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Full text of "The black legion rides"

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CONTENTS 

L The "Trigger Man" Acts ....... 3 

II. The Hood Is Lifted 5 

III. The Black Legion Rides 11 

IV. The Legion's Political Front 23 

V. The Roots of the Black Legion 29 

VL The Black Legion and Law and Order ... 32 

VIL A National Menace 35 

VIII. False Americanism— Its New Hood 38 

IX. Stamp Out the Black Legion 42 



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* 



the library 

of 
ihe university 

OF TEXAS 

AT 

AUSTIN 



PUBLISHED BY WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS, INC., P. 0. BOX 148, STA. D, 
NEW YORK CITY. AUGUST, 1936. ««^h»20 



The Black Legion Rides 



By GEORGE MORRIS 



THE "TRIGGER MAN" ACTS 

'T^HE meeting at Findlater Temple broke up. The men quickly 
■*■ formed into squads and rushed into cars for the "night ride". 

Two of the cars, in advance of the others, reached a dark, 
lonely spot on Dix Road on the outskirts of Detroit. The other 
cars were apparently delayed by the opening of the River Rouge 
bridge. Seven occupants of the cars jumped out and went into a 
huddle. They spoke in low tones and repeatedly turned to look 
back on the road to see if other cars were coming* Their special 
concern was a car with black robes, hoods and rope required for 
a "necktie party". For that is what it was to be. 

"Well, I guess they must have got lost", said "Colonel" Harvey 
Davis, a tall, lanky, rat-faced creature. Then, turning to a short, 
stocky member of the party, he commanded: "Dean, get Poole 
out." 

Dean instantly drew two revolvers and stepped toward one of 
the cars. 

"Poole, come out of that car!" he said. 

A young man emerged and soon found himself in a circle of 
seven men. 

"Poole, you have beaten your wife for the last time", said the 
"Colonel". "She is in a hospital now with a broken rib," 

"You have me wrong," Poole protested. "I never beat her. She 
is in a hospital having a baby." 

The "Colonel" motioned to Dean. Dean promptly pumped five 
bullets into Poole out of his .45 automatic and three out of his 
,38. Urban Lee followed with three more shots. Charles Poole, the 
young P.W.A. worker, without a murmur, sank down, and rolled 
over into a ditch, stone dead. 









The men piled into their cars and drove off. In the city they 
stepped into a beer garden and drank to a good night's work. 
After a warning from the "Colonel" to keep their mouths shut 
or "you'll get what Poole got", all scattered to their homes. 

The Black Legion Comes to Light 

Ten days later, on May 22, 1936, the world was startled by as 
weird and horrible a story as was ever told. The Poole murder 
was only the latest outrage in a three-year trail of crimes by a 
secret organization of night riders called the Black Legion, They 
wore black robes and hoods adorned with a skull and cross-bones. 
From the bits of information that were squeezed out of the first 
sixteen arrested for the murder of Poole it was learned that the 
Black Legion was not just an "ordinary" organization of night 
riders. It seemed to incorporate all the features of the Ku Klux 
Klan — it was against Communists. Negroes, Catholics, Jews, and 
foreign-born, it was organized on a military plan, was active in 
industrial regions and had friends in high political places. 

Murder and crime riddles left unsolved for years were re- 
called. Captain Ira H, Marmon, of the Michigan State Police, 
expressed his conviction that at least fifty unexplained "suicides" 
in the state were the work of this Black Legion. Floggings, mur- 
der, assassination plots, bombings of labor institutions, burning 
of homes and workers' camps, and faked leaflets designed to 
discredit labor were referred for reinvestigation. Soon there were 
enough evidence and confessions to place these acts definitely at 
the door of the Black Legion. 

At this writing, though police have not taken very diligently 
to trailing all clues, more than CO members of the terror organiza- 
tion have been arrested, charged with a part in the crimes. At last 
was discovered the secret organization which for over three years 
had menaced the people of Michigan, Ohio, and other parts. 



THE HOOD IS LIFTED 

The form and program of the Black Legion and its caliber are 
vividly illustrated in the fearful initiation rites that its applicants 
must go through. The oath that is administered supposedly incor- 
porates secrets of the organization. Secrecy must be kept on pain 
of death by the Legion's "execution squad". 

The scene is a dark woods or an unlighted basement. The appli- 
cants are brought in by their respective sponsors and led inside 
a circle of black-robed night riders. They kneel as a pistol is 
pressed against the ribs; another is aimed at the heart. Then the 
officer in charge administers the oath, of which the following are 
parts : 

"In the name of God and the devil, one to reward, the other to 
punish, and by the powers of light and darkness, good and evil, 
here under the black arch of heaven's avenging symbol I pledge and 
consecrate my heart, my brain, my body and my limbs and swear 
by all the powers of heaven and hell to devote my life to the 
obedience of my superiors and that no danger or peril shall deter 
me from executing their orders. 

"I will exert every possible means in my power for the extermina- 
tion of the anarchists, Communists, the Roman hierarchy and their 
abettors. 

"I further pledge my heart, my brain, my body and my limbs never 
to betray a comrade and that I will submit to all the tortures that 
mankind can inflict and suffer the most horrible death rather than 
reveal a single word of this, my oath. 

"Before violating a single clause or implied pledge of this, my 
obligation, I will pray to an avenging God and to an unmerciful 
devil to tear my heart out and roast it over flames of sulphur. 

"That my head be split open and my brains be scattered over 
the earth, that my body be ripped up, my bowels be torn out and 
fed to the carrion birds. 

"That each of my limbs he broken with stones and then cut off 
by inches that they may be food for the foulest birds of air. 

"And lastly may my soul be given unto torment; that my body 
be submerged into molten metal and stifled in the flames of hell, 
and that this punishment may be meted out to me through all 
eternity in the name of God our creator. Amen." 

Then follow the secrets: 



r 



The Black Legion's Secrets 

"The organization is one of chivalry and daring. It follows on the 
footsteps of the guerrilla bands of the South which were famed by 
their courage and bravery by their enemies whom they considered 
as outlaws. You have signified your willingness to join the organi- 
zation. 

"You are outlawed indeed. We have no charter, and no initiation 
fees were asked of you when you came here. If we were chartered 
under the laws of our state government our roster would have been 
available at all times. 

"This organization was founded on Southern chivalry and is 
obligated to the preservation of the white race. The native-born white 
people of America are menaced on every side from above and below. 

"If America is in the melting pot the white people are neither 
the aristocratic scum on top nor the dregs of society on the bottom 
which is composed of anarchists and Communists and all cults and 
creeds believing in social equality. 

"Our ancestors won this land from the savages and paid for it 
with their blood. At the present neither of the two greater political 
parties stand for the laws and principles that the founders of this 
country intended us to enjoy. 

"The Republicans stand for the rich while the Democrats seem 
to be in the grasp of the Pope of Rome. 

"We fight as guerrillas, using any weapon that comes to our hand, 
preferably the ballot. 

"We regard as enemies of ourselves and our country all aliens, 
Negroes, Jews and cults and creeds believing in racial equality and 
owing allegiance to any foreign potentate." 

After this follows a series of questions to the applicant: 

Arms and Lynch Law 

"Will you put this organization above any to which you now be- 
long, have belonged or ever hope to? 

"Would you be willing to forget your party and vote for the 
best man regardless of what party he belongs to if ordered to do 
so by your superior officers in this organization? 

"Are you willing to take orders and go to your death if necessary 
to carry them out? 

"Do you believe in white supremacy and that no Negro should 
have authority over a white man? 

"Do you believe in intermarriage between races? 

"Do you believe in restricted immigration and deportation of all 
undesirable aliens? 

"Would you oppose by ballot and if necessary by force of arms 






any attempt to place any portion of the public tax money in the 
hands of the Roman Catholic Church? 

"Will you do all in your power to place only white Protestant 
Americans in public office? 

"If it ever should become necessary to lie to protect a member 
of this organization, would you do so if ordered by your superior 
officers ? 

"After a term in office of this organization you may be required 
to perform some service on a higher plane than ordinary routine night 
riding. This would require a blood pact. Would you be willing to 
sign your name in your own blood? 

"What is your attitude toward lynch law? 

**Are you properly armed — do you own a revolver, rifle or shotgun? 
If not. will you arm yourself as soon as possible?" 

Obedience to an Unseen Superior 

The blood-curdling language in the oath and the spooky scene 
arranged for the initiation rites are to instill fear into the new 
member and force him to absolute obedience to higher-ups who, 
by nature of the organization, are not even known to the members. 
The object is a disciplined blind army that can be mobilized at 
the command of these unseen master minds. 

As a token of membership the new recruit is given a .38 caliber 
bullet. Tossing of the bullet serves in the same manner as a pass 
word. As the bullet is given him he is told that if he "talks" he 
will get the other bullet. "You can't quit the organization unless 
you are six feet under" is the ABC lesson that a Black Legionnaire 
is given. The Legion's code of terror is an immense power, though 
the organization is still in its early stages. 

Inspector John I. Navarre, head of the Detroit Homicide Squad, 
who directed the investigation into the Poole murder, said the 
following of this fear that is instilled in the Black Legion: 

"I'll say this— whoever organized that outfit was no slouch. Those 
babies fairly cried before they talked, so sternly had they been im- 
pressed with the danger of revealing the slightest detail of the secrets 
or ritual." 

Hides Under Many Forms 

The Black Legion operates through every form that may prove 
convenient. It may be the "respectable" Wolverine Republican 
Club, the Wayne County Rifle and Pistol Club (where Dean and 
other Legionnaires went for regular target practice), the Bullet 

7 



Club, Malteca Club, Night Riders, Black Knights, a Tabernacle 
church, a group of National Guard officers, or even a secret re- 
actionary clique in a trade union. Through false legal fronts the 
Black Legion lures many into its den. 

