(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The American Negro in the Communist Party"

BOSTOIM 
PUBLIC 
LIBRARY 







L 



THE 
AMERICAN NEGRO 

IN THE 
COMMUNIST PARTY 




DECEMBER 22, 1954 



U 






Prepared and released by the 

Committee on Un-American Activities, U. S. House of Representatives 

Washington, D.O 




COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 
United States House op Representatives 

HAROLD H. VELDE, Illinois, Chairman 

BERNARD W. KEARNEY, New York FRANCIS ."E. WALTER, Pennsylvania 

DONALD L. JACKSON, California MORGAN M. MOULDER, Missouri 

KIT CLARDY, Michigan CLYDE DOYLE, California 

GORDON H. SOHERER, Ohio JAMES B. FRAZIER, Jr., Tennessee 

Robert L. Kunzig, Counsel 

Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., Counsel 

Thomas W. Beale, Sr., Chief Clerk 

Raphael I. Nixon, Director of Research 

Courtney E. Owens, Chief Investigator 



n 



Ml 



r 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Foreword 1 

Background - 2 

The Communist Line on "The Negro Nation" 4 

The Negro Commission of the Communist Party 6 

The Communist Betrayal of the American Negro 7 

Communist Negro Front Organizations and Publications 10 

Communist Activities Among Negro Youth 12 

Index 14 

in 



. 



Public Law 601, 79th Congress 

The legislation under which the House Committee on Un-American 
Activities operates is Public Law 601, 79th Congress [1946], chapter 
753, 2d session, which provides: 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States 
of America in Congress assembled, * * * 

PART 2— RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 
* ****** 

Rule X 

SEC. 121. STANDING COMMITTEES 
******* 

17. Committee on Un-American Activities, to consist of nine members. 
******* 

Rule XI 

POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMITTEES 
******* 

(q) (1) Committee on Un-American Activities. 

(A) Un-American activities. 

(2) The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a whole or by subcommit- 
tee, is authorized to make from time to time investigations of (i) the extent, 
character, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, 
(ii) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American propa- 
ganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and attacks 
the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitution, and 
(hi) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress in any necessary 
remedial legislation. 

The Committee on Un-American Activities shall report to the House (or to the 
Clerk of the House if the House is not in session) the results of any such investi- 
gation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable. 

For the purpose of any such investigation, the Committee on Un-American 
Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such 
times and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, 
has recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance 
of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and 
to take such testimony, as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued under 
the signature of the chairman of the committee or any subcommittee, or by any 
member designated by any such chairman, and may be served by any person 
designated by any such chairman or member. 

v 



RULES ADOPTED BY THE 83D CONGRESS 
House Resolution 5, January 3, 1953 

-¥■ ^ ^ ^ ^ *p 3|» 

Rule X 

STANDING COMMITTEES 

1. There shall be elected by the House, at the commencement of each Con- 
gress, the following standing committees: 

******* 
(q) Committee on Un-American Activities, to consist of nine members. 
******* 

Rule XI 

POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMITTEES 
******* 

17. Committee on Un-American Activities. 

(a) Un-American Activities. 

(b) The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a whole or by subcommittee, 
is authorized to make from time to time, investigations of (1) the extent, char- 
acter, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, 
(2) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American prop- 
aganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and 
attacks the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitu- 
tion, and (3) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress 
in any necessary remedial legislation. 

The Committee on Un-American Activities shall report to the House (or to the 
Clerk of the House if the House is not in session) the results of any such investi- 
gation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable. 

For the purpose of any such investigation, the Committee on Un-American 
Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such times 
and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, has 
recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance 
of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and 
to take such testimony, as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued under 
the signature of the chairman of the committee or any subcommittee, or by any 
member designated by such chairman, and may be served by any person desig- 
nated by any such chairman or member. 

VI 



THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

FOREWORD 

The Communist Party in the United States of America, in its 
continuing efforts to infiltrate and destroy the constitutional govern- 
ment of this country, has made the minority groups in the United 
States prime targets of attack. The control of majorities by minorities 
is a fundamental precept of Marxism and the individual Communist 
agent and party member has been drilled and schooled in the tech- 
niques and tactics of achieving such control through organized and 
pliable minorities. To this end the Communist conspiracy has 
concentrated on capturing smaller groups with the ultimate objective 
of seizure of the whole. One of the principal goals of the Communist 
Party in the United States is the infiltration and control of the Negro 
population in this country. 

The House Committee on Un-American Activities has prepared 
this report in order to demonstrate some of the efforts that have been 
made by the Communist Party in this area and to recount the failure 
of the Communist experiment. It is hoped that this report may be a 
warning to other groups which find themselves, as minorities, targets 
of Communist infiltration and deception. 

The fact that the Communist conspiracy has experienced so little 
success in attracting the American Negro to its cause reflects favorably 
on the loyalty and integrity of the vast majority of the 15,000,000 
Negro citizens. To attest to this fact we restate the words of Mr. 
J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 
which appeared in the Congressional Record of January 26, 1953: 

We recently reviewed the origins of 5,395 of the leading members of the 
Communist Party. The results were most interesting. Only 411 were Negroes 
but of the remaining 4,984, we found that 4,555, or 9lV 2 percent were either of 
foreign birth or born of foreign parents. * * * The fact that only 411 Negroes 
were found in this select group is strong evidence that the American Negro is 
not hoodwinked by these false messiahs. 

In furtherance of its traitorous design the Communist Party of the 
United States has exploited issues of genuine concern to the American 
Negro and all Americans. But as this report will show, the Com- 
munist has always been guided by the directives from the leader- 
ship of the international conspiracy and has betrayed the Negro's 
cause whenever it was expedient to further the policies of turmoil, 
dissention, and rebellion. 

