the slave trade, has long been a divisive figure in the city. In 1994 Jeffries compared Jews to “skunks – who stink up the place” and has referred to whites as “ice people,” among other hateful remarks.
Cumbo said that she doesn’t have a professional or personal relationship with Jeffries but invited him to speak about Ghana ahead of a trip there being organized by her museum.
“Dr. Leonard Jeffries is seen as a foremost authority on travel trip to Ghana and he goes on them annually, and the museum had never planned a travel trip,” she told The Post.
But it appears that she has embraced similar phrases to Jefferies recently. At a candidates forum in May before the Progressive Association Political Action Committee, she suggested there was too much “Eurocentric” economic development in her district and not enough diversity.
“I’ve witnessed firsthand in terms of building an African art museum in Brooklyn and seeing an entire cultural district being built around me all of a Eurocentric nature,” she said, according to a recording obtained by The Post. “There is a cultural district that’s being built that will have no representations of any other culture except that of a Europenan based one.”
Jeffries has criticized public schools for “Eurocentrism” and demanded more focus on African history and accomplishments of African Americans.
Cumbo told The Post that she was merely advocating for more funding for minority-owned businesses, not less for developments by whites.
Earlier this week Cumbo apologized “for any pain I have caused” in a Facebook post in which she said many black constituents told her they feel threatened by “Jewish landlords” trying to move them out of the community.
She said she was only trying “to bring our diverse communities closer together.”