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SECRET 


THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

AND 

THE NEGRO 
1953-1956 



FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE 
John Edgar Hoover, Director 


declassified 


Authority -$!&• — 

-- Delia 



«eRET“ 


SECRET'** 


THE COMMUNIST PARTY 
AND 

THE NEGRO 
1953 — 1956 


October 1956 


Federal Bureau of Investigation 
United States Department of Justice 
John Edgar Hoover, Director 

56 S 


SECRET 


SEGftfff 


PREFACE 


This monograph is a study of the relations between the Communist 
Party, USA, and the Negro people in the United States and is a supplement 
to a previous monograph The Communist Party and the Negro. which covered 
the period 1919-1952. The present volume embraces the 1953-1956 period. 

It has been compiled from public-source, confidential, and secret material. 



SECRET- 


SUMMARY AM) CONCLUSIONS 


A. Summary 

The Communist Par ty, USA, despite its concentrated efforts, has 
failed to attract even a significant minority of the Negroes in the United States 
to its program. While it attempts to practice its policy of agitation and 
propaganda among the Negroes on a nationwide basis, the majority of its 
attention, is devoted to those Negroes living in the Southern States. This has 
been particularly evident during the past year in that the Party has concentrated 
upon organizing the unorganized workers In the South, especially those of the 
Negro race. 

It strives to promote its alms through Negro communist front 
organizations and by infiltrating and controlling legitimate Negro groups. 

One of its chief difficulties has been, and continues to be, the problem of 
white chauvinism, i. e, , supremacy of the white race. At the present time, 
it can be stated that along with th e decline in the^national membership of 
the Communist Party, USA, the Party has experienced an Increasingly 
greater decline, percentage wise, In' its Negro membership. 



- 11 - 


B. 


Conclusions 


jCommunist Party, USA^in relation 

to the Negro in the United States from 192ft to 1956 was 'defined 
in its two slogans: , T equal rights” and "seU- determination" for 
the Negroes in the ,T 6lac£"Belt, " which is that portion of the 
Southern United States cont ain i n g a large concentration of the 
Negro population. Communists asserted that the Negroes living 
in this area constituted a separate nation and should be given 
their rights accordingly. In early 1956, the Party modified its 
advocacy of T1 s elf -deter minationj’ but its general propaganda on 
"equal rights' 1 and other issues remains essentially the same. 


2. The activities of the Communist Party, USA, are motivated 
not by the desire to improve the status of the Negro in our 
society, but to exploit legitimate Negro grievances for the 
furtherance of communist aims. 


3. Communists in the United States believe that the movement for 
Negro f reedom in this country merges with the struggle of 
colonial peoples, particularly the darker races, to free them- 
selves from their "oppressors, ,f The Communist Party, USA, 
links this struggle with the fight for peaceful coexistence 
throughout the world. 


4. The Com muiiis t Party, USA, places par ticular emphasis on 
g etting the support of N e groes em ployed in basic industries,. 
It now regards the job of organizing the unorganized workers, 
especially in the South, as one of its fundamental tasks. 

5* The Party plans to advance its Negro program in the South 
through its colonization program which was initiated in order 
to place militant and devoted Party members as workers in 
basic or vital industries. Under this program, communists 



- in - 




selected for such assignments move to new areas, assume 
altered backgrounds and identities, obtain employments -a 
industry, and gradually begin to organize people believed to 
be "progressive. ,r 

6. The Supreme Court decision of May 17, 1954, outlawing 
segregation in the public schools in the United States, is 
regarded by the Communist Party as a decisive victory for 
the Negro race, and the Party has attempted to implement and 
exploit the enforcement ol desegregation in every possible 
way. The case most widely publicized by the communist press 
in this respect was that of Anther ine J, Lucy, a Negro who 
was the first of her race to enroll in a hitherto all-white 
university. 

7. The Communist Party has also exploited the alleged murder 
of a Negro youth in Mississippi using this case as an 
opportunity to further its agitation and propaganda campaign 
among the Negroes. 