The Black Legion reached out into the National Guard. Repre- 
sentative Dickstein of New York charged in the House that he has 
evidence that traces the origin of the Legion to correspondence 
between Dr. Samuel J. Rublcy, Captain of the Michigan National 
Guard, Cavalry Division, and William Pelley, National Head of 
the Silver Rangers, whose program is exactly the same as the 
Legion's- Part of a letter to Pelley read: 

". . . hope to have 50 Klansmen mounted in two weeks' time. 
I have just talked with Doctor . . . and we decided to have our 
families as far from Detroit as possible. I may be exceptionally 
blood-thirsty but I feel that the later winter snows will be tinged 
scarlet in the streets of Detroit. Conditions here are bad." 

The Wayne County Rifle and Pistol Club was another blind 
for the Black Legion. It operated in the heart of Detroit's down- 
town area. Among those to appear regularly for target practice 
were Dean and many of the outstanding leaders in the Legion. 
The club was regularly chartered and received its share of free 
ammunition from the United States War Department. 

The black hand of the hooded terrorists operates beneath these 
seemingly innocent organizations. According to the stories of Dean 
and confessions by others, the active members are formed into 
special agencies, in accordance with assignments — a death squad, 
anti-Communist squad, arson squad, etc. These are given such 
jobs as bombing a labor hall, burning the house of a labor 
supporter, murdering a political enemy, or breaking up a labor 
meeting. 

The Black Legion enforces its discipline in the manner of 
criminal gangs. When a committee is chosen for a "job" another 
group is chosen to see that the assignment is carried out, or that 
committee shall itself be marked for a whipping or murder 
for insubordination. 

The Legion Picks Its Members 

People listen with horror to a description of the Black Legion 

8 






and conclude that such an organization cannot possibly attract 
many members. Only morons would join such an organization, 
they believe. But the Black Legion does not depend upon only 
voluntary applications. Members are forced to join in the same 
manner that girls are forced to become prostitutes. 

The most common method is to lure a selected victim to a 
"picnic" or "fishing trip". Taken to a field or woods and placed 
in a circle of black-robed figures and guns pressed to his ribs 
and heart, the applicant is forced to swear to the oath. He is 
placed under the command of a "colonel" and is warned that if 
he breathes a word he will be killed. Gradually the member is 
enmeshed in criminal acts. In time, of necessity, he sticks to the 
gang for his own protection. The same ethics apply here as among 
a gang of criminals. 

Black Legion "Job Service" 

The Black Legion also uses economic and political tentacles to 
hold its members. It concentrates on recruiting political job- 
holders and government officials. Its connections in government 
are used to place Black Legionnaires on jobs. The majority of 
those arrested or found to be members of the Black Legion were 
found to be holding such jobs. This network had so developed 
in Michigan that M. Wesson Dickinson, State Director of Private 
Employment Agencies, was discovered to be linked with the Black 
Legion. His is a key position for the Black Legion. 

Ecorse Village, where the Great Lakes Steel Corporation is 
located, furnished a good example of how the Legion's "job serv- 
ice" operates. The village employment director was found to be a 
member of the Black legion, and to have cooperated with the 
company's employment bureau. He placed Black Legionnaires 
on jobs, and the company had apparently posted the people 
recommended by him in strategic spots in the plant. As a result, 
a strong local of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel 
and Tin Workers was smashed. 

The Latest in Night Riding 

Membership figures for the hooded organization were estimated 
to range from 30,000 to millions. The "millions" is obviously 



ridiculous. It was given by William Sheperd, of BeJlaire, Ohio, 
who claimed to have founded the organization. V. H. Effinger, of 
Lima, Ohio, national head of the Black Legion, also gave fan- 
tastic figures. From all indications the low figure is closest to 
the truth. 

Though a national organization, it is chiefly in Michigan, and 
to some extent in Ohio. It will be seen further on why the organ- 
izations have taken root first in these regions. Organizations bear- 
ing close resemblance to and perhaps organically linked with, 
the Black Legion have been found in many parts of the country. 
There are the Silver Shirts, Ku Klux Klan, Crusaders, William 
Pelley's Christian Party, and others with the same program. Un- 
doubtedly the tendency has been toward coordinating these organ- 
izations into a national network. The guiding spirit of that 
tendency is the same black hand that has brought into being the 
Black Legion, the latest and most horrible of these creations. 

Who is this moving spirit? Watch where the Black Legion rides 
and you will recognize who the master minds behind the scene are. 



10 



III. 
THE BLACK LESION RIDES 

In its three years of active "riding" the Black Legion left in its 
wake dead men, wrecked labor halls, floggings and other horrible 
acts, of which only a few examples can be given in this pamphlet. 

Political assassination was an important phase of its work. It 
aims to sink its claws into public administrations. The Black 
Legion brought into politics methods that put in the shade the 
crooked methods of any of the notorious political machines. 

Dean's story of how he was ordered to kill Arthur Kingsley, 
Highland Park publisher of a community paper, illustrates the 
Black Legion's role in politics. The selected death squad met in 
a field and entered into a "blood pact" which, as the Legion's oath 
provides, is necessary for a "higher" form of service. Each child- 
ishly dipped a toothpick in his own blood and signed his name 
as a pledge that, whatever the plot is, it is to be loyally carried 
out. Following that a "colonel" revealed to Dean that he was 
chosen for the noble deed of killing Kingsley. 

For weeks, Dean said, he angled for an opportunity to shoot 
Kingsley, and at one time had actually chased him for several 
miles. On several occasions State Legion Commander Arthur Lupp 
and N. Ray Markland, former mayor of Highland Park, met with 
him to stress the importance of the assignment. Kingsley's paper 
opposed Markland's re-election. "My whole campaign will be 
ruined if you don't act quickly," Markland said to him as he 
handed him a blackjack. "Take this, you might need it." 

When the plot to murder Kingsley was revealed by Dean, six- 
teen were arrested for taking part. Among them were Lupp, 
Markland, two factory policemen, a police officer, and several 
Highland Park city employees. At the time of his arrest Markland 
was employed as an investigator in the office of Wayne County 
Prosecutor McCrea and was apparently in a beautiful position 
to warn his fellow terrorists of any action that might be in store 
against them. At that very moment he was busy on a Legion 
flogging case. 



Two city employees testified how they were forcibly inducted 
into a Black Legion meeting with Markland, a city councilman 
and chief of police in Highland Park, taking part in the ceremony. 
Firmly entrenched in city politics, the Black Legion thrived in 
Highland Park. 

A similar assassination was attempted in Ecorse with Mayor 
William Voisine as the target. The squad of three men who were 
assigned to kill him included Dean and two others who mur- 
dered Poole. 

The main objectives of the Black Legion are in its anti-labor 
program. Its hatred of Communism stands above all else, and a 
Communist, according to the Black Legion, is the liberal, live- 
wire trade unionist, or any person who wouldn't subscribe to its 
program of race hatred and religious intolerance. 

Marchulc Murder Mystery Cleared 

George Marchuk, Secretary of the Auto Workers Union in 
Lincoln Park, was found dead in an open lot on December 22, 
1933, with a bullet in his head. He was last seen that night when 
he left a meeting of the Unemployment Councils, of which he 
was also a leader. The Auto Workers Union organized a delega- 
tion which appeared before the Lincoln Park Council and charged 
that the murder was the work of a secret anti-labor organization. 
The Knights of Dearborn, which was formed only a month earlier 
"to promote civics and fight Communism", was named as the 
likely organization. Leaders of the strong K.K.K. organization in 
Lincoln Park were named. But it was an appeal to the Black 
Legionnaires themselves. The complaints were simply filed. 

When the Black Legion was exposed almost three years later 
the case was again revived. Lincoln Park people recalled that a 
certain retired Detroit one-legged policeman named Isaac "Peg- 
Leg" White, who had been discovered intimately connected with 
Black Legion activities, had threatened Marchuk and several 
others shortly before the murder. Others w r ere named but at this 
writing nothing has been done. The big swing to the A. F, of L. 
automobile locals was on at that time. The Auto Workers Union 
had just decided to merge into the A, F, of L. and was about to 
begin intense recruiting of Ford workers in the down-river area. 

12 



Bielak Taken for a Ride 

John Bielak, live, youthful A. F. of L. organizer in the Hudson 
plant was found riddled with bullets on March 15, 1934, on a 
road about ten miles from Monroe, Michigan. Shortly prior to 
the murder Bielak led a successful stoppage for a wage increase 
in the metal finishing department of the Hudson plant. Shortly 
after .".at, when the company attempted to discharge Bielak, the 
workers in his department struck and forced his reinstatement. 
The Hudson local, with approximately 7,000 members, was the 
key automobile union in Detroit at that time. 

When Bielak kissed her goodby on the night of March 15, 
his widow said, he told her he had a date with Bill Moore, his 
foreman who, by the way, was an extreme reactionary in the 
union. Moore, police learned, was attending a Black Legion meet- 
ing on that night and admitted having been the last to see Bielak 
alive. He was questioned and released. 

But this is only part of the story. Captain Ira H. Marmon of 
the Michigan State Police disclosed the following which came 
to him from a prominent American Legion member, employed as 
an investigator (industrial spy) by the Hudson Motor Car 
company! 

A Stool Meets the Legion 

Shortly before Bielak's murder three members of the Black 
Legion— Isaac "Peg-Leg" White, Andrew Martin (held for kid- 
napping and flogging in another case) and Roy Hepner (leader 
in the plot to murder Kingsiey), came to the Hudson Company 
with a list of five names, Bielak's among them, who they said were 
Communists employed in the plant and should be discharged, 
Marmon's informant, the spy, was assigned by the company to 
investigate and trace the people associated with the named 
"Communists". 

He related how he met with the Black Legionnaires in a house. 
**I too am interested in combating Communism," he told them. 
"If you people will help me I will join your outfit." After some 
questioning he described how the Legionnaires donned black 
robes, pulled out their revolvers, administered their oath over him, 
and presented him with a bullet. 