The House Committee on Un-American Activities does not possess 
the power to bring quick solution to the undeniable and vexing social 
and economic problems bearing on the harmonious coexistence of 
American citizens of different races or creeds. The committee has 
done everything in its power to nullify the efforts of certain groups to 
use the committee as a means of fostering and furthering bigotry and 



2 THE AMERICAN NEGRO EST THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

intolerance. 1 One thing is certain, however, and that is that there 
has been no group within the United States or elsewhere which has 
realized the solution of its problems by embracing the Communist 
ideology. 

The Communist has been adroit at exploiting social problems to 
confuse rather than correct inequities and injustices. In no instance 
is this fact more clearly exemplified than in the Communist efforts to 
exploit racial problems in the United States. Testimony and records 
of this committee establish beyond any doubt that the work of the 
Communist Party has been one of the greatest deterrents to recognition 
and realization of the legitimate aspirations of the American Negro. 
In this, as in many fields, the efforts of the Communist have done 
much to negate the efforts of sincere students and workers who have 
tried genuinely to cope with social and economic problems in this field. 

This report, the committee believes, will expose the true purposes of 
the Communist Party in relation to this and other minority groups. 

BACKGROUND 

Information concerning the early efforts of the Communist Party 
to infiltrate and influence the American Negro population is reflected 
in the testimony of William Odell Nowell before the Special Commit- 
tee on Un-American Activities on November 30, 1939. Nowell, an 
American Negro, had been a member and officer of the Communist 
Party, USA, from the summer of 1929 until the latter part of 1936. 
He testified that in 1929 he had gone to Russia as a representative of 
the Communist Party of the United States. While in Russia he 
had several conferences with the Negro department of the Communist 
International and he testified that during the years 1928-30 the Com- 
munist International formulated a new program with respect to the 
American Negro. 

Nowell recounted that the question of the American Negro had first 
arisen at the Second World Congress of the Communist International 
in 1920, at which time the American Negro had been discussed as a 
"national" minority rather than a "racial" minority. The discussions 
and plans considered during the 1928-30 period were to carry out a 
program to organize a separate Negro state and government in the 
southern part of the United States. 

These discussions in the Negro department of the Communist 
International, according to Nowell, eventually led to the issuance 
of a resolution from the executive committee of the Communist 
International to the Communist Party in the United States. This 
resolution extablished the new program for Communist efforts to 
organize the American Negro. According to Nowell, the Communists 
theorized that American Negroes throughout some hundred-odd 
counties extending from Virginia to the Mississippi delta comprised a 
national minority, a national group, and a majority of the population 
throughout that area. The resolution directed that the Communist 
Party in the United States should organize the Negroes in that area 
along the line of a "revolutionary program" to ally them with the 
workers, or the "proletariat" as the Communists called them, and to 
use the Negro as a force supplementing and assisting the party in 

1 See "Preliminary Report on Neo-Fascist and Hate Groups," published by the House Committee on 
Un- American Activities on December 17, 1954 



THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 3 

carrying out a policy of revolution. Nowell testified that this southern 
state composed of Negroes was to be considered a "buffer state," that 
it was to be a state established on the Soviet plan and under Soviet 
leadership. Nowell testified that the Communist strategy in this 
program was plain and he stated: 

The plans were carefully laid out that in the event perhaps if it were not pos- 
sible to organize such a state before a revolution took place in the United States, 
but in the event that this country went to war, let us say, with Japan, or found 
itself for other reasons, due to depression or any circumstance that might weaken 
the national economy and arouse a great deal of discontent throughout the 
country, this would be the time to strike; this would be the time to utilize this 
position to set up a Negro republic in the South. 

The 1930 resolution of the executive committee of the Communist 
International, according to Nowell, stated very definitely that the 
Communist Party should organize the colored people of the South 
for the purpose of setting up a separate state and government in the 
South. Nowell recognized the Communists' purpose as twofold and 
described these as follows: 

In the course of publicizing, agitating for the immediate demands for the 
poor farmers, and so forth in the South, this movement would gain momentum. 
Therefore, the resolution states in any contingency, while the workers of the 
North, or the industrial workers throughout the country were organizing to 
strike against the system of capitalism for their independence, and for the over- 
throw and the setting up of the dictatorship of the proletariat, this national 
minority will bring up the rear, so to speak. That is, its revolt will serve as a 
tremendous means of weakening the entire system and therefore furthering 
the possibility for the industrial workers of the North to achieve their objectives. 

At this point the committee cannot stress too strongly that this 
program was one formulated by the executive committee of the Com- 
munist International and not even by the Communist Party of the 
United States. There is no evidence that any responsible member 
or element of the Negro people in the United States did then or does 
now advocate such a course of action as called for in the Communist 
program. The fact is that this program of the Communists has with 
the passage of time proven to be one of the greatest deterrents to 
recruitment of American Negroes into the Communist Party. 

Mr. Nowell in his 1939 testimony pointed out that the pursuit of 
such a program by the Communist Party could only result in the 
eventual sacrifice of the American Negro, a thing which, according to 
Nowell, would not be foreign to the Communist code of operations. 
Mr. Nowell described this eventual outcome in this manner: 

So, hence, I have found out through my long experience and through further 
theoretical investigation and study that the whole policy of the establishment of 
a Negro republic in the South, even the practical attempts to work out such a 
program in its more elemental stages and form can only lead to race riots and 
victimizations of the colored people of the South, chaos, and eventually to a com- 
plete sacrifice offer by the party itself. Whether this was subjectively, consciously 
carried out for that purpose, I should not like to think so, that it was the intention 
of all those people who got up there and plugged for it. 