8. One _of^the_main po ints i n the Co mmunist Party 1 s program 
in its str uggle f or eguaO’ig®Tor_Ne^bes ii its’attempt to, 
increase Negro representation in the executive,; legislative, 
and judicial branches of state and national governments. 
Although the Party is conducting this struggle on a nationwide 
basis, its main emphasis is in the Southern States where 
Negro representation, is disproportionate according to 
population. 

9. The Communist Party, USA, strongly opposes segregation in 
housing, pointing out that this is one of the issues around 
which Negro- white unity can be built. 

10. The two principal Communist Party-Negro front groups until 
recently were the National Negro Labor Council and the 
National Association of Negro Trade Unionists. At the end 
of April, 1956, the former was dissolved due to financial 



- iv - 


difficulties and to its desire to circumvent registering with 
the Attorney General of the United States as a communist 
front organization. The latter is a comparatively new group 
whose purpose is to organize the unorganized workers, 
concentrating strongly on. the Negroes. 

Communists in the United States have attempted to infiltrate 
and gain control of legitimate Negro-fraternal, protest- and- 
improvement organizations. To date, their efforts have been 
unsuccessful on a state or national level, although there have 
been some instances where the Communist Party has gained 
control of isolated chapters. 

The Communist Party, USA, has been compelled throughout 
its history to wage a continuing fight against white chauvinism, 
i. e, , the supremacy of the white race. Despite this struggle, 
white chauvinism has increased within the Party in recent 
years and is presently of grave concern to Party leaders. 

^egi^ r mentoership_within the Co mmun ist Party, USA, as of. 
June, 19 56, was estimated to be sev enjaer cent of the total 
naHonJ^^ of the Party . The total hatiohal member- 

sfiip was estimated afsEghlly less than 20, 000. 


TABLE OF CONTENTS 


Page 

i 


PREFACE 


SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS ii 

A. Summary „ ti 

B. Conclusions , , .in 

I. INTRODUCTION 1 


II. COMMUNIST PARTY. USA. ON VARIOUS ASPECTS OF 

THE NEGRO QUESTION TODAY . 5 


A. International Aspect 5 

B. The Negro in the Fight for Peaceful Coexistence ... 6 

C. Negro "Self-Determination" 7 

D. The Negro in Industry 10 

E. Communist Party Colonization Program ....... 13 

F. Civil Rights 14 


1 . Supreme Court Decision Outlawing Segregation 
in Public Schools, May 17, 1954, and Subse- 
quent Rulings Affecting Publicly Owned Recre- 
ational Facilities and Interstate Transportation . 14 


a. Autherine J. Lucy , 19 

b. Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama ... 21 

2. Hie Till Case 23 

3. Negro Representation 25 

4. Housing 27 


HI. PRINCIPAL COMMUNIST PARTY-NEGRO FRONT GROUPS . 30 


A. 

B. 


National Negro Labor Council ... ,30 

National Association of Negro Trade Unionists .... 33 


1. Michigan Association of Negro Trade Unionists. , . 33 

2. Negro Trade Unionists Committee. „ , „ 35 

3. National Association of Negro Trade Unionists 

of .New Jersey 35 

4. Amalgamation of these-three organisations ....... 36 

IV. THE COMMUNIST PARTY — NEGRO-FRATERNAL, 

PROTEST-AND- IMPROVEMENT ORGANIZATIONS" . ■ , 37 


A. National Association lor the Advancement of 

Colored People 37 

B. Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the 

World 44 

V. RESULTS OF COMMUNIST PARTY ACTIVITY DIRECTED 

TOWARD NEGROES 49 


A. Effects within the Communist Party (White Chauvinism). . 49 

B. Effects on Noncommunist Negroes (Negro Membership 

in the Communist Party) „ 53 

VL SOURCES 54 





SECRET 


I. INTRODUCTION 


A previous monograph The Communist Party and the Negro, dated 
February, 1953, covered the period 1919-1952* As indicated therein, the 
Communist Party, USA, has devoted an extraordinary amount of its time, 
funds, propaganda, and personnel to recruiting members from among the 
fifteen, million Negroes who comprise approximately ten per cent of our 
total population. The failure of its efforts in this respect is best attested to 
by the fact that as of June, 1956, active, dues -paying Negroes constituted 
seven per cent of the total Party membership. 