13 



f 



Shortly afterward, according to the story, Bielak was taken for 
a "ride" by the Black Legion, beaten in the automobile, shot five 
times and thrown out on the road. His young widow was unable 
to understand what reason anyone might have had for murdering 
her husband. All she knew about it was that "when John came 
home after work he was always talking about the new batch of 
applications for the union that he got". 

The "Peg-Leg" While mentioned was found and interviewed 
by the Detroit News on a farm near Lyons, Michigan. Though 
denying that he was connected with the Black Legion or that he 
knew anything of Bielak, he admitted having visited the Hudson 
plant and having been an official in the K.K.K. until he was 
"double-crossed". 

Ask "Peg Leg", He Knows Plenty 

"I visited the Hudson plant. A few years ago I called on all the 
plants of Detroit", White told the Detroit News (June 2, 1936). 
"Once or twice I turned in a bunch of names to the Hudson Motor 
Car Company. How many i don't remember but thflre were several 
typewritten sheets. 

"This was done about the time the Communists made their big 
drive on Detroit, the time of the Dearborn riot [he means the Ford 
Hunger March — G.M.I. I was with the Citizens 1 Committee then. 
I can't remember what names were on the list." 

Asked in explain his "Citizens' Committee" White said, 

"I don't know much about it and 1 don't know who ran it. You 
see we didn't operate that way. A man just came to my house and 
gave me a list of names and asked me to take them to the factories. 
I took some to Ford's, some to Budd Wheel, in fact to all the plants 
that had strikes or threats of strikes. 

"Others usually went with me on die calls to the plants but I 
can't remember who went along to the Hudson plant. The names 
Hepner and Martin mean nothing to me, 1 met thousands of people 
about that time — and I never was any good at remembering names. 

"We didn't get anything out of it but the personnel departments 
of the plants were always glad to get information about the Com- 
munists and they thanked us. Il was merely a courtesy proposition." 

While was not arrested, though resolutions adoplrd ;il mas- 
meetings demanded his immediate arrest. Five weeks later, when 
at last he was wanted for the burning of the Workers Camp, situ- 
ated near Detroit, White was missing. 

14 



The Legion in an Election Campaign 

In tht spring of 1935 Detroit labor set an example in indepen- 
dent politieal labor action. The Detroit Federation of Labor, 
Communist Party., independent unions and most other labor organ- 
izations joined to elect Maurice Sugar, labor candidate, for 
Recorders Judge. It was then that Sugar polled 63,000 votes. 
The final campaign rally was set for March 30 at the Northern 
High School. The Board of Education had refused to grant the 
hall because "Communists will speak". But following a sharp 
struggle a liberal judge granted an injunction that compelled the 
board to grant the hall. But what the Board of Education failed 
to do through legal means the Black Legion hoped to succeed by 
its own methods. 

But that part of the story was told more than a year later by 
Dean after he had already confessed to the Poole shooting. A 
meeting of the Black Legion was called on the very night of the 
campaign rally. One squad was dispatched to the Workers Camp 
to set fire to its buildings; the act of arson was successfully carried 
out that night. The other squad was to go to the high school 
meeting. Dean and Leslie Black, President of the Wolverine Re- 
publican Club, were to cut the electric light wires. When the 
meeting was thrown into darkness, six Legionnaires in the audi- 
ence were to throw stench bombs. Forged leaflets were also pre- 
pared, signed by the Communist Party, which were to be scattered 
in the meeting during the confusion. 

The plan miscarried because by mistake Dean cut only the 
emergency wires. The janitor at the school on the next day in- 
formed Sugar that emergency wires were found cut and gave him 
a sample of a bundle of the leaflets that he found. The leaflet 
showed that the object was to discredit the Communist Party and 
the splendid campaign for Sugar. The leaflet read as follows: 

"Comrades, rise against the capitalistic form of government. Throw 
out the bosses and kill the aggressors of the common people. Arc you 
going to remain in the gutter and be trampled upon by the capitalists 
until you are dead? Get them first or they will get you. 

"Negroes, rise against your white oppressors. We are all equal and 
you should have an equal chance with all whites. We offer you that 
dianee. Do your part to bring this about hy electing Comrade Maurice 

15 



Sugar to the Recorders Court. We will then have a chance to work 
from within and tear down this damnable form of government. 

"Communist Party of America." 

The obvious forgery did not prevent the Board of Education 
and the Hearst press from making capital out of it. They charged 
that the leaflet was actually genuine Communist propaganda. 
On later occasions, when the Board refused to errant the school? 
for labor meetings the leaflet was used as an excuse. 

Dean — Sugar's Neighbor 

Some time after the campaign for Recorder Judgeship Detroit 
labor considered further steps in independent political action. 
Sugar was put forward as candidate for the Common Council, 
When Dean was searched, following the Poole murder, the sheriff's 
aides found upon him a newspaper clipping with Sugar's picture 
upon it. Asked to explain the picture, Dean coldly told of having 
lived in an apartment of the same building where Sugar lived 
and that he was ordered by Commander Lupp of the Black Legion 
to bomb Sugar. Records showed that Dean occupied the apart- 
ment for five months. Asked why he didn't carry through the job. 
Dean said that he "got cold feet because too many people would 
have been killed". When the bombing plot was given up, Lupp 
discussed with him the possibility of calling Sugar out "on a 
case" and "bumping him off". Apparently as late as May 22, 
1936, the Farmer-Labor leader was still on the Legion's "bump- 
oflT list. 

The "arson squad" of the Black Legion confessed to the burning 
of the farm of William Mollenhauer in Oakland County (Pontiac) 
in August, 1934. Mollenhauer was a labor sympathizer. Instead of 
searching for the criminals the county sheriff searched for "Red" 
literature in the ruins of the farm buildings. 

Similarly another arson squad confessed to the burning of the 
Workers Camp (the second time) also located in Oakland County. 
They were given only six-month prison sentences. 

Black Legion "Unionism" 
The black hand of the Legion also stretched out into unions, 

16 



Black Legionnaires were found in the automobile, street car men's 
and building trades unions. They expressed the most reactionary 
policies wherever they were. President Frank X. Martel of the 
Detroit Federation of Labor made the following statement at the 
time he appointed a committee of five to investigate Black Legion 
activities in unions: 

''We have wondered what has caused the friction in the labor 
movement of the state in the past few years, I have sensed these 
things when unions would withdraw suddenly. . . * Undoubtedly the 
Black Legion has been in the back of these things." 

Undoubtedly Martel had in mind the group of officials who 
had withdrawn from the A. F, of L., the once powerful Hudson 
local, with 7,000 members, Pontiac local with 4,000 members and 
the Oldsmobile local, and had formed what became known as the 
Associated Automobile Workers of America. The withdrawal came 
suddenly, at a moment when a general strike was being discussed 
in the automobile industry. As independent unions the locals 
disintegrated and were practically wiped out. These were the 
strongest locals of the A. F. of L. in Detroit at a moment when 
the first real beginnings to unionize the industry were made. 

Following the Black Legion disclosure, Tice Woody, President 
of the Pontiac organization, revealed to the writer how he and 
several others in his union had joined the Black Legion on the 
idea that it might help labor. But when he joined he discovered 
that Arthur Greer, President of the Hudson local, and Richard 
L. Byrd, whom President Roosevelt appointed as "labor's repre- 
sentative" on the defunct Automobile Labor Board, were already 
in the Black Legion. Add to this the fact that Greer, outstanding 
leader in the movement, was by his own admission connected 
with the Department of Justice at one time, and only a year before 
the Hudson local came into existence was chairman of the com- 
pany union's election committee, then it isn't hard to see that 
these were people who deliberately plotted to destroy the unions. 
They certainly did a thorough job. 

Strikebreaking was an important phase of the Legion's activity. 
The organization in Toledo, Ohio, tried to break the Chevrolet 
strike in May, 1935. Evidence came to light that General Motors' 






agents placed confidence on what the Black Legion might do. 
Only the splendid solidarity of the workers and night-and-day 
picketing foiled the plans of the Legion. 

In like manner the Legion did its part in the Motor Products 
strike. The homes of at least a half-dozen strikers were bombed, 
and many strikers were threatened if they didn't stay away from 
the picket line. 

"No one can doubt that bombings that look place during the 
Motor Products strike were done by the Black Legion," said Lloyd 
Jones, one of the strike leaders. "In fact some of our strikers never 
dared go home at night without a bodyguard or a fast car and 
a good gun. 1 ' 

Jones disclosed that a secret group calling itself the "Invisible 
Eye of Labor", Out to drive the Negroes and Communists out of 
unions, was operating in the Motor Products plant. 

So, in Ohio, during a bitterly fought onion strike, near Lima, 
in 1.935, the Black Legion attracted first public attention there. 
The strike leader was kidnapped and beaten as were many 
strikers. In July, 1935, the state legislative committee held a hear- 
ing at which the activities of the Black Legion were disclosed. 
Mary Hirley, the stenographer who look notes of the hearing, 
was met on the steps of the State House by four men who de- 
manded to know what she did with the notes and threatened her 
if she didn't destroy them. 

Killing Negroes for a "Thrill" 

The Black Legion outdid itself in the killing of the 42-year- 
old Negro hod carrier, Silas Coleman. On May 25, 1935, when 
Coleman's body was found in a swamp near Pinckney, Mich., 
riddled with bullets, Livingstone County police gave it up as an 
unsolved crime. More than a year later Dean told a story which 
for wanton viciousness is unparalleled in the Legion's long list 
of crimes. 

Dean was not alone to tell it. Another one of the Black Legion 
killers, James Roy Lorance, retold it in every detail and bit by 
bit others brought evidence that established Dean's story beyond 
a shadow of doubt. 

