Among the Kansas “legends” that the Legends Outlets Kansas City currently celebrates on its website is one Frank Marshall Davis. Those who recognize the name and read the biography of Davis on the website will immediately understand that the Legends PR people do not have the faintest clue about Davis’s place in American history.
To be fair, this is less their fault than the fault of the media that have let the real Frank Marshall Davis slide under the proverbial radar.
Unknown to the folks at Legends, Davis had a major influence on the culture through his mentoring of one Barack Obama. Other than his parents, no individual in Obama’s memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” gets as much ink as “Frank.”
Davis, writes historian Paul Kengor, “surfaces repeatedly [in “Dreams”] from start to finish, from Hawaii to Los Angeles to Chicago to Germany to Kenya . . . from the 1970s to the 1980s to the 1990s.”
The Legends people apparently do not know this. They do not so much as mention Obama on Davis’s page. Nor obviously do they know much about Davis’s past.
“Here are the facts and they are indisputable,” writes Kengor. “Davis was a pro-Soviet, pro-Red China, card-carrying member of Communist Party (CPUSA). His Communist Party card number was 47544.”
Davis was something of a leftwing Renaissance Man. When not writing editorials denouncing the likes of Harry Truman and praising the Soviet Union, he had an active sideline in nude photography, which complemented his avocation as a pornographer.
In 1968, Davis chronicled his sexual adventures in a book titled “Sex Rebel: Black” under the pseudonym “Bob Greene.” If that were not enough, Davis had a hankering for underage sex partners, a hankering he claims to have fulfilled
If you overlook the pornography, pedophilia, and communism, Davis makes a worthy representative of the Legends. He was, after all, a Kansan by birth and a halfway decent writer.
The Legends PR people did not respond to our request for clarification.