Its basic program in this field until recently has been set forth in 
its two slogans- "equal rights" and "self-determination" for the Negroes in 
the "Black Belt* 11 The term "Black Belt" as used by communists refers to 
that portion of the Southern United States containing a large concentration 
of the Negro population. At varying intervals, depending on the extent of 
the Negro population, communists describe it as including parts of southern 
Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, 

Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee* and Texas. Marxists have maintained 
that the "Black Belt" contains all the necessary characteristics for becoming 
a separate nation and accordingly advanced the theory of "self-determination, " 





i< e . , the formation of an independent national state for the Negroes in. that 
area. Marxists, however, qualified this theory by stating that whenever 
the right of ^self-determination" conflicted with the interests of the "working 
class" (e, g. , the Communist Party, USA), it must be subordinated. This 
was evidenced during World War n when the Communist Party, USA, 
de-emphasized "self- determination" in order to promote national unity 
leading to greater aid to Soviet Russia. 

Although the condition of the Negro in American society has 
improved during the last thirty years, the Communist Party, due to its 
subservience to and domination by the Soviet Union, has never recognized 
this fact and has continued to agitate among the Negroes on the same old 
themes. It has, therefore, stressed its demands for "equal rights" and 
"self-determination" with varying degrees of emphasis, governed not by 
any change in the status of the Negro in this country, but by the exigencies 
of the Soviet Union in international affairs. 

In early 1956, however, the Communist Party, USA, reappraised 
its position on "self-determination 11 and decided to modify the advocacy of 
,T s elf- deter ruination" for the Negroes in the TT Black Belt, ” While the Party 


has altered its policy in this respect, its stand on "equal rights" for the 
Negro race in the United States remains unchanged. 

Numerous reasons can be adduced to explain the failure of the 
Communist Party, USA, in spite of its almost overwhelming efforts, to 
attract even a significant minority of the American Negro population to its 
program Probably the most obvious is the realization by the Negro (as 
well as the vast majority of Americans) that the constant shifts in the 
Communist Party "line" are determined by the needs of the Soviet Union 
and not by any factor intrinsic to the American way of life or by the Party’s 
interest in Negro welfare. Other reasons, more specifically applicable to 

the Nogro f include the Communist ^Party's previous espousal of the theory 

of "self-determination" (which is too similar to segregation for Negroes), 
in spite of the Negro’s deep-rooted desire for total equality within the 
American society; its severe criticism of Influential Negro clergymen, 
particularly during the Late 1920 t s and early 1930’ s; its inability to justify 
Russia’s aid to Italy when the latter invaded Ethiopia; its subversion of the 
National Negro Congress, which originally showed promise of becoming an 
important Negro Improvement organization; its activities during World War H ; 


when it admittedly soft-pedaled" its fight for Negro rights; and the opposition 
of influential noncommunist Negroes and Negro organizations. 


The fact that the activities of the Communist Party, USA, are 


motivated not by the desire to improve the status of the Negro in our society, 
but to exploit legitimate Negro grievances for the furtherance of communist 
aims is dearly evidenced by instructions issued by the Party to its members 
as early as 1925 and repeatedly applied since then: 


"The aim of our Party in our work among the Negro masses 
is to create a powerful proletarian movement which will fight and 
lead the struggle of the Negro race against exploitation and 
oppression in every form and which will be a militant part of the 
revolutionary movement of the whole American working class, to 
strengthen the American revolutionary movement by bringing into 
it the 11, 500 s 000 Negro workers and farmers in the United States 
to broaden the struggles of the American Negro workers and 
farmers, connect them with the struggles of the national minorities 
and colonial peoples of all the world and thereby further the cause 
of the world revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. " 1 



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H. COMMUNIST PARTY, USA, ON VARIOUS ASPECTS 
OF THE NEGRO QUESTION TODAY 


A. International Aspect 

The Communist Party, USA, hailed the conference of Asian and 
African peoples at Bandung, Indonesia, in April, 1955, as marking "the 
march forward of the once-subjected people of Asia and Africa, " and as 
"one of the dicisive world forces that led to the constructive conference of 
the Big Four recently in Geneva. " American communists believe that the 
movement for Negro freedom in the United States merges with the "struggle 
of the colonial and darker peoples of the Far East— as well as of Africa— 
against the common enemy— Wall Street imperialism. " Louis E. Burnham, 
who has been reported to be a member of the Communist Party, * stated in 
December, 1955, that? 