Here is part of the story in Dean's own words: 



"I was working for the Public Lighting Commission at the Mis- 
tersky Power Station and Harvey Davis came in one day and we 
were talking and he wanted to know if I could get a colored guy 
for him. 

"He said they were going lo have a party out to the lake and they 
wanted to have a little excitement. They wanted to have a colored 
fellow, didn't make any difference where he came from as long as 
he was black. They wanted to take him out and kill him. Colonel 
Davis said he wanted to know what it felt like to shoot a Negro. 

"So I got hold of Charlie Rouse and Charlie said he had just 
the right man, he had one working for him, so we made arrange- 
ments with Davis. . . ." 

Dean related how Coleman was lured to go for a ride with 
the two men on that fateful Saturday night, on the promise that 
he would be taken to his boss contractor at a summer cottage to 
collect $18 in back wages that was coming to him. 

"We went to the cottage and I went to the back door and there 
was Harvey Davis and his wife, Jack Bannerman and his wife, 
Ervin Lee and his wife and Roy Lorance and his wife, sitting at 
the table having a party drinking beer and liquor. 

"Davis called Ervin Lee and Roy Lorance and Jack Bannerman 
into the room and says to them to get their guns and see that they 
are loaded. 'We've got him', he says." 

Coleman was then taken out lo a swamp near Pinckney. 
Dean continued: 

"When tlie colored fellow came round to the rear of the car, 
wondering to see what we was doing around there, and just as he 
came round and faced up, Davis took his .38 and he shot first and 
then the others shot. The colored fellow went to say something and 
the bullet seemed to pierce his lung or something and he couldn't 
talk and he made a kind of 'a-h-h-h' gurgle in his throat or something 
kind of so. 

"He run like a deer down there and when he started running 
they say 'Don't let him get away' and ran after him emptying their 
guns after him. 

"We went back to our cars and drove back to the cottage. They 
gave Charlie Rouse and I a shot of liquor und a bottle of beer and 
we drove back to Detroit but they stayed there and continued the 
party." 

At this writing both Lorance and Dean came out with the 

19 



sensational story that if the Ford-owned mill pond in the vicin- 
ity of the marsh where Coleman's body was found, would be 
drained seven more bodies of "thrill" killing victims would be 
found. 

Bacteria for the Legion's Enemies 

But the Black Legion shattered its own record of sadism and 
murder when it plotted to inject typhoid germs into milk and 
cheese distributed through Jewish markets. As fantastic as this 
scheme may appear, it was confessed by William Guthrie, a 
Black Legion "intelligence man", and Charles T. McCutcheon, 
the chemist and bacteriologist in the case, who was employed in 
the milk inspection department of the Detroit Department of 
Health, Arthur Lupp, Michigan state commander of the Black 
Legion, worked close to McCutcheon as a public milk inspector. 

Guthrie told how Lupp and McCutcheon came to his home and 
inspected the possibility of breeding typhoid germs in his base- 
ment. McCutcheon, when questioned in the Prosecutors office, 
coldly gave an account of how the Legion planned to destroy 
"its enemies", Lupp discussed with him the possibility of making 
poisoned "death needles" that might be jammed into people in 
a crowd. He was interested in a "cyanide gas" that could be in- 
jected into a room through a keyhole. Much thought was also 
given to a small bomb "the size of a cigarette" that could blow 
up an automobile. Lupp was also interested in the manufacture 
of stench and explosive bombs. 

When Detroit health authorities announced McCutcheon's dis- 
charge for keeping to himself this plot for more than a year, 
they also revealed that McCutcheon for some unexplained reason 
engaged in bacteriological experiments at the city laboratory. 
This was not in line with his duty. McCutcheon pleaded that he 
was continually shadowed by the terrorists and warned that if 
the plot was ever revealed it would be all over with him. 

On February 16, 1935, James Armour, a Negro steel worker, 
was suddenly shot as he walked home at night. All he could 
remember is that three men jumped out of the dark and fired. 
He was in critical condition for several months. 

A year and a half later Dean told the story: 

20 



"We went to Ecorse to look for Clarence Oliver [Negro cam- 
paign worker for Mayor Voisine of Ecorse, also a Legion target] 
but couldn't find him any place. Well, Rouse and Davis and me 
were driving back through Ecorse to Detroit and we saw this guy 
[Armour] walking along. Davis said, *I want to kill a nigger'. We 
stopped the car and Davis fired one shot at him. He fell and we left." 

Armour was not known to any of the Legion party, but had 
just happened to come along when the "colonel" felt the urge 
to kill. 

The above are only a few of the cases that have become known 
publicly. Who can doubt that a series of at least a half-dozen 
bombings of labor halls; of the Modern Book Shop, in Detroit, 
an outlet for labor literature ; and other attacks upon the working 
class were the work of the Black Legion? 



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3120 UNION GlfeRDlAN BUILDING 
DETROIT -MICHIGAN 



April 30, 1936, 



Dear" Heoben- 

On Kpitaay May 11th, at «:00 T.U tl 
the" Wolverine Rspublloan L&agua will hold its 
Annual aaatlng In the Flndla*er Temple, on tha 
corner of West Lafayette and Waterman avenues, 
for tne purpose of eleoting directors. This 
will.be a cloaad nesting for members only. 

We are enclosing a petition of 
Wilbur M. Brucker for ae.ielsr. PI ease fill out 
sains and return aa noon as possible or turn It 
in at the msetlnS.. on May 11th ; eriraxa you may also 
obtain additional copies IT needed. 

Our last" masting put the Wolvsrlne 
League out In front* 

-LET'S KEIP IT TKEHZ." 

Very truly youra^ 

FLOYD NUGET, 
Secrotary, 



Letter on its own stationery sent by the Wolverine Republican Club. 
The club address is the office of a prominent Republican, Harry Z. Marx. 
Check marks indicate the five. Legionnaires who took part in the murder of 
Charles Poole. Many of the officers named were arrested for other crimes. 



IV. 

THE LEGION'S POLITICAL FRONT 

If you think that the Black Legion was just a peculiar fancy of 
free lancers, you have another guess coming. It is intimately con- 
nected with the most reactionary political circles. From all the 
evidence that came to light the Black Legion was undoubtedly a 
rrciiiii.il nl" Republicans. Everj political link confirms this, and 
there are many. 

The first Black Legion organization uncovered was the Wol- 
verine Republican Club. Five of the group that took part in the 
murder of Charles Poole were officers of the club. The president 
of the Wolverine and several others who had their names on the 
club's stationery as officers were arrested for taking part in the 
Kingsley and Voisine political assassination plots. 

It is the Wolverine Club that sponsored the candidacy of former 
Governor Wilber M. Brucker, for United States Senate on the 
Republican ticket in the 1936 election. Brucker has always been 
the spokesman of the most reactionary circles in Michigan, and 
is one of the most vicious Red-baiters in the country, Brucker was 
one of the main sponsors of the infamous Dunckcl -Baldwin anti- 
labor gag bill in the 1935 legislature of Michigan. His main base 
of operation is committees of the American Legion on subversive 
activities. Brucker was also the prime mover of a conference of 
palrioteers held in Grand Rapids in October, 1935, to form the 
"Constitution Protective League, Inc.". According to the program 
of the organization printed in a folder, it is to work under close 
guidance; (if the Michigan Manufacturers Association, and is to 



coordinate all anti-labor organizations in 



Michigan. A list of 



activities for these constitution-savers includes spying upon labor, 
countering "agitators" and forming squads to break up meetings 
and demonstrations. 

Black Legion Gets Maiden Speech 

Brucker delivered his maiden campaign speech before a mass 
meeting arranged by the Wolverine Republican Club. A letter sent 
to all members on the club's own stationery for the meeting on 
May 11 stated: 

23 



"We are enclosing a petition of Wilber M. Brucker for Senator. 
Please fill out same and return as soon as possible or turn in at 
meeting on May 11, where you may also obtain additional copies if 
needed." (See Plate I on p. 22.) 

Sponsors for the Brucker mass meeting under the Wolverine's 
auspices were other political notorieties. Among them was re- 
ported Police Commissioner Heinrich Pickert. In fact, from 
several sources it was charged that the commissioner is a member 
of the Black Legion. That, of course, would not be a surprise, as 
Pickert's police department has carried on activities of a Black 
Legion character. Police have shot down people on mere suspi- 
cion of crime, suppressed civil rights, and actually encouraged 
bombings and similar outrages against labor. The fact is that in 
the three years that the Black Legion carried on its nefarious 
work it was not hindered by the police department. 

Worked Hard for G.O.P. 

Among the speakers who appeared under the Black Legion's 
auspices were also Judge L. Eugene Sharp and Gomer Krise, 
Republican candidate for Wayne County Prosecutor. Both are 
notorious reactionaries. Of course, these individuals hastened to 
shake themselves loose from the Legion when the lid blew off. 
But the jailed terrorists rather boasted of having been in the com- 
pany of such "big men". 

"I worked hard for Wilber M. Brucker and Governor Fitzgerald. 
When Brucker spoke at our meeting recently I handed him ten 
nominating petitions that I circulated and filled," said John 
Bannerman, one of Poole's killers. (Detroit News, May 29, 1935), 

"I had a sort of hankering to get into politics and so I went to 
this Wolverine Republican Club one night," said young Paul 
Edwards, who also helped to kill Poole. "Some of the biggest 
men in this state were there. Mr. Brucker made a speech and I 
said to myself, 'if this organization is good enough for Mr. 
Brucker and those other big men it's good enough for me'." 
(Ibid.) 

"I just thought it was a Republican Club. I joined the night 
Brucker spoke," said Edgar J. Baldwin, another one involved in 
the Poole case. (Ibid.) 



24 



The Brucker type is the front for the Black Legion. They are the 
star recruiters and serve to give the impression that the organ- 
ization has "strong backing". 

