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Theodore W. Allen There Were No "White" People There Early 17th Century Virginia Presentation by Jeffrey B. Perry



Theodore W. Allen
– There Were No "White" People There –
Early 17th Century Virginia
Presentation by Jeffrey B. Perry


Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) pioneered his “white skin privilege” analysis in 1965, wrote the ground-breaking “Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race” in 1974/1975, and wrote the seminal two-volume "The Invention of the White Race" in 1994 and 1997 (since reprinted in new expanded form in 2012 by Verso Books).

His "The Invention of the White Race," with its focus on racial oppression and social control, is one of the twentieth-century's major contributions to historical understanding. This two-volume classic (Vol. 1: "Racial Oppression and Social Control" and Vol. 2: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America") details how the "white race" was invented as a ruling-class social control formation and a system of racial oppression was imposed in response to labor solidarity in the wake of Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77), how the "white race" was created and maintained through "white race" privileges conferred on laboring class European-Americans relative to African-Americans, how these privileges were not in the interest of African-Americans or laboring class European-Americans, and how the "white race" has been the principal historic guarantor of ruling-class domination Theodore W. Allen – There Were No White People There – In Early 17th Century Virginia in America.

This brief video elaborates on Allen’s point that "When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no 'white' people there; nor, according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years." As he subsequently explained, “Others living in the colony at that time were English; they had been English when they left England, and naturally they and their Virginia-born children were English, they were not ‘white.’” “White” identity had to be carefully taught, and it would be another sixty years before the word “would appear as a synonym for European-American.”

For a longer Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” at the Brecht Forum in New York City on January 31, 2013, Click Here

The article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy” by Jeffrey B. Perry offers the fullest treatment of the development of his thought and discusses this subject. See the article at Click Here

For information on Theodore W. Allen Click Here and Click Here
For information on Jeffrey B. Perry Click Here
This segment was videoed on August 16, 2014, by Fred Nguyen of Fan Smiles.

There we no "white" people there, 1619


On the back cover of the 1994 first edition of The Invention of the White Race Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control, author Theodore W. Allen writes, “When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no ‘white’ people there; nor according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years.” He based this statement on the fact that, after twenty-plus years of meticulous research and examination of 885 county-years of pattern-setting Virginia’s colonial records, he found “no instance of the official use of the word ‘white’ as a token of social status” prior to 1691.

There we no "white" people there, 1640


The men who ran away with John Punch (Barack Obama's ancestor) in 1640
were "Victor, a [D]utchman" and "a Scotchman called James Gregory"

The Journal of the Executive Council of Colonial Virginia dated 9 July 1640 discusses the case of John Punch, President Barack Obama's ancestor. It is the only known account of the case and it reads as follows:

"Whereas Hugh Gwyn hath by order from this Board brought back from Maryland three servants formerly run away from the said Gwyn, the court doth therefore order that the said three servants shall receive the punishment of whipping and to have thirty stripes apiece one called Victor, a [D]utchman, the other a Scotchman called James Gregory, shall first serve out their times with their master according to their Indentures and one whole year apiece after the time of their service is Expired ... the third being a Negro named John Punch shall serve his said master and his assigns for the time of his natural Life here or elsewhere."

In this 1640 document the two servants captured with John Punch are described as "a [D]utchman” and “a Scotchman." They were not described as "white." The “white race” was not functioning in early Virginia.

There we no "white" people there, 1676-77


From Captain Thomas Grantham's Account


During Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77) Captain Thomas Grantham played a decisive role in bringing about the final defeat of the rebels. He procured the treachery of a new rebel general to help him in securing the surrender of the West Point (Virginia) garrison of three hundred men in arms. Then Grantham tackled the main stronghold of the rebels, which was three miles up country. In Grantham's own words:

" I there met about four hundred English and Negroes in Arms who were much dissatisfied at the Surrender of the Point, saying I had betrayed them, and thereupon some were for shooting me and others were for cutting me in peeces: I told them I would willingly surrender myselfe to them, till they were satisfied from His Majestie, and did engage to the Negroes and Servants, that they were all pardoned and freed from their Slavery: And with faire promises and Rundletts of Brandy, I pacified them, giving them severall Noates under my hand that what I did was by the order of his Majestie and the Governor....Most of them I persuaded to goe to their Homes, which accordingnly they did, except about eighty Negroes and twenty English which would not deliver their Armes."