"This new world, so dramatically united at the historic 
Bandung conference, represents an irresistible force in world 
affairs. The movement for Negro freedom will win, not in 
isolation from, but only in conscious and principled alliance 
with all forces throughout the world who are its natural allies* 

One high-ranking communist leader, in speaking of the 

people in the Southern United States, asserted: 

♦All information in this monograph identifying persons or organizations 
with the communist movement has been furnished by informants or sources 
which have supplied reliable information in the past. 



- 5 - 


" 7 They are contributing to the lore of oppressed people 
all over the world in their struggle for liberation from the 
system of racism, terror, lynching, and assassination in the 
deep South. Undoubtedly, they are inspired by the great con- 
ference of colored peoples which took place in Bandung last 
summer, 1 "3 

Claude Lightfoot, Negro communist leader in Illinois who was 
convicted under the Smith Act of 1940, * commented that: 

” ’In recent years, the upsurge of the colonial people and 
the Chinese Revolution have had their effect in heightening the 
militancy and the consciousness among my people, * , „ and 
strengthened their unwillingness to accept the theory of 
"gradualism" in the winning of civil rights. ’ "4 

B. The Negro in the Fight for Peaceful Coexistence 


The Communist Party, USA, for the past several years has 

stressed the struggle for peace as one of the most important tasks for the 

communists in this country as well as throughout the world. Subsequent to 

the July, 1955, conference for foreign ministers of the United States, 

France, Great Britain, and the U.S.S.R* held in Switzerland, the Party 

re-emphasized the possibility of peaceful coexistence between the United 

States and the Soviet Union. The conference itself, in the Party’s analysis, 

♦Title 18, U, S„ Code, Section 2385 (1948 Edition), popularly known as the 
Smith Act, makes it unlawful for anyone to knowingly teach and advocate the 
duty and necessity of overthrowing and destroying the Government of the 
United States by force and violence. The Act was passed by Congress in 1940. 


was a "turning point" and represented the "beginning of the end of the 
cold war. " 


In connection with the role of the Negro in this fight for peace, 
the Communist Party recognizes that the "Negro people exerts considerable 
strength in the fight for peace, especially in the context of its most direct 
and immediate concern- -the fight for civil rights. " The Party feels that: 


"There can be no successful effort to involve great masses 
of the Negro people in the fight for peace which does not take 
this struggle as its starting point. . . 


The Party further believes that: 


"The second specific aspect of Negro peoples participation 
in the fight for peace is the special importance of the struggle 
against colonialism. . , .vast possibilities exist to enlist the mass 
of Negro people in the mounting struggle to reverse the Dulles 
policy of military alliance in the Middle East and South Asia and 
substitute for it a policy of national freedom and peaceful 
coexistence and a vast plan of economic assistance, without 
strings, to the und er developed countries of Asia and Africa."^ 

C. Negro "Self-Determination" 

During the period 1928-30, the Communist Party, USA, define! 



the Negro question in the United States as "that of an oppressed nation" in 
the "Black Belt"— struggling for self -deter mination, Tt and an oppressed national 


minority in other parts of the country— fighting for full democratic rights. 


- 7 - 


By ’’self-determination," the Party maintained that the Negroes as a separate 
race in the Southern States constituted a majority of the population and had 
the right; if they so desired; to secede from the United States and form 
their own government and nation. 

This conception was adhered to and developed by the Party 
throughout the years so that by 1954 communists asserted that: 

"This conception of the Negro question as a national question 
is the most fundamental theoretical* contribution our Party has 


made to the fight for Negro freedom. It is this insight, for 
example, which underlies the struggle for all-class unity of the 
Negro people, * and for alliance of the whole Negro people - and " 
the working class* in common struggle against imperialist 
oppression. , „ ? 