There will be more details devoted to the Communist Party plan 
for a separate state for the American Negro. However, in considering 
the early background of the American Negro and the Communist 
Party, we must review the efforts of the Communist Party to utilize 
the American Negro for propaganda purposes. 

Testimony relevant to this feature of the Communist International 
was received by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 

55160—54 2 



4 THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

San Francisco, Calif., on December 1, 1953, from Mr. Louis Rosser. 
Rosser testified that he had been a member of the Communist Party 
and the Young Communist League in the United States from 1932 
until December 1944. He stated that he, as a Negro, joined the 
Communist Party because he believed that the party was fighting 
against discrimination. Rosser testified that in 1932 the Communist 
Party gathered together a group of reputable young Negro intellectuals 
and persuaded them to visit the Soviet Union. The purpose of this 
visit was ostensibly to make a motion picture in Russia. The movie 
was to be a distorted Russian version of Negro life in America, and 
the movie was to be exhibited in Africa and Asia. Rosser pointed 
out that this excursion to Russia failed to convert these young Ameri- 
can Negroes. Instead, some of those who saw Russia as it really is, 
are among the foremost anti-Communists in America today. 

THE COMMUNIST LINE ON "THE NEGRO NATION" 

It has been pointed out previously in the testimony of William Odell 
Nowell that as early as the Second World Congress of the Communist 
International in 1920, the Communists had decided to cast the 
American Negro as a member of a "national minority." This program 
serves as an excellent example of the deceit of the Communists and 
the manner in which they adapt any problem, social or otherwise, to 
their own selfish and dedicated ends. They have exploited this theme 
of Negro liberation when it served their purposes and abandoned it 
temporarily when it was considered expedient or opportunistic to 
cast it aside. 

We have seen what the Communist approach to this problem was 
during the period 1928-30. The Communist policy 10 years later 
was described by Mr. Louis Rosser. He testified that he had attended 
the 1938 World Congress of the Communist International, and there 
the Communists had devised a slogan of rebellion for the Negro 
people. The Communist tactic during this period was to use the 
American Negro to create confusion and disunity and in this manner 
to assist in bringing about the real aim of the Communist, a proletarian 
revolution. During this period of time the Communist International 
considered that war was imminent. It reasoned that this would either 
be a war against the Soviet Union, or a war between the capitalist 
nations. If it should be a war involving the Soviet Union, it was the 
Communist intention to use the American Negro as a means of creating 
disunity. Rosser described the Communist attitude in this manner: 

Their (the Communist) policy changes as the world situation changes. * * * 
the policy of the Communist Party of America is tied up with the defense of the 
Soviet Union. If things are running all right, the Communist Party makes partial 
demands for the Negroes; they take it easy. If things are going rough, and they 
think the Soviet Union is in danger, the Communist Party raises this slogan again 
of rebellion trying to organize the Negroes to rebel. 

Rosser also testified before the committee that this question of the 
so-called liberation of the American Negro was objected to even by 
those few Negroes who are members and officers of the Communist 
Party. He said: 

In the ranks of the Communist Party there have been big discussions on this 
question, and the majority of the Negro Communists have opposed this and have 
accused the party of attempting to segregate the Negroes once the revolution is 
had and they have also accused them — said that if the Negro would rebel in the 



THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 5 

South, the rest of this country would shoot them down like a bunch of dogs, 
so you can see it is a tactic of the party. 

During the period of 1943-45, when Earl Browder, then leader of 
the Communist Party, called for a united front for both the Com- 
munists and capitalists and offered the theory that communism and 
capitalism could co-exist in the world, the IS! egro program was changed. 
Browder informed the National Committee of the Communist Party 
in America that the Negro was opposed to the establishment of a 
separate state and that the Communist approach to the question had 
been a mistake. The Communist Party also had been renamed 
the Communist Political Association under Browder's leadership. 
Browder was deposed in 1945, and the Communist Party resumed its 
original name. The Communist Party also then revived its original 
policy on the Negro question — the eventual establishment of a sepa- 
rate Negro state. 

Following the reconstitution of the Communist Party and the ouster 
of Browder in 1945, the Negro question was one of the key issues dealt 
with by the Communist leaders. The committee received valuable 
and informed testimony on these actions from Mrs. Barbara Hartle, 
who testified for several days in Seattle, Wash., during June 1954. 
Mrs. Hartle is a former official of the Communist Party who testified 
freely and fully, notwithstanding the fact that she had been convicted 
and sentenced to prison for violation of the Smith Act. Mrs. Hartle 
furnished the committee with first-hand information concerning the 
program devised by the Communist leaders in the United States for 
the American Negro following the dissolution of the Communist 
Political Association and the reconstitution of the Communist Party. 
On this issue she stated: 

According to the Communist theory the Black Belt is the area of Negro majority 
in the South. It cuts across State and county lines, comprises more than a 
hundred counties, and it is the Negro people in this area who are a nation. The 
rest of the Negro people in our country are not a part of this nation, according 
to Communist definition. They are, instead of being a part of a nation, they 
are a national minority, just as the Mexican people, Slavic people, Jewish people, 
or other persons of a definite origin are considered a national minority. 

According to the Communist theory, not all nations are oppressed nations, but 
the Negro nation in the United States of America is considered an oppressed 
nation, and every real — and I do believe that there are real problems of the 
Negro people in the United States of America — and every imagined problem is 
used by the Communist Party as proof that the Negro people is an oppressed 
nation in this country. 