A Judge in Good Company 

Judge Sharp's link was established in several other instances. 
His clerk and ardent campaigner was L. J. Black, a leading figure 
in the Kingsley murder plot, and president of the Wolverine 
Club. It was Sharp who endorsed a pistol permit for Arthur 
Lupp, the Legion's state commander. It was the Black Legion 
gang that campaigned for Sharp in 1935. 

Harry Z. Marx, prominent Republican attorney, is a director of 
the club and chairman of its Delegates Committee. His office was 
designated as the club's headquarters on its stationery. This is 
the very same Marx who was head of the "Americanization Com- 
mittee" of the American Legion in 1934. In 1935 when three Black 
Legionnaires were arrested near Adrian, Michigan, with black 
hoods, pistols and rope in their car, it was Marx and V. H. 
Effinger, of Lima, Ohio, National Head of the Black Legion, who 
rushed to the office of the State Police and pleaded that the men 
be dismissed. His law partner, Marion Leacock, is chairman of 
the Resolutions Committee of the Wolverine. Significantly, on the 
very day that the Black Legion expose blew out, Marx and 
Leacock were in City Hall representing Police Commissioner 
Pickert in a hearing at which labor groups demanded the com- 
missioner's ouster. (Detroit Times, May 22.) 

In the spring of 1935, Marx was the "Red-baiting" candidate 
for Recorder Judge. It was during that period that the Black 
Legion tried to break up the campaign rallies of Maurice Sugar, 
labor candidate, and issued forged leaflets to discredit his 
campaign. 

State Employment Director in the Fold 

Among the Republican state officials to be linked with the Black 
Legion is M. Wesson Dickinson, Superintendent of Private Em- 
ployment Bureaus in the State of Michigan. He was formerly 
manager of the Secretary of State's office. In addition to having 

25 






been named as an insider in Black Legion affairs, Dickinson 
was also one of those to endorse Lupp's pistol permit. 

Though the investigation into the Black Legion was veiled in 
secrecy the names of a large number of lesser political lights 
were revealed to he on the Legion's roster. The names of Frank 
Darin, former state representative from River Rouge, Oren A. 
Johnson, formerly assistant prosecutor, J. J. Pettijohn, Ecorse 
Village trustee, Arthur A. Moore, ex-president of Melvindale and 
a former state legislator, and others appeared on the Wolverine's 
list of officials. It should be noted that there are many "formers". 
The Black Legion is a means for a come-back to many a discredited 
and defeated politician. 

In Oakland County (Pontiac) where the Black Legion is strong, 
County ProsecuLor David C. Pence admitted having joined the 
Bullet Club, a Black Legion affiliate. "I have never had any 
complaint about the activities of the so-called Bullet Club during 
the time I have been in office," said Pence several days before he 
admitted his own membership. (Detroit News, May 23, 1935.) 

References to more government officials who are linked to the 
Black Legion or have taken part in its terror acts will be found 
in other parts of this pamphlet. 

McCrea Also a Joiner 

But the Republican Party is not the sole Black Legion nest. 
At the height of the Black Legion exposure, with Wayne County 
Prosecutor Duncan McCrea regarded as the great hope for a 
clean-up, the Detroit Times suddenly came out with a photostat 
of an application card for Black Legion membership signed by 
McCrea. While it is true that the Detroit Times found this to be a 
convenient way to stall progress in the exposure, which was gain- 
ing rapid momentum, McCrea was unable to make a flat denial. 
He admitted that he "might have signed" when he was campaign- 
ing and as is customary with politicians was "just a joiner". The 
application cards for the Black Legion were camouflaged as Auto- 
mobile Insurance Cards, and McCrea claimed that he could not 
have done so knowingly. 

But so was McCrea's office a Black Legion nest. Former Mayor 
Markland of Highland Park was employed as one of his investi- 

26 



gators. Another investigator was an official in the Klan. Still an- 
other one, who according to the card sponsored McCrea's mem- 
bership, was discharged as investigator. 

In such manner the tentacles of the Black Legion reached out 
into every possible political hole. Black hand methods and assas- 
sination plots built up a power for the hidden masters who direct 



the Legion. 



Politicians Seized With Jitters 



The sudden explosion that rapidly lifted hoods from the faces 
of many prominent politicians threw Michigan political circles 
into consternation. They were jittery, as they did not know what 
the next newspaper editions might bring. Governor Fitzgerald 
was in a fright. If the expose continued freely, his whole adminis- 
tration was threatened with a major scandal. 

Michigan manufacturers provided for such occasions— a one- 
man secret grand jury. This scheme was put through several 
years ago supposedly for "economy". It works as follows: when 
a scandal breaks out a judge is picked to conduct the entire 
investigation. In major cases the Attorney General assists him. 
No one is permitted to attend hearings. After witnesses present 
what they know to the judge they are legally bound to seal their 
lips on pain of being jailed for contempt of court, by the same 
judge. The "grand" jury alone decides how long the investiga- 
tion should drag. It is an excellent scheme to shut the mouths 
of the very ones who have much to tell. 

The Attorney General who took over the investigation on a stale- 
wide scale and actually subordinated all county prosecutors was 
David H. Crowley, who was attorney for the Fisher Body division 
of General Motors, when he was appointed by Governor Fitz- 
gerald. The one-man grand jury is Judge James E. Chenot, whose 
main election support came from the Ford-controlled "down- 
river" gang that was so closely linked to the Black Legion. 

"I have control of the proceedings in this court. Anyone who 
violates the secrecy of this grand jury will go to jail." These were 
Chenot's first words as he began to call witnesses. 

Quickly Chenot subpoenaed Captain Ira H. Marmon, of the 
State Police who, as we have seen earlier in this pamphlet, came 

27 



— — 



out with the most startling revelations. He disclosed the Bielak 
story, and other distinct anti-labor cases. It was he who charged 
publicly that at least 50 unexplained "suicides" were Legion mur- 
ders. He promised more startling discoveries- Then he testified 
before the judge and was completely silenced. In that way, one 
after another were silenced the chief informers and investigators. 
So also was the press practically silenced. 

The full story of the Black Legion, its long trail of unpublished 
crimes, and the identity of the names of over 500 Black Legion 
members that the police compiled, as well as the political figures 
among them, were safely stored away with the Judge and the 
Attorney General. Both are trusted servants of the very same 
people who brought the Black Legion into being. 

Federal Investigation Shelved 

A cry went up for a federal investigation. All labor and liberal 
organizations joined. The local Democrats, including the Prose- 
cutor, joined in the call for a federal investigation. Demands for 
a federal inquiry poured into Washington from all sides. It wa? 
freely charged that the Michigan Republicans were only trying to 
suppress evidence against themselves. Meanwhile, a national 
menace to democratic rights continued to grow. 

Farmer-Labor Senator Benson introduced a resolution in the 
Senate calling for a federal investigation into the activities of 
the Black Legion as well as of all similar organizations through- 
out the country. But his resolution remained buried in committees 
as both Houses adjourned and the Congressmen and Senators 
rushed home to dive into the election campaign. Meanwhile, safe 
from a federal committee, the Michigan Republicans proceeded 
to hush up the entire issue. 

Why the Democratic-controlled legislature and President Roose- 
velt were so anxious to shelve the issue will become clear as the 
pamphlet progresses. 



28 



V. 
THE ROOTS OF THE BLACK LEGION 

Where are the roots of the Black Legion? 

The Black Legion began its activities some time in 1932, though 
members of the organization trace their history to some years 
earlier. It appears that there was a split in the Ku Klux Klan of 
Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, The Klans in these states were at 
one time among the strongest in the country. A strong base for the 
Klan was the mass migration of Southerners to the North, espe- 
cially to the automobile centers. 

Whatever the direct cause might have been for the development 
of the rift in the K.K.K., it was about the end of 1932 that the 
Michigan manufacturers took advantage of the opposition to the 
Grand Dragons to bring into existence the Black Legion. The new 
organization was to be an "up-to-dale" outfit conforming to the 
requirements of the Northern manufacturers* The white robes were 
dyed black, and a strictly disciplined military structure was set up. 
The old program of race hatred and religious intolerance was 
retained, but now the main emphasis was to be on the anti-labor 
or, as they termed it, the anti-Communist aspect of the program. 
The Black Legion promised to be a "real" night-riding organiza- 
tion and to promote more aggressive terror action. 

The Rising Counter Tide 

The "new line" in night-riding was introduced in 1932-33, 
shortly after the Briggs strike (January, 1933), and the historic 
Ford Hunger March (March, 1932). This march marked a turn 
in the development of the working class movement of Michigan — 
the country's foremost open-shop region. Ft marked the shattering 
of the Ford illusion. 

All the strength of the Ford and Detroit police was thrown 
against the marchers, who were on their way to "King Henry" to 
ask for bread or jobs. A shower of bullets was poured into the 
mass of workers. Five were killed and scores were wounded, Thil 
aroused unprecedented mass indignation among the workers and 

29 



people generally. The workers resisted the reign of terror that 
followed. This swing upward climaxed in a May Day demonstra- 
tion of over 50,000 in Detroit. 

Coupled with this, there began a rapid influx of automobile 
workers into the newly-created federal unions of the A. F. of L. 
This was stimulated by the promise of collective bargaining in 
the just introduced N.R.A. In such traditional open-shop cities 
as Flint, 11,000 workers Hocked to the unions. Similarly, they 
joined in Pontiac, Detroit and other places. Strikes of auto work- 
ers occurred more frequently. The manufacturers were seriously 
worried. Michigan labor was at last raising its head. 

The Liberty League Takes the Helm 

The Black Legion was one of the means thai the manufacturers 
advanced to counter the sweep towards unionism. It was designed 
to be a network of strike-breaking terror bands, spies and killers 
of active union workers. From then on their instructions were 
to come not from a Grand Dragon in Georgia but from the North- 
ern kings of industry — General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, du Pont, 
United Stales Steel — the very top circle of exploiters of the 
American people who today are combined in the Liberty League. 
They speak through the Hearst newspapers. Their political ex- 
pression is the Republican Party and their candidate is Alfred 
Landon. 