In early 1956, however, the Communist Party, USA, reappraised 


its position on "self-determination" and decided to modify its advocacy of 
"self-determination" for the Negroes in the "Black Belt " However, it will 
still consider the Negroes as constituting a national as well as a racial 
minority. One high-ranking Negro communist leader has taken the position 
that the Negro people in the United States do not constitute a nation 


Eugene Dennis, general secretary of the Communist Party, USA, 


instead are a nationality. 



in commenting upon this decision, stated: 
♦Under lined portion italicized in original text. 


- 8 - 


", » . In my opinion we should frankly acknowledge that while 
the Negro question in the Deep South remains a national and an 
agrarian question, for some time developments in the South have 
not*moved in the direction of the establishment of a Negro nation. 

"The basic demands of the Negro people in the South, which 
they themselves put forward and are struggling for, are for the 
right to vote and representative government, for full equality in 
employment, education and in all other spheres of life, and for 
achieving serious reforms in agriculture. 

"In re- appi ais ing our position on self-determination in the 
Black Belt, our Party should emphasise, as never before, that 
the struggle for Negro rights and freedom, north and south of 
the Mas on- Dixon line, has emerged as a general, national 
democratic task, upon the solution of which depends the democratic 
and social advance of the whole nation, particularly of the workers 
and farmers. TT ® 

It can be seen, therefore, that the Party has modified its policy 


of "self-determination, ” This is a major development in Negro matters for 
the Party. However, its general propaganda relating to "equal rights" and 
other issues remains essentially the same as does the ultimate goal of the 
Communist Party, USA, — the establishment of a socialist United States. In 
February, 1936, a member of the Party 7 s national Negro commission stated: 


. . It is generally known that the proletariat of a national 
movement has both a national and class mission to perform. This 
is likewise true of the Negro proletariat in our country. It has the 
task of leading the Negro people to national liberation, and, in 
conjunction with their fellow white workers, of putting an end to 
class exploitation by leading the American people to Socialism. . . . 1 


^Underlined portion italicised in original text. 



- 9 - 


D. The Negro in Industry 

Throughout its history, the Communist Party, USA, has placed 
particular emphasis on the importance of gaining the support of Negroes 
employed in basic industries. At the present time, the Party attaches the 
utmost significance to the merger of the AFL-CIO which took place on 
December 5, 1955. As fax as the Negro problem is concerned, the Party 
claims that: 


"The historic significance of the merger convention's 
position on the Negro question lies in the fact that it registered 
a major defeat for the racist policy of Gompersism; at the same 
time it registered a fundamental and basic victory for the policy 
of Negro-white unity, of advancing and strengthening the Negro- 
labor alliance, of a single trade-union center of all working 
people, white and Negro alike* 

"Its significance is to be found in that after a century of 
bitter struggle, the decisive national center of organized labor 
is committed formally and officially to a line cf Negro-white 
unity, to a line of equal rights for the Negro workers in industry 
as well as in the labor movement* Tf *10 

In. this connection, the Party is referring specifically to the 

action of the convention regarding: 

. . The resolution on civil rights, the speech by Thurgood 
Marshall, special counsel for the NAACP, ** the speech of Carey 
on the civil rights resolution, the added statement in the speech 


^Entire quotation italicized in original. 

**National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 



- 10 - 


J ? 


of Adlai Stevenson in his criticism of the violence directed 
against the Negro people in Mississippi, And last; but not 
least; the election of two Negro vice Presidents to the Executive 
Committee of the AFL-CIO 1,11 

The Communist Party takes credit for the emergence of Negro 
leadership at the convention by stating: 

", «, , The struggle for Negro leadership was a product in the 
first place of the consistent and sustained demands of the 
progressives and Communist forces in the labor movement for 
the last 20 years, . , . 

Among the tasks now facing the Party as a result of the merger 
is that of backing a drive for organizing the unorganized workers particularly 
in the South. 


"Of all the immediate tasks facing the AFL-CIO with respect 
to Negro- white unity none is more important than that of 
organizing the unorganized in the South. . . „ The demand for 
organizing the South must reach a level of intensity that will 
result in the Federation’s passing over from words to deeds on 
this question. 

Other problems confronting the Party include: 

1. f1 an interpretation of the constitution to help end — 

bars to Negro workers in affiliated international unions. , . 