But the basic proof that the Communist Party uses is that the Negro people 
in the South do not own the land in anywhere near the same proportion as white 
people do. 

And so the Communist theory says that the basic problem of the Negro nation 
is land reform. 

Mrs. Hartle related that while the Communist Party used these 
various arguments for the establishment of a separate Negro state, 
the motivating force is still one of disunity, confusion and eventual 
revolution. She explained the ultimate Communist objective in this 
way: 

In order for the working class to be able to assume power, led by the Com- 
munist Party — it is never conceived in the Communist Party that anyone but 
the Communist Party could lead this working class in assuming power — the work- 
ing class must mobilize all the allies it can who will go along with it. If the Negro 
nation will rise and force its own self-determination for land reform and for other 
things that the Negro people do want or should want — if they would do this in 
concert with the working class, this, along with what other allies that might be 



6 THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

mobilized along many other lines, should make a sufficiently strong force to up- 
set the power of the capitalist class and create enough support to make it possible 
for the working class to retain power after seizing it. And it is frankly recognized 
in Communist theory that the whole strategy is not for the main purpose of 
Negro liberation but for the purpose of the proletarian revolution and this is not 
hidden in Communist theory. 

Mrs. Hartle testified that in 1945 she was 1 of 4 delegates from the 
northwest region at the Communist Party's reconstitution convention 
held in New York City. She related how the problem of the Negro 
was taken up at that time: 

That problem was taken up at that time, and there was quite a lot of discussion 
there about how to face the question. The problem was that the Negro people, 
Black Belt or not, very evidently don't want to be considered as a nation — are 
very much opposed to anything that smacks of separation from our country, of 
being set aside separately, and the point was made that, while this basic theoreti- 
cal position was correct and had to be adhered to, that it should not be blared 
forth in any immediate programs, any more than you would go to a labor union 
with a resolution on a raise in wages and then tack on that this is in the best 
interests of the proletarian revolution. And that is the way it was explained, and 
that is why I made the point that it is like the national question as a part of the 
front technique. 

Further describing the attitude of the American Negro toward self- 
betterment, she said: 

My own experience with the Negro people in and around the Communist 
Party had been that they are extremely interested in achieving a status of 
equality with other people; but until they are influenced by communism, it has 
never even entered their heads or their hearts that this ever needs to be in any 
way connected with disloyalty to our country. They consider equality as morally 
right and can be fairly easily attracted into front work that is skillfully done * * * 

If a campaign is launched by the Communist Party that isn't very clearly in 
the interests of the Negro people, it is my experience that they will detect these 
extraneous matters very rapidly and see ulterior motives very quickly, and for 
this reason, I believe the Communist Party is forced to act in its so-called. sin- 
cere way. If the Communist Party wants to make any headway among the 
Negro people, it cannot crowd the issue; it has to work out a simple campaign 
directly based on a need or right of the Negro people and not crowd in other 
matters rapidly, or the Negro people will just disappear from it. 

And if the Communist Party sets up a goal, like a job in a Safeway store, and 
puts on a picket line, maybe the Negro people will feel, "Well, it would be a good 
idea to have a job for a Negro in a store," but if you start carrying banners, you 
know, about 3 or 4 other subjects, this is very quickly detected, and the Negro 
people stay away from and don't want to be involved with a lot of other matters, 
involved matters that according to my understanding as best as I can under- 
stand it, is that they don't want to be disloyal to the country and they don't want 
to fight for things that they don't consider to be morally right. 

Mrs. Hartle summed up her experience with the Negro question 
and the loyalty of the great majority of the American Negroes in 
this manner: 

All of my experiences with the Negro people have indicated no evidence of any 
desire to be disloyal or even a thought of being disloyal until they became some- 
what acquainted with Communist theory and began to think that the only way they 
could get their rights was to be somewhat involved with these other matters. They 
had to be convinced by the Communist Party and by Marxist-Leninist theory, 
and it wasn't an easy thing to do in most cases. 

THE NEGRO COMMISSION OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

There has been considerable testimony before the House Com- 
mittee on Un-American Activities on the organizational structure of 



THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 7 

the Communist Party dealing with the Negro question. In de- 
scribing the structure Mrs. Hartle testified in Seattle as follows: 

As a part of the emphasis on the Negro question, the Communist Party has 
established commissions, standing committees, in the national setup, in the dis- 
tricts, in the divisions of the districts, the regions, and even into the divisions of 
the regions, the sections, so that a system of standing committees on the Negro 
question is in existence much more developed than on any other questions that 
the Communist Party involves itself with. 

These committees are devoted to bringing about the execution of Communist 
policy and program. They are subcommittees of the leading committee of the 
particular jurisdiction and are responsible to it fully. And especially since the 
reconstitution of the Communist Party the practice has been to assign top people, 
top Communist leaders, along with others, on these Negro commissions. And 
my own work on the district Negro commission was a district executive board 
assignment. 

In describing the operations of the Negro commissions of the Com- 
munist Party and the manner in which they carried out the Com- 
munist Party line, Mrs. Hartle stated: 

Yes; these Negro commissions followed the party line exactly the same as any 
other commissions or subcommittees or leading committees. 

The purpose of the commission was not to have a separate line or program, but 
to develop a program of action to bring this line into effect among the Negro 
people. 

After the leading committee approves of a line and program, the commission 
proceeds to assign specific persons and specific groups to carry out certain parts 
of the desired work. And a great deal of advice and attention is given by the 
district and national leadership to the Negro commission — nationally, in the dis- 
trict and in the regions, this is the case. Many articles of guidance are published 
in Political Affairs, which is the theoretical organ of the Communist Party, and 
there is really fundamentally no difference at all theoretically or organizationally 
between the Communist Party's work on the Negro question and on any other 
question. This is not any kind of an independent field, where the Communist 
Party operates, say, as a sort of service organization. 