The poison fruits of the Black Legion blossomed forth first in 
Michigan because that region furnished the most fertile ground 
for it. The statu is traditionally open-shop. The workers had as 
yet learned little of the power of solidarity, and had little in- 
fluence on the political life of the state. Most of the auto cities 
are like huge company towns. Industrial spies hound the workers 
at every turn. Civil rights are unceremoniously violated. The 
impotency of craft unions in such a highly organized mass pro- 
duction industry as automobile put unionism in a bad light lo 
many workers. Michigan was a "prosperity paradise" during the 
Coolidge-Hoover dynasty. It was in such a field that Hearst's 
Detroit Times, and those newspapers that are almost down to its 
level and Father Charles Coughlin planted their poisonous seeds 
— the seeds of Red-baiting and false Americanism. 

30 



Three Years of Training 

The Black Legion was not the first organization of its kind to 
rise in the United States. But it has developed further than any of 
its predecessors to play its evil role. For at least three years 
without interruption it trained its terror bands. With the financial 
and political backing of the industrialists, and brigades of morons 
and sadists for an active core, the organization laid a foundation 
for itself. Its roots already began to stretch out to parts outside 
of Michigan. They spread easiest in those regions where the 
workers were unorganized and where the Liberty League- Hearst- 
Republican combination enjoyed strongest support. 



31 



VI. 
THE BLACK LEGION AND LAW AND ORDER 

Proud of his "G-Men" whose war on criminals has been pub- 
licized, filmed and broadcast throughout the length and breadth 
of the country the American citizen wonders: is it possible that 
our "G-Men" knew nothing of the Black Legion and its three-year 
crime record? How could such a large organization escape the 
Department of Justice for so long a time? 

The truth is that federal and local police authorities knew all 
about the Black Legion since 1934. The fact is that they were 
informed at least six different times. 

When Arlington Jones, Highland Park city employee, related 
to the city council the Black Legion activities of several officials 
of that city who had forced him to join the organization in 1934, 
he said: 

"I made reports of the threats to the Highland Park mayor, to 
Arthur Kingsley [Highland Park publisher] to the prosecutor's 
office, and to the Federal Department of Justice men, but nothing 
was done." (Detroit News, July 3.) 

Mayor Joseph M. Halkett of Highland Park confirmed at the 
very same hearing that Jones had told him in 1934 how he was 
forcibly initiated into the Black Legion, with Highland Park 
Councilman Wilson holding a gun at his ribs, and Chief of Police 
Sparling and former Mayor Markland present. 

"I couldn't conceive of men in public life doing the things he 
said were done," was the mayor's only excuse for doing nothing. 

Pontiac Stirred in 1934 

In Pontiac, where General Motors controls all politics, the Black 
Legion organization elected most of the city administration in 
1934. Its immediate step following election was to unseat the old 
police chief from power, because Black Legionnaires under him 
had been promised promotions after election, A public hearing 
took place on the issue during the winter of 1934-35. Black Legion 

32 



membership of several police officers and county officials was 
exposed. It was the main topic in Pontiac for months. But nothing 
came of the whole affair. The police head eventually had to resign. 

Ohio Farmer Told "G-Men" 

William M. Smith, a farmer of Lima, Ohio, said he had told 
police and a "G-Man" eight months before the Poole murder, 
how he and several others were "taken for a ride" to be initiated 
in the Black Legion. He was released after refusing to accept the 
oath, but was warned that he would be "finished in 24 hours" if 
he "squawked". Sheriff W. E. Kelley of that district stated thai 
he had also asked the Department of Justice to investigate the 
Black Legion and the threats to Smith in September, 1935, but 
that nothing came of that. 

The "Colonel" Arrested in 1935 

On August 12, 1935, nine months before the Poole murder, 
Detroit police acted on a tip by Albert Bates, a Ford employee 
whom the Black Legion had marked for initiation. They arrested 
three men — Harvey Davis, Lowell Rushing and Earl Mullen. The 
men had with them black robes, hoods adorned with skull and 
cross-bones, several pistols, rope, adhesive tape and Black Legion 
literature. The arrest was reported under a headline across the 
front page of the Detroit Times on August 13. 

The Davis arrested is the same "Colonel" Davis who directed 
the Poole killing. Rushing was also one of the killers. From as 
much as leaked out through the Detroit Times, it is evident that 
police knew enough of the hooded organization to warrant serious 
action. But for some "strange" reason the three were released. 
The fact that, as the Times reported, Detective Harry Mikuliak, 
director of the "Red squad", was investigator in the case may 
ihrow some light on the reason. 

Federal Men on Case in 1935 

Ten days later, on August 22, three other Detroit men were 
arrested near Adrian, Mich. They were Elsworth Shinneberry, 
Roy L. Hepner and Andrew Martin. Then, too, police came upon 

33 



the scene when a ceremony of the Legion was about to begin. 
Again police found black hoods, knives and guns. These, the 
prisoners explained, according to the Detroit Times of Aug. 23, 
were for "protection against Communists". The Times story 
mentioned the Black Legion by name and that "following the 
arrests a federal investigator was sent here from Detroit". The 
Detroit Times also carried the information that Harry Z. Marx, 
who has already been introduced in this pamphlet as Director of 
ihe Wolverine Club and whose office is the headquarters of that 
Black Legion organization, appeared as lawyer for the three. Sub- 
sequently, the men were released, because a judge said "the 
search was performed without a warrant". 

Who are the men that were released? Hepner was arrested on 
charges of being the "Colonel" in the Kingsley murder plot. 
He was also director of one burning of the Workers' Camp. 
Hepner will also be remembered as one of three gentlemen who 
came to the Hudson Company to demand the discharge of John 

Bielak. 

Martin was one of those arrested for directing a flogging and 
kidnapping expedition. This Martin was another one of the three 
who visited the Hudson Company. 

Small wonder, then, that the Black terrorists flourished. 

Finally, at a moment when the eyes of the entire country were 
on the horrors disclosed in Michigan, Attorney General Homer 
S. Cummings unblushingly issued a statement in which he ad- 
mitted that he "had known of the Black Legion for about a year" 
but took no action because "no federal law was violated". 

This was Cummings' answer to thousands of telegrams and 
letters from every part of the country calling for federal action 
against the Black Legion. Similarly Congress adjourned and 
ignored the Benson resolution. 

Yet no resolutions or telegrams are required to get the forces 
of the government to chase after a Dillinger. 

The Black Legion's already known criminal record put in the 
shade the acts of a hundred Dillingers. But what is still more 
serious, the Black legion organizes the forces that are threatening 
the very existence of the United States as a republic. They are 
undercover Storm Troopers! 

34 



VII. 
A NATIONAL MENACE 

The Black Legion is not a purely Michigan phenomenon. It is 
a national menace and threatens the freedom of every American. 
Michigan, much cultivated by reaction, only bore the first fruits 
of Black Legion ism. 

The real parent of the Black Legion is the Liberty League, and 
that organization is nationwide. 

The Black Legion spawns from the Red-baiting and false 
Americanism which are poured out daily through Hearst news- 
papers, Coughlin broadcasts, magazines such as Liberty, and films 
such as "Red Salute". This is a network that reaches into every 
town and ham lei. 

The Republican Party has especially taken to supporting 
organizations such as the Black Legion, and as a result has given 
;i new lease of life to many outfits with a similar program that 
operate in other states. 

Like Nazis — Like Legion 

The Black Legion resembles closely the type of organization 
upon which fascism rode into power in Germany. The Nazi 
program was also founded on a war against Communists, Catho- 
lics, Jews, and other races and nationalities. Division of the peo- 
ple on religious or racial lines was necessary if resistance was to 
be broken down to a fascist dictatorship of the industrialists and 
bankers. 

The Black Legion's acts of murder, burning of workers 7 camps, 
bombing of labor institutions, floggings, and anti-labor provoca- 
tions are the American counterpart to the acts of the Nazi Storm 
Troopers. The Nazis, too, sent squads and "triggetmen" to lie in 
wait in some dark alley for a labor organizer; or to crawl up to 
the home of a Communist, Socialist, Catholic or Jew, in the dead 
of night for an arson job. They employed the same cowardly, 
sneaky methods. 

The Nazis, like the Black Legion, attracted with their appeal an 
element of morons and various types of druvnci alts. Th<» r .J , 

35 



could not think for themselves but allowed themselves to be 
impressed as blind dupes, the cowardly, sadist types, were candi- 
dates for the Nazis, as for the Legion. A common performance 
in the Black Legion is to tie the victim to a tree hi a position for 
a whipping, while black-robed knights of "Americanism" form 
a circle to delight in the show. They recruit the type that will 
jump at a chance to lake part in a "necktie party". 

Like the Nazis, the Black Legion has a military set-up. Each 
member is required to obtain arms. In fact, recruiting is con- 
centrated among armed individuals— policemen, prison guards, 
rifle club members, sheriffs, National Guard officers, and various 
other police officials. 

If given an opportunity to develop further, the Black Legion 
can advance to as strong a position as the Nazis held before they 
seized power, when they broke up workers' demonstrations and 
picket lines and came down like vandals upon workers* neighbor- 
hoods. Its propaganda can confuse masses of the least experi- 
enced workers. 

Why No Federal Action? 

Why doesn't the federal government take action? President 
Roosevelt has declared repeatedly that he opposes fascism. Why 
didn't the Democratic-controlled Congress and Senate pass the 
Benson resolution for a federal investigation? 

The answer is clear. If the investigation were carried beyond 
Michigan it would reach into the Southern states where the K.K.K. 
is strong and where Roosevelt has his main base of support. 
Arising during an election year, the issue was simply shelved. 