Grantham tricked these one hundred men on board a sloop with the promise of taking them to a rebel fort a few miles down York River. Instead, however, he towed them behind his own sloop, brought them under the guns of another ship, and forced their surrender. In his account of the incident he wrote that the rebels "yeilded with a great deal of discontent, saying had they known my purpose they would have destroyed me."

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Work Place Organizing Against White Supremacy Influenced by Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen



Work Place Organizing Against White Supremacy
Influenced by Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen


In this interview segment Jeffrey B. Perry discusses organizing work among postal workers that was influenced by insights from two former postal workers and two of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers on race and class – Hubert Harrison (1883-1927) and Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005)

Background on the important work of Harrison and Allen can be found in the article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy” by Jeffrey B. Perry can be found Here (at top left) or Here

For information on Hubert Harrison Click Here and Click Here, Click Here , and
Click Here .

For a video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on “Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism” at the Dudley Public Library in Roxbury, Mass.
Click Here

For a briefer video see Hubert Harrison: “The Father of Harlem Radicalism” – A Brief Introduction – Video Presentation by Jeffrey B. Perry at Click Here

For information on Theodore W. Allen Click Here and Click Here

For A Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” at the Brecht Forum in New York City Click Here

For information on Jeffrey B. Perry Click Here

This video is drawn from Jeffrey B. Perry Discusses Theodore W. Allen on "The Invention of the White Race," Labor History, and the Centrality of Labor Struggle Against White Supremacy in Excerpts from an interview conducted with Caeser Pink and staff of Arete Living Arts Center (Brooklyn, NY) on Saturday, June 8, 2013, at the Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA) National Conference, at Brooklyn - CUNY Center for Worker Education, 25 Broadway, 7th floor, New York, NY, 10004
Available Here
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Theodore W. Allen on Two Main Ideological Props of White Supremacy Among Euro-American Workers




Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) pioneered his “white skin privilege” analysis in 1965, co-authored "White Blindspot" in 1967 and authored the accompanying “Can White Workers/Radicals Be Radicalized?’” in 1969, wrote the ground-breaking Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race in 1974/1975, wrote the seminal two-volume The Invention of the White Race in 1994 and 1997 (since reprinted in new expanded form in 2012 by Verso Books) , and authored a number of other extremely important published and unpublished pieces.

Allen's The Invention of the White Race, with its focus on racial oppression and social control, is one of the twentieth-century's major contributions to historical understanding. This two-volume classic (Vol. 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control and Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America) details how the "white race" was invented as a ruling-class social control formation and a system of racial oppression was imposed in response to labor solidarity in the wake of Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77), how the "white race" was created and maintained through "white race" privileges conferred on laboring class European-Americans relative to African-Americans, how these privileges were not in the interest of African-Americans or laboring class European-Americans, and how the "white race" has been the principal historic guarantor of ruling-class domination in America.

This brief video discusses how Allen’s work challenges two main ideological props of white supremacy among European-American workers -- the argument that "racism is innate" and the argument that European-American workers "benefit" from white supremacism and "white" privileges (Allen argues that the race privileges are a "poison bait," like a shot of heroin, and that the race privileges are ruinous to the interests of African Americans and of European-American workers).

As he argues –
“An Injury to One is an Injury to All!"
"Solidarity Forever, Means Privileges Never!"