16 

2. . , an end to Jim Crow locals " 

3. * .the need to rally support for the civil rights 
mobilization announced by the UAW* and the NAACP, . , 

♦United Automobile, Aircraft & Agricultural Implement Workers of America. 



~ 11 - 


In addition to advocating certain demands arising out of the 
AFL-CIO convention, the Communist Party continues to demand a policy 
of nondiscrimination for Negroes in industry. It claims that Negroes, in 
the great majority of cases, are only able to obtain positions as laborers, 
that there "has been no gain in breaking the 'last- to-be “hired, first- to- be - 
fired' pattern of discrimination against the Negro people, 

This is particularly true in the transport, garment, maritime, 
and electrical industries. Communists feel that: 

"Special attention should be given to current efforts to 
squeeze Negro and Puerto Hie an workers out of longshore 
and maritime* * . . " 


"The main channel* through which such struggles for jobs 
for Negroes can best be conducted is the machinery of the trade 
unions — especially the network of shop committees and the 
regular programs of the unions. "18 

They believe that the struggle to abolish Jim Crow in the 
railroad industry is of "prime importance" to the advancement of the fight 
for jobs and state that: 

", . . The basic aim of this fight must be to win equality for 
Negroes on every type of job which exists in the industry — 
conductors, ticket agents, locomotive engineers, firemen, 
brake men, switchmen, station masters, head baggage men, 
clerks, dispatchers. , , . "1® 

♦Underlined portion italicized in original text. 



- 12 - 


■E. Communist Party Colonization Program 


One method by which the Communist Party hopes to advance its 
Negro program in the South is through its so-called colonization program* 

It anticipates a very difficult struggle in that area and, in the latter part of 
1955, issued instructions that a number of people, both Negro and white, 
should be sent into the Southern States where they are to obtain industrial 
jobs. These potential colonizers are to be childless couples, preferably 
between 21 and 34 years of age. Any person having a reputation as a radical 
or a communist will not be considered. Selections are to be made, at least 
in part, from Party members presently active in Labor Youth League* work, 
Those individuals chosen as colonizers are instructed to remain 
in their new assignment on a more or less permanent basis, "root" them- 
selves in their new jobs, and for the present conceal their communist 
tendencies. They will be concentrated in the larger cities of the South 


especially Birmingham, Memphis, and cities in Mississippi. 


Those colonizers assigned to the textile industry are 



financed, if possible, through their own means or supported by their 

*The Labor Youth League has been designated by the Attorney General as 
coming within the purview of Executive Order 10450. 


Communist Party district. The national office will, if necessary, defray 
any expenses^ For a period of about one year, the colonizer is told to 
make no attempt to organize or recruit for the Communist Party taut to 
spend this time establishing himself in the community. He is to become 
active in church, and civic affairs thus establishing a good reputation in the 
community. He is not to have any open contact with the Party in that area 
nor to get a reputation as a Party member or sympathizer . By the end of a 
year, he is to begin to organize persons who he believes are "progressive. fT 

Colonizers are expected to receive indoctrination courses prior 
to leaving for their assignments. It is reported that this colonization 
program has been started by the Party and that plans are being made to fix 
a certain quota of colonizers to be sent down South during 1956. Plans are 
also allegedly being made by the Party to have a number of their trust- 
worthy youth members, who are attending college, transfer to colleges in 
the South to enable them to carry on Party work there. 

F. Civil Rights 



1. Supreme Court Decision Outlawing Segregation in Public Schools, 
May 17, 1954, and Subsequent Rulings Affecting Publicly Owned 
Recreational Facilities and Interstate Transportation 

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States decreed 

that compelling segregation in the public schools on the basis of race is a 


- 14 = 


\/ v 


denial of constitutional rights. The doctrine of “separate but equal" 
facilities handed down by the Court in 1896 (Pies ay v, Ferguson) was set 
aside. On May 31, 1955, the Supreme Court implemented this decision 
by stating the principle previously announced should be carried out "with 
all deliberate speed. " This ruling permitted account to be taken of local 
conditions and requirements affecting the manner and timing of 
implementation.: This principle was also found applicable in cases 
involving racial segregation in publicly owned recreational facilities, and 
adhered to in decisions of the Federal Interstate Commerce Commission 
embracing segregation in interstate transportation. 