It is greatly desired, though, by the Communist Party that people should view 
their work in the field of Negro rights as a sort of special -service work. It is 
greatly desired that especially the Negro people should view it as such, but that 
is not the case; it is not a service organization — the Communist Party is not a 
service organization in a certain way for the Negro people. It is a Communist 
Party and its attitude toward the Negro people and Negro nation is exactly the 
same as that to any other group in respect to its objective. 

THE COMMUNIST BETRAYAL OF THE AMERICAN 

NEGRO 

Throughout the testimony of individuals informed on Communist 
exploitation of the American Negro, it has become clear that when- 
ever the occasion presented itself the Communist Party did not 
hesitate to betray the interests of the American Negro. 

Testimony relating to such betrayals was received from Mr. Shel- 
ton Tappes, a Negro union leader of Local 600, United Auto Workers, 
CIO, who appeared before the committee on March 12, 1952, in 
Detroit, Mich. It should be pointed out that while Mr. Tappes 
attended some Communist Party meetings, he testified he never 
became a member of the Communist Party. 

On the betrayal of the Negro by the Communist Party, Mr. Tappes 
had this to say: 

* * * I also feel that the major problems such as lynching, the poll tax, and 
fair employment practices are matters that the American people should very 
vigorously attend to, but I don't agree with the Communist Party of the United 
States who has installed itself as the one agency designed to solve the problems 



8 THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

of the Negro people — I do not believe and I know that they are not sincere in 
their efforts. They have only grabbed the Negro issue as a means through which 
they can attain the help and support of 15 million Negro people in this country in 
furthering their policies of the Soviet Union which they are attached to. 

I know there have been occasions when the Communist Party could have 
proven their sincerity but other parts of their program have been predominant 
to the point that they were willing to forego the rights of the Negro people in order 
to solve their international interest, particularly on their attitude on Negro 
questions during the last war. 

I know of at least one instance and that is the instance of a doctor in the city 
of Detroit who had been drafted into the United States Navy and insisted that in 
answering the draft call, he should be drafted as a physician because he was then 
a practicing medical doctor in this city. I suppose he didn't know too much 
about the Communist Party as to its sincerity and he went to them for help and 
they turned him down saying that winning the war was primary and all of those 
things would have to wait until the war is over. 

One other instance was mentioned yesterday. I remember this particularly 
because I had a personal experience when the National Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Colored People advanced as its program the double V program. 
That was known as victory at home and victory abroad in which they have un- 
slintingly supported the war effort of the country but still contented themselves 
with the domestic programs feeling that both were consistent and the interest 
was the same — we must win both of those battles — and the Communist Party 
was out-spokenly critical of the at-home portion of that double victory program. 

So I could conclude by saying that the Communist Party does not represent 
the chosen spokesmen for the Negro people and that the Negro people know that 
there are many patriotic persons and patriotic organizations with whom they can 
associate themselves, in whom they know they have a real honest and sincere 
interest in seeing that complete democracy is a prevalent thing in this Nation. 

Some of the most enlightening testimony on the vacillations of the 
Communist Party in its exploitation of the cause of the American 
Negro was that given by Mr. Louis Rosser, who has been previously 
referred to. Mr. Rosser attributed his eventual break from the 
Communist Party to the party 's easy betrayal of the Negro. He 
cited as an example the Communists' change in attitude toward the 
Negro at the time of the signing of the Stalin-Hitler Pact on August 
23, 1939. 

Mr. Rosser stated that the Communist Party followed a "united 
front" policy from 1935 up to the signing of the pact, and during that 
period the party had devoted considerable time and effort to fur- 
thering the employment of Negroes in industry. Mr. Rosser said 
that at that time it appeared that Negroes were making positive 
steps in their efforts to seek employment on an equal basis. 

Communist Party policy changed abruptly upon Stalin's alliance 
with Hitler in 1939, however, and the party instructed its members 
to make every effort to sabotage the United States defense mobiliza- 
tion, Mr. Rosser stated. He said that as part of this sabotage effort, 
the Communist Party even attempted to destroy Negro gains which 
the party itself had previously worked for. The Communist Party's 
actions in this respect after the Stalin-Hitler Pact stood out in startling 
contrast to those by non-Communist trade unions and other groups, 
which continued to work for better employment opportunities for 
American Negroes. 

Mr. Rosser related that the Communist Party line during the 
Stalin-Hitler Pact sought to dissuade American Negroes from answer- 
ing a draft call in the event a draft were ordered, on the alleged 
ground that the Army was segregated. The party even went so far 
as to discourage Negroes from giving blood to the Red Cross on the 
claim that Negro blood was being segregated. Meanwhile, the 



THE AMERICAN NEGRO EST THE COMMUNIST PARTY 9 

Communist Party was also preaching that the capitalist world was 
going to attack the Soviet Union, and warning Communists in the 
United States to be ready to lead the American working class in turning 
their guns against their own leaders. 