For that reason, United States Attorney General Cummings 
stated that "no federal laws were violated", despite the over- 
whelming evidence that the organization operated in several states 
and that its national headquarters was located in Ohio. 

White-Robed Lynchers Vote Democratic 

While trying to win the support of the workers and farmers 
with high-sounding phrases against fascism and "autocracy", 
Roosevelt will not take a single step against his white-robed lynch- 
ers in the South. This is why, though the Department of Justice 

36 



admitted that iL knew of the Black Legion for over a year, not a 
move was made so much as to inform the people of Michigan of 
the great danger. The murder of Poole, and other murders that 
have been committed since that time, might have been forestalled. 

The acts of the Black Legion were not the first test that con- 
fronted the Roosevelt administration. The issue was dodged 
when policemen and Klansmen of Tampa, of the Democratic state 
of Florida, kidnaped and flogged several Socialists. The leader, 
Joseph Shoemaker, was flogged to death. Appeals to the Presi- 
dent brought no federal action. 

In the state of Arkansas, where Democrats reign supreme, 
sharecroppers are kidnaped, beaten and run out of regions by 
organized vigilantes. Appeals to the President are cold-shoul- 
dered. General Hugh Johnson said he spoke in the name of 
the president when he openly incited California vigilantes to attack 
the striking marine workers. 

Similarly, in Alabama, the nine Scottsboro boys are held for 
execution by a Democratic state government. Most lynchings take 
place in states where Roosevelt's party is in power. Governor 
Earle of Pennsylvania and other prominent Democrats issue state- 
ments about the Black Legion being Republican, hut they close 
their eyes to their own back yards. 

It is not the Roosevelt government that will turn back the 
fascist terrorists, but the organized forces of the workers, farmers 
and common people themselves. Such organized expression is 
the rising Farmer-Labor Party and the sweeping movement toward 
industrial unionism. 



37 



VIII. 

FALSE AMERICANISM— ITS NEW HOOD 

We have seen the work of the Black Legion. We have seen 
that it is an organization whose existence can under no circum- 
stances be justified or tolerated. An organization that murders 
innocent people, that moves about secretly in the dark with hooded 
lobes, that is compelled to shanghai its members and retain them 
by threat of assassination — such an organization is repugnant 
to everything that is progressive and genuinely American. 

Yet there are those who, though not daring openly to favor the 
Black Legion because of the tremendous sentiment that has been 
aroused against it, have nevertheless found a way to defend 
it under cover, because they see in the Black Legion the very 
type of fascist organization that they themselves are aiming to 
establish. The cover under which they shamelessly defend this 
band of terrorists is false Americanism. These elements used 
every possible trick to play down the exposure of the Black 
Legion. They immediately tagged it a "cult". The aim was to 
picture the Legion as a sort of strange creation to be classed 
with Voodoos or some other peculiar worshipers. When this 
failed, they quickly swung over to the "old stand-by" — the Black 
Legion is against Communism. 

First in this sinister game are the debased newspapers of 
William Randolph Hearst, who voices the sentiment of every 
reactionary and would-be fascist. The Detroit Times was the 
vanguard in this. Waiting until publicity on the Black Legion 
subsided, the Times suddenly jumped out with an eight column 
head over quotations from a sermon by a Reverend Savage of 
Pontiac, who was linked with the Black Legion early in the 
investigation. Parts of the sermon reported were as follows: 

Black Legion Gospel 

"American patriots should organize to defy the terrible danger of 
Communism. As a result of the feeling that is being cleverly stirred 
by Communists, every anti-Communist is being eyed suspiciously as 
a member of the Black Legion. 

"Innocent men are in jail, courageous men are being fired from 

38 






the police force, and an intelligent organization that was doing what 
the government was failing to do has been disrupted. 

"A group of men who wanted to fight what the Pope of the 
Roman Catholic Church calls the 'world's greatest danger* found 
themselves mixed with others who wanted to fight other nationalities 
and other religions. 

"Now why do so many citizens feel called upon to unite with such 
an organization? Do you realize that since Miss Perkins has been 
Secretary of Labor there have not been deportations of alien agi- 
tators? And why should she, when the government supports Com- 
monwealth College, a Communist training school at Mena, Arkansas? 

"Earl Browder, head of the Communist Party* in a platform given 
out last Sunday, advocates war and revolution [!!]. This same Earl 
Browder is also vice-president of the League Against War and 
Fascism." (Detroit Times, July 6, 1936.) 

Reverend Frank Norris, the notorious tabernacle Red-baiter, 
who is often publicized by the Hearst papers, delivered a similar 
sermon on the following Sunday in Detroit. 

Gospel of the Manufacturers 

But those were not the expressions of only these preachers of 
Black Legion gospel. Their sermons are the voice of the Michigan 
Manufacturers' Association. The line for their sermons was pub- 
lished over a month earlier, on the very week that the Black 
Legion took the headlines. The author is one Jacob Spolansky, 
a White-Guard Russian, notorious as an industrial spy organizer 
and an "expert" against Communists, employed by the Michigan 
Manufacturers' Association at that time. Significantly, it was 
during the week that the Black Legion was exposed that Spolansky 
found it opportune to issue a newspaper called The Argus. The 
paper, full of mysterious advertisements obviously serving only 
as receipts for donations from manufacturers, was devoted to 
defending the Black Legion, It was distributed among factory 
workers in large numbers. 

The Black Legionnaires behind the bars did their part to help 
their defenders. They issued repeated statements again.si Com 
munism and swore over and over that they were primarily an 
anti-Communist organization. Many claimed thai fchey had boWl 
deceived as to the other parts of the Legion's program, 

"Last Refuge of a Scoundrel" 
The old adage that "Patriotism is the last refuge of a iCOUnd 

39 



applies nowhere more strongly than to the defenders of the Black 
Legion. Their argument is that the Communists are the ones who 
are trying to upset the American Constitution. Therefore the 
vilest crime is justified in order to "save the Constitution". 

It should also he pointed out that the Legion gets its definition 
of a Communist from the vile Hearst papers. By Communists 
they mean the labor and progressive movement as a whole — 
active unionists, liberals, progressive churchmen, and such. In 
fact, they even believe in Hearst's ballyhoo that Roosevelt and 
his brain trust are "Reds". 

But the deeds of the Black Legion speak much louder than all 
their belated ravings to save themselves. It is the Black Legion 
that has been the violator of the constitutional rights of freedom 
of speech, press, and assemblage. It is the Black Legion that was 
brought into being to undermine the century-old traditions of 
American liberties. 

The New Hood 

The Legion's cry of Americanism is only another hood under 
which it conceals its anti-American intentions. The acts and the 
program, as expressed in the Legion's oath, have nothing in com- 
mon with the Americanism of the founders of this country. The 
Black Legion carries forward the rotten reaction of the Tories, 
of the Benedict Arnolds, the Southern slave-owners, the killers 
of John Brown. It has brought its program and actions up to 
date to suit the requirements of the modern enslavers of the 
American people— the logical descendants of the Tory aristo- 
crats — the du Ponts, Fords, Chryslers, Sloans, and their like. 

The truth is that only the militant fighters in the labor move- 
ment can rightfully call themselves Americans. Only these ele- 
ments carry forward the revolutionary traditions of the founders 
of America. 

The founders of our country wanted us to be free and equal, but 
the Black Legion's program of race supremacy and Negro-baiting 
stinks of the slave market. Washington, Jefferson, Paine, Lincoln 
and such as they, hoped this country would always be free to all 
oppressed people, but the Black Legion wants to drive out all 
"aliens". One of the cardinal principles of true Americanism is 
freedom of worship and tolerance of all religions, but the Black 

40 



Legion has declared war on Catholics and Jews. The pride of 
every true American is that our country was one of the first to 
inscribe upon its banner the right of free speech, assemblage 
and press, but the Black Legion would take us back to the Middle 
Ages, as Hitler did in Germany, and has resorted to the vilest 
crimes to undermine movements not to its liking. It is not the 
Communists who stand for violence. It is the Legion that states 
in unmistaken terms in its oath that it will employ "guerilla 
methods" and violence "if necessary" to attain its aims. 

The same cry of violence that is raised against Communists 
is raised against the unions. But it has been proved repeatedly 
that the only cause of violence is the armed thugs, strikebreakers, 
mobsters and Black Legions of the employers. The Communist 
Party gave a clear answer to this slander through its candidate 
for President, Earl Browder, who said in his report to the Party's 
recent Ninth Convention: 

"The Communist Party must use the opportunity of this election 
campaign to smash once and for all the superstition, which has been 
embodied in a maze of court decisions having the force of law, that 
our Party is an advocate of force and violence, that it is subject to 
laws (Federal immigration laws, state 'criminal syndicalism' laws) 
directed against such advocacy. The Communist Party is not a con- 
spirative organization, it is an open revolutionary party, continuing 
the traditions of 1776 and 1861; it is the only organization that is 
really entitled by its program and work to designate itself as 'sons 
and daughters of the American Revolution'. Communists are not 
anarchists, not terrorists. The Communist Party is a legal party 
and defends its legality. Prohibition of advocacy of force and vio- 
lence does not apply to the Communist Party; it is properly applied 
only to the Black Legion, Ku Klux Klan and other fascist groupings, 
and to the strikebreaking agencies and the open-shop employers 
who use them against the working class, who are responsible for the 
terrible toll of violence which shames our country.*' 

No! The Black Legion has nothing in common with American- 
ism. Neither has Hearst, or any of those who defend the terror- 
Legion. The Black Legion symbolizes those dark forces that are 
today threatening everything that is dear to an American. 

What shall we do to scotch this Black Legion? What shall we 
do to drive out of existence all such organizations the country 
over? What can we do to safeguard the hard-gained civil liberties 
of the American people? 