The Communist Party, USA, hailed the 1954 decision of the 
Supreme Court as a: 

Tt . . „ real victory for democracy in the United States, 
and especially lor the harassed Negro people. It will have 
world-wide repercussions. The decision is body blow 
against the whole jimcrow system, which has for so many 
decades persecuted the Negro masses and disgraced this 
country. All the friends of freedom will hail this great 
democratic achievement. 


The Party also took its share of credit for this achievement: 

"The-Supreme Court decision on segregation in education 
reflects the tremendous new growth in the Negro liberation 
movement, . , . It is due in no small part to the pioneering role 
of the Communists and the Left in the struggle for Negro 
rights. "21 

The Party pointed out, however, that a legal victory does not 
mean the automatic end of segregation but necessitates a drive for its 
enforcement: 


,f . . . The legal form does not correspond to the social 
actuality. The struggle for equal rights cannot rest with 
legal victories, important as they are, but must drive to 
enforce* such victories and change the conditions of day-to- 
day living. Tf 22 

In this connection, communists have attempted to implement and 

exploit the enforcement of desegregation in every possible way: 

TT , , . The struggle against segregation should be tied up with 
the struggle against jim crow in employment, for jobs for all, 
for equal work for whites and Negroes, for women as well as 
men, for ending jim crow in housing, for enactment of an 
FEPC, against fascism and McCarthy ism, and for peace. 
Meetings should be held, demonstrations arranged under broad 
united front conferences. These meetings can be the beginning 
of the most popular and broadest coalition activity that our 
country has seen in a long time. ” 



*Underlined portion italicized in original text. 


~ 16 - 


r 


' r '. . . Hundreds of trade union, church, professional, student, 

national -group and other organizations with predominantly white 
membership — including many in the South — axe formally on 
record in support of the Court decision. The big need now is to 
get them all into motion. 

ji 

"Petitions should be filed with the Supreme Court prior to 
the December 7th hearing on implementing decrees. Conferences 
and mass meetings should be organized. Resolutions should be 
adopted and publicized. Delegations should be sent to public 
officials on national, state and local levels. . . .And every effort 
of reaction to organize mob violence should be countered with 
overwhelming mass protests by the democratic forces of the 

■ people. 11 23 

r 

The Communist Party has been particularly vehement against 
opposition arising to the enforcement of segregation in the Southern States 
and has alleged lack of enforcement by Congress and Federal authorities. 

[ An editorial in the Daily Worker, east coast communist newspaper, in the 

latter part of 1955 declares: 

t 

| "Most of the segregated schools which were declared illegal 

on May 17, 1954, and again on May 31, 1955, are still segregated. 

\ White supremacists, using legal technicalities and terror, including 

murder, have challenged the authority of the high court and federal 
law and order. . „ . "24 

On January 12, 1956, in an editorial entitled "Dixiecrat 
Defiance, " the Daily Worker asserted: 



r 


- 17 - 


■n 


"State after state in the Deep South has announced its 
planned refusal to comply with a U a S, Supreme Court order. 
Brownell has pretended not to hear these threats, not even 
when they reached the level of a movement to Nullify' all 
federal laws dealing with desegregation. ..." 


", . „ The times cry out for an Attorney General with a 
passion for defense of the Constitution and the rights it bestows 
upon all citizens. Brownell, by his actions and his lack of 
action has proven beyond a doubt that he does not meet present 
requirements. "25 

In March, 1956, 96 Southern Congressmen issued a manifesto 



pledging themselves to use "ail lawful means" to reverse the Supreme Court 
decision outlawing racial segregation in public schools. This manifesto 


was presented to both Houses of Congress and inserted in the C ongr e ssional 
Record. 


The Daily Worker editorialized on this resolution by saying: 

"This is the Dixiecrat attempt to roll back the democratic 
tide rising behind the movement to enforce the Supreme Court’s 
rulings. These racists do not want ’moderation' or ’gradualism’ 
or even reasonableness* in approaching the desegregation issue. 
They want nothing less than the perpetuation of the ’lawful means’ 
by which they have ignored the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. " 


~ 18 = 


"The 96 Congressmen have borrowed heavily from the 
secessionist documents of 1860 in drafting their declaration. 

