Certainly one can't visit the sins of the father on the son. But as Mr. Kaufman notes, "Recalling these foundations becomes all the more relevant in the wake of the racially charged proclamations of Donald Trump, who last year announced, “My legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy.” So, how much of that legacy is part of what Donald Trump proudly considers his own becomes a question not without reason to ask.
In the article here, well-worth reading in its entirety, Professor Kaurman lays out in detail some of Fred Trump's history of racism, including owning white-only properties, and also bilking the federal government from FHA loans and subsidies for urban housing by overestimating his property by $3.7 million. (Keeping in mind that this was in the post-war years, that value today is probably around $40 million. And was clearly part of the foundation of the Trump family fortune.)
One of the most interesting part of the article is previously unpublished writings by Woody Guthrie which Will Kaufman came across at the Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
For Guthrie, Fred Trump came to personify all the viciousness of the racist codes that continued to put decent housing – both public and private – out of reach for so many of his fellow citizens:
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
he stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line
Here at his
Eighteen hundred family project ....
And as if to leave no doubt over Trump’s personal culpability in perpetuating black Americans’ status as internal refugees – strangers in their own strange land – Guthrie reworked his signature Dust Bowl ballad “I Ain’t Got No Home” into a blistering broadside against his landlord:
Beach Haven ain't my home!
I just cain't pay this rent!
My money's down the drain!
And my soul is badly bent!
Beach Haven looks like heaven
Where no black ones come to roam!
No, no, no! Old Man Trump!
Old Beach Haven ain't my home!