Mr. Rosser related a particularly striking incident in which the 
Communist Party endeavored to sabotage the sincere efforts of 
reputable American Negroes to seek betterment for the Negro people : 

What caused me to break with the party: The party raised the point during 
this period of Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union that we must fight for jobs, but 
we must see to it that the Negro organizations do not go out of bounds, and to 
give an example, the Negro press kept presenting, even during the time, that the 
FEPC that Roosevelt signed was too weak, Executive Order No. 8802. It didn't 
have any teeth in it, and Randolph, a leader of the pullman porters and the 
Negro people, and Walter White kept pushing for Roosevelt to put teeth in it, 
and the Negro press carried a campaign of double V; victory at home and victory 
abroad — this double V program. The party got sore because the party was 
carrying a program of open-the-second-front, and the party felt that the program 
of these Negro leaders and the Negro press— the leaders of America would think 
that the Communists were pushing these programs. So in a meeting of the Negro 
Commission in southern California it was decided that, and I am sure this came 
from New York, we should put pressure on the Negro press by getting prominent 
Negroes to write to Roosevelt and to the Justice Department that the Negro 
press was inflammatory, and it was dividing the war effort; it was against the war 
effort. 

Randolph had threatened to march on Washington during the Hitler Pact. 
He had threatened to march a hundred thousand Negroes to Washington if they 
didn't sign an FEPC, and after they got it, he threatened again to get teeth in it. 
The Communist Party said that he had to be muzzled, and he was coming to 
Los Angeles in 1942, and I and Pettis Perry were given the job of working out a 
plan how we could discredit Randolph, which the 

Mr. Scherer: Randolph was a Negro? 

Mr. Rosser: Yes, a top Negro. So he was getting a medal that the National 
Association for the Advancement of Colored People give each year to some out- 
standing American Negro, white, or any nationality in the field of human relations, 
and he was getting it for his work of integration of Negroes into industry, and we 
found out that a fellow traveler, Mrs. Charlotta Bass, was speaking the night 
before he was speaking. Mrs. Bass' nephew, who was a writer on the paper — 
she has a paper — had a paper rather, the California Eagle— was a member of the 
Young Communist League. 

We got together with him and convinced him to convince his aunt, Mrs. Bass, 
who already was close to the Communists, but not that close, to allow us to help 
with her speech, and she agreed, and we wrote a speech that praised the Soviet 
Union, that called for the opening of the second front, and that said Randolph 
was a traitor to his country, that his threatened march on Washington was a 
march that would bring chaos and disunite our country at a time when unity is 
needed, and she made that speech, and it created havoc. But it gave the party 
not only the opportunity to discredit this Negro leader, but it gave the party the 
opportunity to reach the top Negroes in America with the program of the Com- 
munist Party at that time. 

This attitude of the Communist Party, according to Mr. Rosser, 
was in sharp contrast to that which the Communist Party adopted 
after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union and the United States had 
entered the war. He recalled that in August 1944 there was an 
explosion in the ammunition dump at Port Chicago, Calif. He 
recalled that following this explosion there was newspaper publicity 
indicating that Negro sailors were refusing to load any more ships 
with ammunition because of the explosion and further, that news- 
paper accounts indicated these Negro sailors might be subject to 
court-martial for their refusal. Rosser stated that upon learning of 
these facts, he went to the Communist headquarters in San Francisco 
and asked Communist leader William Schneiderman what action the 



10 THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

Communist Party would take if there were an attempt to court- 
martial the sailors. Mr. Rosser told Schneiderman: "Ever since I 
have been in the party, every time something happens to a Negro, 
the Communists say, 'Let's do something'." Rosser testified that 
Schneiderman's response to this inquiry was: "Rosser, what is more 
important, loading those ships standing in the harbor for the Soviet 
Union or those 50 men over there who are going to jail?" Rosser 
stated that this, coupled with his experience of other betrayals of the 
American Negroes by the Communist Party, finally determined his 
action in breaking from the Communist Party. 

COMMUNIST NEGRO FRONT ORGANIZATIONS AND 

PUBLICATIONS 

In order to extend its influence, the Communist Party has long 
sought to infiltrate and gain control of many legitimate organizations. 
In many instances, therefore, Communists have attached themselves 
to non-Communist organizations which were genuinely working in 
behalf of the American Negro. 

For the same purpose, the Communist Party has also created hun- 
dreds of organizations of its own, commonly known as "front" groups. 
The groups usually have euphonious titles and slogans designed to 
disguise the actual Communist control. Many of these "front" 
organizations created by the Communist Party have had titles and/or 
programs specifically aimed at attracting support from America's 
Negro population. 

Mr. Manning Johnson, who testified before the committee on July 
14, 1949, in Washington, D. C, is a former Communist who was par- 
ticularly active in the party's efforts to recruit Negro members. 

From the testimony of Mr. Johnson, as well as others who have 
testified before the committee, it appears that the most prominent 
and important Communist Negro fronts in the past have been the 
American Negro Labor Congress, the League of Struggle for Negro 
Rights, the National Negro Labor Congress, and the National Negro 
Congress. 

Some of the first testimony relating to these Communist fronts was 
given by William Odell Nowell, previously referred to. Nowell testi- 
fied that after he had received instructions in the Soviet Union and 
returned to the United States, the Communist Party placed him as 
president of the American Negro Labor Congress. In his testimony 
he recounted how in 1929 or 1930 this organization was changed over 
to the League of Struggle for Negro Rights, and, very soon thereafter, 
the National Negro Labor Congress was formed. 

Manning Johnson stated that the American Negro Labor Congress 
and the League of Struggle for Negro Rights had been ineffective and 
that the national committee of the Communist Party in 1935 dis- 
cussed the general situation among Negroes. As a result of this dis- 
cussion it was decided that the time was appropriate for the formation 
of a broad and all-inclusive organization dealing with the American 
Negro and his problem. Upon the recommendation of one of the 
members of the Negro Commission of the Communist Party present, 
it was decided the Communist Party should organize the National 
Negro Congress. Johnson testified that James W. Ford and the 
Negro Commission of the Communist Party were given the respon- 
sibility of organizing the National Negro Congress. Their first step, 



THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 11 

according to Johnson, was to approach a non-Communist, A. Philip 
Randolph, who agreed to become head of the National Negro Con- 
gress. Johnson testified that this organization received a response 
that was surprising even to the Communist Party, and that its early 
meetings had representatives from all walks of Negro life, as well as 
from the white population in the United States. He recounted how 
the Second National Negro Congress, which was held in 1937, was 
even more successful than the first meeting of this group. However, 
by the time the Third National Negro Congress was held it had 
become obvious to A. Philip Randolph and many other non-Com- 
munists that this organization was controlled completely by the 
Communist Party. Randolph resigned after making a public protest 
to this effect. 