41 



»x. 
STAMP OUT THE BLACK LEGION 

The people of Michigan have long felt the black hand that 
was throttling their civil liberties. The climax was reached in the 
spring of 1935, when reactionary forces united to pass the Dunckel- 
Baldwin gag bill. The bill was a replica of the most sweeping 
of the criminal syndicalism laws that were passed in many 
states immediately after the war. It went as far as to declare 
guilty of a felony a landlord who rents a meeting place to an 
organization that "advocates the overthrow of the government by 
force and violence" and anyone who may possess any literature 
"advocating the overthrow ..." 

The labor organizations sounded the alarm. This bill was seen 
not only as an attack upon Communists but upon the entire labor 
movement. It was seen as a weapon with which to frame trade 
union leaders and all people who express progressive thoughts. 
It was generally agreed that the gagging of Communists is only 
a beginning to gagging the people of the United States, Almost 
overnight the forces of progress united. Among them were ele- 
ments that for a long time fought each other bitterly. The Detroit 
Federation of Labor, and other central labor bodies, Communist 
Parly, Socialist Party, numerous local unions, independent unions, 
Civil Liberties Union, fraternal organizations, the Farmers Union, 
the Methodist and other churches, liberal groups — in all 311 
organizations that total a membership of almost a half million. 
They formed the Conference for Protection of Civil Rights. 

Two Armies Meet 

On the other side of the battlefield combined the very same 
dark forces who a year later were found so intimately connected 
with the Black Legion. Foremost among them was former Gov- 
ernor Brucker. 

The first big clash came when a hearing was arranged on the 
bill in the State Capitol. The forces of progress were there in a 
united front representing their respective organizations. Spokes- 

42 



men for the reactionaries were Brucker, a White-Guard Russian, 
representatives of committees on "subversive activities" from 
veteran organizations, and representatives of the Manufacturers 
Association. 

The state legislators were greatly alarmed at the rise of the 
people. They amended and toned down the bill. But the Con- 
ference for Protection of Civil Rights continued to arouse a still 
greater sentiment. Finally on the very last day of the legislature, 
when it was planned to railroad the bill through, there came a 
mass delegation of workers and farmers from all parts of Michi- 
gan. The gallery was full. The legislators became increasingly 
uneasy. Finally they put through a face-saving substitute with 
the teeth out. The bill was quietly shelved, and was not used for 
over a year after its passage. The reactionaries evidently recog- 
nize that they cannot do very much with it. The people of 
Michigan gained a partial but an important victory. 

"Vigilance Is the Price of Liberty" 

Ever since, the Conference for Protection of Civil Rights has 
continued and has held together the many organizations. Its 
watchword has been "Vigilance is the Price of Liberty". For 
more than a year it has presented a people's front movement 
against every expression of reaction, and on many occasions has 
beaten the reactionaries back. One of its outstanding campaigns 
was the movement for the removal of Police Commissioner General 
Heinrich "Hitler" Pickert (as he is now known). It compiled 
affidavits, and brought together witnesses to back its petition, 
which listed a long series of crimes by the police depart- 
ment since the General took command. The bill of particulars 
recounted the killing of at least eight individuals by policemen 
on mere suspicion of crime, among them two 14-year-old boys; 
clubbing of strikers; the refusal to apprehend bombers of labor 
halls, who were, in fact, encouraged by the police; the banning 
»f workers' films; the breaking up of meetings, etc., etc. 

After months of effort to get a city council hearing on the 
petition, it was finally granted. Preceding that, however, the 
black forces were busy in the plants, offices, and government 
departments collecting signatures in Pickert's behalf. Their col- 

43 



lectors were foremen, officers of the American Legion, policemen 
and such. 

Same United Fronts 

When the hearing came, ag3in the two armies faced each other 
in the city council — the same united front of the people against 
the same reactionaries who gathered at the State Capitol. Detroit 
has not yet reached a point where a council will discharge its 
cwn police commissioner because the people demand it. But the 
commissioner came out of the situation greatly discredited. And 
this is a serious matter to a "little Hitler". 

Significantly, on the very day that the Council Chamber was 
the scene of these two armies, on May 22, the newspapers broke 
the story on the Poole murder and Black Legion. It immediately 
came to mind that here is the organization that has been men- 
acing the rights of the people of Detroit for years, and that the 
police department has allowed them to do it freely. 

The conference threw its united forces into a drive against the 
Black Legion. Thanks to its work much was uncovered and author- 
ities were forced to conduct what fruitful investigation there was. 
The conference brought together a large committee of prominent 
leaders to back its demand for federal action. 

An Example to Be Followed 

The work of the Conference for Protection of Civil Rights is 
an example of the type of action that must be carried on in 
every state and city in the United States, In most cities the 
American League Against War and Fascism expresses such 
united movement. The League, during its four years of existence, 
has been crowned with great success and rapid growth. Its 
affiliated organizations today count over two million members. 
In many parts of the country the League has as broad a repre- 
sentation as the Conference in Detroit. A significant feature of 
the League is that it is based on the understanding that fascism 
and war are twin dangers, that the very same sinister forces that 
endeavor to rob the people of their liberties plot to plunge them 
into a war. The Conference in Detroit has already taken an interest 
in the struggle against war, and a further development along 
that line can be expected. 

44 



In such manner, the p<:ople are awakening to the danger that 
faces America. But the fight for civil rights cannot be separated 
from the struggle of the working people for a happy America. 

Stop Landon! 

An immediate task is to concentrate all strength to defeat the 
chief enemy of the common people, the Liberty League-Hearst- 
Republican combine. If their candidate, Alf Landon, wins, the 
reactionary organizations in the country will hold a field day. 
Like blood-hounds they will be let loose upon the unions and 
the farmers' organizations. The Republican open-shop admini- 
stration of Michigan will he a pattern for the entire country. 

The main forces against Black Legionism will come from the 
growing independent political movement of the workers and 
farmers — the Farmer-Labor Party and the organizations that 
support it. Unfortunately, a national Farmer-Labor ticket was not 
yet possible in 1936. But there is a nationwide campaign to elect 
Farmer-Labor candidates to Congress, and to state and local 
offices. In some instances there are independent labor tickets that 
have I fie backing of workers' and farmers' organizations. The 
Communist Party has declared its full support of ail such candi 
dates and put its own in the field only where there are none. In 
any case, only these candidates represent a genuine struggle 
against fascism. Their platforms call for suppression of the Black 
Legions and spy agencies, and for the full right to organize. 

Organize Industrial Unionsl 

But there is still another important task. To combat the forces 
<>l inaction, the workers need strong industrial unions In all mass 
production and basic industries such as automobile, steel, metal, 
mining, textile, and radio. It is precisely where these industries 
are centered that reaction reigns supreme and Black Legions 
grow. Only a powerful trade-union movement can defeat reac- 
tion in these parts. John L. Lewis, Chairman of the Committee for 
Industrial Organization; Francis Gorman, leader of the textile 
workers; Phillip Murray, director of the campaign to organize 
the steel workers, and other industrial-union leaders frankly stated 
at the Atlantic City convention of the American Federation of 

45 



Labor that the serious threat of fascism makes imperative rapid 
organization of the workers into powerful industrial unions. They 
pointed to what has happened to the labor movements of Germany, 
Italy and Austria. 

A powerful steel workers' union, a powerful union of automo- 
bile workers, can ride like a giant caterpillar tank over the Black 
Legions, spy agencies and strikebreakers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
Michigan, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, and other states. Com- 
pany towns would give way to a new day for the workers. 

Stamp Out "Red-Baiting" Poison! 

Finally, if organizations of the Black Legion type are really 
to be rooted out, it is necessary to stamp out the poison propa- 
ganda of the patrioteers and Red-baiters. Their rantings through 
the yellow journals against the "Reds" and "aliens" have nothing 
in common with the interests of true Americans, and should be 
rejected everywhere. It is their poison that brings division into 
the workers' ranks through the color line in some unions. A 
trade union that excludes workers because of their membership 
in the Communist or Socialist Party is doing precisely what the 
labor-hating master-minds in the Black Legion would want it to 
do. Members of the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign 
Wars, who allow themselves to be used against any workers' 
organizations, are similarly playing into the hands of those who 
conceived of the Black Legion, 

What we have seen in the Black Legion is only an advance 
warning of the kind of people that may overrun the country like 
vandals. We have seen how Nazism sprouted in America. It 
is thrown up by the Ku Klux Klan, by strikebreaking vigilantes, 
industrial spies and by reactionary political circles. Their backers 
are the big industrialists and bankers united in the Liberty-League- 
Hearst-Republican combination. 

This election campaign furnishes an opportunity for the 
American people to advance against the horrors of Black Legion- 
ism and to stamp out every outfit of its ilk. The central political 
issue of the day is the fight to maintain and extend the democratic 
rights of the people in the traditional spirit of true Americanism. 

The true Americans will not be found among the top-hat 

46 




backers of Air London lth« an i •...ill. , Chartee E. Coughlin, 
Rev. Gerald Smith, heii to Mii.'v Long'i movement, Hearst, or 
any of these gentlemen who drape theiriHelves in the American 
flag. These people defame Americanism only to conceal their 
attempts to destroy the lnsi irstige of democratic rights. 

The 1936 election should result in these elements being driven 
out of public life. The true Americans will be found in the very 
movements that have been the main target of these reactionaries— 
in the growing united movement of Communists, Socialists, pro- 
gressive trade unions, farmers and middle class organizations. 
This people's front is advancing despite many obstacles. It is 
taking shape in the Farmer-Labor Party movement that has swept 
the country— and there could be no greater blow against reac- 
tion than a mighty vote for candidates of the Farmer-Labor 
Party or those who support such a party. 



47 




Ttp/iA. "Mnvp Ah nut 

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN - GEN LIBS 



3QD527b331 



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ale at These 
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