The article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy” by Jeffrey B. Perry offers the fullest treatment of the development of his thought and discusses this subject. For the article Click Here (at top left) or Click Here

For a longer Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race at the Brecht Forum in New York City on January 31, 2013, see Click Here

For information on Theodore W. Allen Click Here and Click Here

For information on Jeffrey B. Perry Click Here

This segment was videoed on January 31, 2013, by Fred Nguyen of Fan Smiles.
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Theodore W. Allen Theses on “The Invention of the White Race” and Lessons from Three Crises Presentation by Jeffrey B. Perry




Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) pioneered his “white skin privilege” analysis in 1965, co-authored White Blindspot in 1967 and authored the accompanying “Can White Workers Radicals Be Radicalized?’” in 1969, wrote the ground-breaking Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race in 1974/1975, wrote the seminal two-volume The Invention of the White Race in 1994 and 1997, and authored a number of other extremely important published and unpublished pieces.

His "The Invention of the White Race," with its focus on racial oppression and social control, is one of the twentieth-century's major contributions to historical understanding. This two-volume classic (Vol. 1: "Racial Oppression and Social Control" and Vol. 2: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America") details how the "white race" was invented as a ruling-class social control formation and a system of racial oppression was imposed in response to labor solidarity in the wake of Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77), how the "white race" was created and maintained through "white race" privileges conferred on laboring class European-Americans relative to African-Americans, how these privileges were not in the interest of African-Americans or laboring class European-Americans, and how the "white race" has been the principal historic guarantor of ruling-class domination in America.

This brief video presents three of Allen’s theses related to the invention of the “white race” and his important analysis of the white supremacy’s role in beating back struggles from below in three great crises in U.S. history.

The article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy” by Jeffrey B. Perry offers the fullest treatment of the development of his thought. Click Here (at top left) or Click Here

For A Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” at the Brecht Forum in New York City Click Here

For information on Theodore W. Allen Click Here and Click Here

For information on Jeffrey B. Perry Click Here
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Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" Slide Presentation/Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry The Commons, Brooklyn December 10, 2014, 7:30 PM

Brooklyn-based Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race, with its focus on racial oppression and social control, is one of the twentieth-century’s major contributions to historical understanding. This two-volume classic, first published in 1994 and 1997, presents a full-scale challenge to what Allen refers to as “The Great White Assumption” – “the unquestioning, indeed unthinking acceptance of the ‘white’ identity of European-Americans of all classes as a natural attribute rather than a social construct.” Its thesis on the origin and nature of the “white race” contains the root of a new and radical approach to United States history, one that challenges master narratives taught in the media and in schools, colleges, and universities. With its equalitarian motif and emphasis on class struggle it speaks to people today who strive for change worldwide. Its influence on our understanding of American, African American, and labor history will continue to grow in the twenty-first century.

Allen pioneered his "white skin privilege" analysis in the 1960s, authored Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, in 1975, and authored the two-volume The Invention of the White Race (1994, 1997; Verso Books: New Expanded Edition, 2012).

Jeffrey B. Perry authored Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 (Columbia University Press, 2008); contributed new front and back matter to the new edition of Allen's The Invention of the White Race; and authored "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy" (Cultural Logic, 2010)

People may be interested in the following links --

Jeffrey B. Perry, "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy"

A video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison

A video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race

For information on Hubert Harrison --
CLICK HERE for reviews of "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918"
and CLICK HERE for information on "A Hubert Harrison Reader"
and CLICK HERE for writings, audio, and video abour Hubert Harrison

For information on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" (Verso Books) CLICK HERE

For additional writings by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For key insights from Theodore W. Allen on U.S. Labor History CLICK HERE
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The Invention of The White Race by Theodore W. Allen Special 50% Off Free Shipping and Bundled E-Book

The Invention of
The White Race

by Theodore W. Allen
Special 50% Off
Free Shipping and Bundled E-Book
New Expanded Edition
Essential for Understanding "Race and Class" in the U.S.
A Wonderful Gift


Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race, with its focus on racial oppression and social control, is one of the twentieth-century’s major contributions to historical understanding. This two-volume classic, first published in 1994 and 1997, presents a full-scale challenge to what Allen refers to as “The Great White Assumption” – “the unquestioning, indeed unthinking acceptance of the ‘white’ identity of European-Americans of all classes as a natural attribute rather than a social construct.” Its thesis on the origin and nature of the “white race” contains the root of a new and radical approach to United States history, one that challenges master narratives taught in the media and in schools, colleges, and universities. With its equalitarian motif and emphasis on class struggle it speaks to people today who strive for change worldwide. Its influence on our understanding of American, African American, and labor history will continue to grow in the twenty-first century.