Further and more recent testimony concerning the activities of the 
National Negro Congress was furnished the committee by Mrs. 
Dorothy K. Funn, in New York City on May 4, 1953. 

Mrs. Funn testified that she had been a member of the Communist 
Party from May 1939 until June of 1946, and that during the period 
from 1943 until 1946 she was the legislative representative of the 
National Negro Congress in Washington, D. C. Mrs. Funn stated 
that the National Negro Congress was a puppet of the Communist 
Party and that the program of the National Negro Congress was 
dictated by the Negro Commission of the Communist Party. 

Mrs. Funn stated that she had joined the Communist Party and 
had commenced her activity in the Negro Congress because of the 
feeling that the Communist Party and the Congress were means of 
assisting the Negro race. Mrs. Funn explained this feeling and her 
realization of the Communist betrayal in this manner: 

You know, the cause — -I'll answer you, sir — the cause of the Negro is a very 
touching one and one on which a lot needs to be done yet, and my feeling and 
conclusion is that the Communist Party took this great need that Negroes in 
America feel as a basis for exploiting of their wants, desires, and the things that 
they were working for, which were not for complete justice and equality for the 
Negro but it lends itself beautifully to an emotional tieup, and you can say, 
"Well, if this is the organization that's going to do this, therefore, this is the 
organization with which I want to affiliate myself." 

Mrs. Funn also explained that the National Negro Congress ceased 
to exist in 1947 and that its activities were turned over to the Civil 
Rights Congress, another Communist-front organization. 

One of the Communist fronts currently active in seeking to deceive 
American Negroes into serving the Communist cause is the National 
Negro Labor Council, which was first cited by this committee in its 
annual report of December 28, 1952. 

The organization was formally founded at a conference held in 
Cincinnati, Ohio, October 27 and 28, 1951, under the direction of 
leading Negro Communists in the United States, such as Abner 
Berry, Sam W. Parks, and Coleman A. Young. According to the 
latest available information, Young is the present national executive 
secretary of the organization, from which post he controls and directs 
NNLC activities. 

The National Negro Labor Council deceitfully states that its pur- 
pose is the union of "all Negro workers with other suffering minorities 
and our allies among the white workers" in order to obtain "first-class 
citizenship based on economic, political, and social equality." A 
study of the operation of the council shows that, rather than helping 
the Negro worker, it has been a deterrent to him. For example, it 



12 THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

has made charges of Negro discrimination against the United Auto 
Workers, CIO, which has done much to advance the cause of the 
Negro worker. In fact, the Council has continuously attempted to 
discredit the efforts of non-Communist organizations. It has encour- 
aged disunity, rather than unity, and thereby performed a distinct 
disservice to the cause of the Negro worker. 

The committee believes it would be helpful at this point to list 
organizations and publications which have been officially cited as 
Communist fronts by the Attorney General and by the Committee on 
Un-American Activities. 

Organizations Cited by Both the Attorney General and the Committee on 

Un-American Activities 

American Negro Labor Congress 
Civil Rights Congress 
International Workers Order 
National Negro Congress 
National Negro Labor Council 
Negro Labor Victory Committee 
Southern Negro Youth Congress 

Organizations Cited by the Attorney General 

Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy 

Committee for the Negro in the Arts 

Committee to Aid the Fighting South 

Council on African Affairs 

George Washington Carver School 

Harlem Trade Union Council 

Labor Council for Negro Rights 

Philadelphia Labor Council for Negro Rights 

Tri-State Negro Trade Union Council 

United Harlem Tenants and Consumer Organization 

United Negro and Allied Veterans of America 

Veterans Against Discrimination of the Civil Rights Congress of New York 

Organizations Cited by the Committee on Un-American Activities 

Committee to Defend Angelo Herndon 

Council of Young Southerners (also known as League of Young Southerners) 

League for Protection of Minority Rights 

League of Struggle for Negro Rights 

National Emergency Committee to Stop Lynching 

Negro Peoples Committee To Aid Spanish Democracy 

Scottsboro Defense Committee 

Publication 
Liberator 

COMMUNIST ACTIVITIES AMONG NEGRO YOUTH 

Throughout its history in the United States, the Communist Party 
has directed intense efforts to infiltrate and influence the youth of 
America. It has established such Communist fronts for youth as the 
Young Communist League, the American Youth for Democracy and 
the present'Communist youth group, the Labor Youth League. 

The committee has also received testimony concerning the efforts 
of the Communist Party to infiltrate and influence the Negro youth of 
America. Some of the most descriptive testimony concerning these 
efforts was furnished the committee by Foster Williams, Jr., who 
appeared before the committee on June 17, 1954, in Seattle Wash. 
Williams, a 24-year-old Negro, testified that he became a member of 
the American Youth for Democracy in the latter part of 1946, and 



THE AMERICAN NEGRO IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY 13 

eventually his association with this group brought him into member- 
ship in the Communist Party. 