Readers of the first edition of The Invention of the White Race were startled by Allen’s bold assertion on the back cover: “When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no ‘white’ people there; nor, according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years.” That statement, based on twenty-plus years of research of Virginia’s colonial records, reflected the fact that Allen found “no instance of the official use of the word ‘white’ as a token of social status” prior to its appearance in a Virginia law passed in 1691. As he later explained, “Others living in the colony at that time were English; they had been English when they left England, and naturally they and their Virginia-born children were English, they were not ‘white.’ White identity had to be carefully taught, and it would be only after the passage of some six crucial decades” that the word “would appear as a synonym for European-American.”

Allen was not merely speaking of word usage, however. His probing research led him to conclude – based on the commonality of experience and demonstrated solidarity between African-American and European-American laboring people, the lack of a substantial intermediate buffer social control stratum, and the indeterminate status of African-Americans – that the “white race” was not, and could not have been, functioning in early Virginia.

It is in the context of such findings that he offers his major thesis -- the “white race” was invented as a ruling class social control formation in response to labor solidarity as manifested in the later, civil war stages of Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77). To this he adds two important corollaries: 1) the ruling elite, in its own class interest, deliberately instituted a system of racial privileges to define and maintain the “white race” and 2) the consequences were not only ruinous to the interests of African-Americans, they were also “disastrous” for European-American workers, whose class interests differed fundamentally from those of the ruling elite.

In developing these theses Allen challenges the two main ideological props of white supremacy – the notion that “racism” is innate, and it is therefore useless to struggle against it, and the argument that European-American workers benefit from “white race” privileges and that it is in their interest not to oppose them and not to oppose white supremacy.

In an effort to assist readers and to encourage meaningful engagement with Allen’s work this new edition of The Invention Of the White Race includes new introductions, appendices, internal study guides, and expanded indexes.

For reader's comments, an introduction, the Verso Books discount offer, and a link to Volume 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control CLICK HERE

For reader's comments, an introduction, the Verso Books discount offer, and a link to Volume 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America CLICK HERE

For further information on the work of Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For an in-depth discussion of Allen's work see Jeffrey B. Perry, “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy” at the top left HERE and also at "Cultural Logic" HERE

For a video of a slide presentation/talk on Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” by Jeffrey B. Perry see



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This Video on The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen Just Passed the 30,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube Allen's Work is of Great Importance




This Video on The Invention of the White Race
by Theodore W. Allen
Just Passed the 30,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube


The slide presentation/talk opens with some insights from Hubert Harrison, “The Father of Harlem Radicalism.” Harrison and Allen are two of the most important writers and thinkers on "race" and class in the twentieth century and people are strongly encouraged to view and share this video and to discuss their work with others.

For information on Vol. II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books CLICK HERE
For information on Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control" (including comments from scholars and activists) published by Verso Books CLICK HERE
For articles, audios, and videos by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For comments from scholars and activists on "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE
For the Columbia University Press webpage on Hubert Harrison see CLICK HERE
For a video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE
For articles, audios, and videos by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

The article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” by Jeffrey B. Perry, HERE discusses their work in detail.
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Re: Naomi Zack “What ‘White’ Privilege Really Means” from “New York Times” by Jeffrey B. Perry Drawing on Work of Theodore W. Allen

Re: “What ‘White’ Privilege Really Means” – a Naomi Zack interview by George Yancy in the November 5, 2014, “New York Times” online "Opinionator" column “The Stone.”

On the subject of “white privilege” I encourage people to read the work of Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) who pioneered his "white skin privilege" analysis in the 1960s and authored the two-volume classic “The Invention of the White Race” in the 1990s.