Williams testified that after becoming an active member in the 
Communist Party he continued his activities in the American Youth 
for Democracy and was given instructions by the Communist Party 
to infiltrate other youth groups. One such group that he had been 
instructed to influence was a youth organization of the National 
Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a non-Communist 
organization. The experiences of Mr. Williams in the Communist 
Party were succinctly described in these words: 

The Communist Party has a very despicable policy in regard to the American 
Negro. They tell him they are the only organization that is trying to help the 
Negro advance in obtaining all of his democratic rights that are justifiably his. 
Many Negroes, for a short period of time, believe this, but once you actually join 
the Communist Party and begin to work with them, you see how the Communist 
Party very sneakily manipulates the Negro people for their own purposes. They 
take up any kind of flimsy cause and the Communist Party supports it. This 
usually is the "kiss of death." The NAACP has had this trouble in the past of 
defending Negroes for various crimes and there has been a chance of getting com- 
mutation of sentence. The Communist Party is not interested in the welfare of 
the Negro, but simply takes these cases up to make propaganda. In connection 
with that, sir, if it is possible, I have a statement here which I prepared last night 
in which I take up some of the questions you raised. 

I am very proud of the gains that the American Negro has achieved so far. 
A race almost entirely illiterate in the period following the Civil War, illiteracy 
has presently dwindled down to the vanishing point. 

Recently the Supreme Court issued a historic decision which will speed us 
toward the goal of complete literacy. We have contributed many outstanding 
Americans, who have very ably served their country. To name but two, Dr. 
Ralph Bunche and Dr. Channing Tobias, who have represented the American 
people in the U. N. To these should be added the name of the late George 
Washington Carver. 

Lynchings, once a dark blot on our Southland, are now considered a thing of 
the past. Earlier this year the Tuskegee Institute issued a report stating that 
not a single lynching occurred during the year 1953. 

Our cultural achievements include the worldwide acceptance of Negro folk 
music as part and parcel of the American scene. 

The American Negro has also served his country in time of war. In World 
War II he fought and died on many a foreign battlefield to help stem the tide of 
Axis aggression. In Korea he grappled alongside his white comrades in arms 
against the Red hordes of communism. 

In looking at the achievements and contributions of the American Negro, we 
see at once that they have been made within the framework of our American 
political system. It is preposterous to think that the Negro will embrace the 
evil octopus of communism. Communism is not in the least interested in helping 
the Negro, but only in furthering its evil, monstrous ends. 

I believe it goes without saying that the American Negro will continue to make 
progress within our democratic framework, while at the same time rejecting the 
falsehoods of communism. 

In closing I would like to say that I believe that this committee is doing an 
excellent job in cutting out the cancer of communism before it eats into the vitals 
of our great Nation. And may I assure this committee they have the support of 
the overwhelming majority of Negroes, who are loyal American citizens. 

CONCLUSION 

From the facts set forth in this report, the committee can only con- 
clude that the vast majority of Americans of the Negro race have 
consistently resisted the blandishments and treacherous promises 
offered them by the Communist conspirators. The committee hopes 
that this detailed exposure of the true Communist aims and tactics in 
relation to the Negro people will serve even further to reduce the 
extremely limited and temporary Negro support which the Com- 
munists have obtained by subterfuge. 



INDEX 



Individuals 

Page 

Bass, Charlotta 9 

Berry, Abner 11 

Browder, Earl 5 

Bunche, Ralph 13 

Carver, George Washington 13 

Ford, James W 10 

Funn, Dorothy K 11 

Johnson, Manning 10 

Hartle, Barbara 5-7 

Hoover, J. Edgar 

Nowell, William Odell 2-4, 10 

Parks, Sam W 11 

Randolph, A. Philip 9, 11 

Roosevelt 9 

Rosser, Louis 4, 8-10 

Schneiderman, William 9, 10 

Tappes, Shelton 7 

Tobias, Channing 13 

White, Walter 9 

Williams, Foster, Jr 12, 13 

Young, Coleman 11 

Organizations 

American Negro Labor Congress 10, 12 

American Youth for Democracy 12 

Civil Rights Congress 11, 12 

Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy 12 

Committee for the Negro in the Arts 12 

Committee To Aid the Fighting South 12 

Committee To Defend Angelo Herndon 12 

Communist International 2-4 

Second World Congress 2, 4 

1938 World Congress 4 

Communist Party, Negro Commission 10, 11 

Council of Young Southerners 12 

Council on African Affairs 12 

Federal Bureau of Investigation 1 

George Washington Carver School 12 

Harlem Trade Union Council 12 

International Workers' Order 12 

League for Protection of Minority Rights 12 

League of Young Southerners 12 

Labor Council for Negro Rights 12 

Labor Youth League 12 

League of Struggle for Negro Rights 10, 12 

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 8, 9, 13 

National Emergency Committee To Stop Lynching 12 

National Negro Congress — 10-12 

National Negro Labor Congress 10 

National Negro Labor Council H> 12 

Negro Labor Victory Committee - 12 

Negro People's Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy 12 

Philadelphia Labor Council for Negro Rights 12 

15 



16 INDEX 

Page 

Red Cross 8 

Scottsboro Defense Committee 12 

Southern Negro Youth Congress 12 

Tri-State Negro Trade Union Council 12 

Tuskegee Institute 13 

United Auto Workers, CIO 12 

Local 600 7 

United Harlem Tenants and Consumer Organization 12 

United Nations 13 

United Negro and Allied Veterans of America 12 

Veterans Against Discrimination of the Civil Rights Congress of New York. 12 

Young Communist League 4, 9, 12 

Publications 

California Eagle 9 

Liberator 12 

Political Affairs 7 

o 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 

illliil 

3 9999 05982 502 4