Allen maintains that the "white race" was invented as a ruling-class social control formation and that a system of racial oppression was imposed in response to labor solidarity in the wake of Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77); that the "white race" was created and maintained through "white race" privileges conferred on laboring class European-Americans relative to African-Americans; and that these privileges were not in the interest of African-Americans or laboring class European-Americans.

Unlike Naomi Zack, Allen was not “motivated by a great need to work and not to be bored.” Rather, he sought historical understanding in order to challenge white supremacy and to contribute toward efforts at radical social change.

Allen documents how the word “white” as a symbol of social status did not appear in a Virginia colonial record until 1691. He further explains how "rights" in England were denied to European-American and African-American laborers through most of the 17th century in Virginia as a system of chattel-bond servitude was imposed (particularly after 1622). He then explains how, in response to Bacon’s Rebellion and other instances of labor solidarity, the plantation elite contrived a new social status, a “‘white’ identity,” designed to set European-Americans at a distance from African Americans and “to enlist European-Americans of every class as . . . supporters of capitalist agriculture based on chattel bond-labor.” The distinguishing characteristic of this “white race” was the participation of the laboring classes and the key to this “counterfeit of social mobility” was “to reissue long-established common law rights, ‘incident to every free man,’ but in the form of ‘white’ privileges: the presumption of liberty, the right to get married, the right to carry a gun, the right to read and write, the right to testify in legal proceedings, the right of self-directed physical mobility, and the enjoyment of male prerogatives over women.” Allen stressed, “the record indicates that laboring-class European-Americans in the continental plantation colonies showed little interest in ‘white identity’ before the institution of the system of ‘race’ privileges at the end of the seventeenth century.

Allen also emphasizes that to say race is a “social construct,” as does Zack, is not enough. He maintains that it must be emphasized that the “white race” is a ruling class social control formation. To simply say that race is a “social construct” leaves the back door open for those like Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Dinesh D’Souza who might at any time “adapt their thesis to ‘race-as-a-social-construct’ by describing racial prejudice as proceeding from ‘white’ Americans’ reaction to the ‘crisis of the Negro family,’ and a vast train of ‘social pathology’ that Moynihan ascribes to it; or, to the historical ‘cultural dysfunctionality’ of which D’Souza accuses African-Americans.”

Basing his work on decades of historical research, and with an awareness of the dangers in the Moynihan and D’Souza arguments, Allen emphasizes that the "white race" was invented and is maintained as a ruling-class social control formation and that it serves ruling class interests.

For more on Theodore W. Allen’s important work CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE

For a video of a slide presentation/talk on Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” CLICK HERE

For an in-depth discussion of Allen's work see Jeffrey B. Perry, “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy” at the top left HERE and also at "Cultural Logic" HERE

Jeffrey B. Perry

The Naomi Zack interview by George Yancy entitled “What ‘White’ Privilege Really Means” is available online HERE

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"Insights From the Work of Theodore W. Allen, on 'White Skin Privilege,' The Invention of the White Race, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"





"Insights From the Work of Theodore W. Allen, on
'White Skin Privilege,' The Invention of the White Race,
and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"
Slide Presentation/Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry, at “The Center for Marxist Education,” Cambridge, Massachusetts
Filmed by Doug Enaa Greene on October 25, 2014.
.


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This Video on The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen Just Passed the 25,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube




This Video on The Invention of the White Race
by Theodore W. Allen
Just Passed the 25,000-Viewers Mark on YouTube


It opens with some insights from Hubert Harrison, “The Father of Harlem Radicalism.” Harrison and Allen are two of the most important writers and thinkers on "race" and class in the twentieth century.
You are encouraged to view and share this video and and discuss their work with others.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gq77rOuZck

To see “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” by Jeffrey B. Perry, CLICK HERE

For a short video of Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

This video introduction to Hubert Harrison is part of a five-part presentation series on Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen. This segment was videoed on July 26, 2014 by Fred Nguyen of Fan Smiles.

For information on Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For a Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” CLICK HERE

For information on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE
and CLICK HERE

For a video of Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For information on Jeffrey B. Perry CLICK HERE
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