Their arrogant attempt to intimidate Congress and the nation 
has not met with a resolute determination to enforce the 
Constitution and federal law everywhere in the United States. 

Let Congress pass civil rights laws. Compel Brownell to 
enforce the right to vote for southern Negroes I Push the 
Justice Department into actions to enforce the Supreme Court' s 
desegregation decisions. Oust Eastland from the U„ S. Senate. 
End the retreat before the Dixieerat minority in Congress and 
the country at large. "26 

a. Autherme J. Lucy 
Probably the case most widely publicized in both the communist 
and the free press of a Negro attempting to enroll in a hitherto all-white 
university is that of Autherine J, Lucy. Subsequent to the May 17, 1954, 
decision of the Supreme Court invalidating segregation. Miss Lucy was 
admitted to the University of Alabama by order of a U. S. District Court 
in Alabama. After attending the University for three days under full 
police protection, she was excluded from class by the board of trustees on 
February 6, 1956. This decision was made under the University's police 
power and for the protection of students, the faculty, and Miss Lucy in view 
of demonstrations by students and outsiders. 

The communist press decried this action by University officials 
and demanded Federal action in the matter ; 



- 19 - 


"It is a national disgrace that the university authorities have 
indefinitely barred Miss Lucy from, the campus . This is craven 
surrender or, worse,’ collusion with the Kluxers. It is not 
Autherine Lucy but the wretched band of lawbreakers who. should 
have been barred from Alabama University. 11 


"And where is President Eisenhower amidst this violation of 
law? Silent, upon a farm in Gettysburg? And where are Attorney 
General Brownell and G-Man Hoover? Blind, as usual, to 
Dixiecrat defiance of the law? 


"We are confident that a great outcry from the people will be 
heard in the White House, demanding federal action to carry out 
the law in Alabama. 

Party members stated that the Communist Party would utiliz 



every possible facility to create a national incident in connection with this 


matter. 


On February 9, 1956, Miss Lucy filed a petition with a U. S. 
District Court in Alabama, asking the court to issue an order to show why 
the University board should not be held id contempt. She alleged that the 
suspension was not done for her personal safety but to appease others. On 
February 29, 1956, the District Court ruled that University officials were 
not in contempt of court; that the officials had acted in good faith in their 
attempts to protect Miss Lucy; and that her suspension from the University 


- 20 - 


should be lifted as of March 5, 1956, However, the University expelled 
Miss Lucy on March 1, 1956, on the basis that she had made false charges 
and allegations against University officials, 

Benjamin J. Davis, a member of the national board of the 


Communist Party, USA, who had been convicted under the Smith Act of 
1940, ’’rapped the expulsion of Autherine Lucy and called for prosecution 


of the trustees who voted the action. " He demanded: 


", . , enforcement of the Supreme Court decision of de- 
segregation and the arrest and prosecution of Eastland, 
Talmadge and T the gang which controls the White Citizens 
Councils, and all others who conspire to keep the Negro 
people from enjoying rights guaranteed under the 
Constitution. ' "28 



b. Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama 
In early December, 1955, Negro leaders in Montgomery, 
Alabama, demanded equal rights for their race on segregated city buses. 
The issue was precipitated when a Negro se ams tress refused to move to 
the rear of the bus, was arrested, and fined $14. Immediately thereafter, 
Negroes instituted a boycott of the buses, causing police cruisers to 
escort the buses through Negro areas to prevent violence. On 
February 22, 1956, approximately one hundred Negro religious and political 
leaders in the Montgomery area were indicted on charges of violating a 
state antiboycott sta t ute . 


21 


Communists immediately took up tfie defense of the Negro lead' 


and the boycott* Eugene Dennis, general secretary of the Communist Pa 
USA* urged Federal intervention* declaring that: 


M * » - united response, courage and organisational inventive 1 
of the entire Negro community of Montgomery has electrified tl 
whole country* It is giving birth to a movement of mass civil 
disobedience to unconstitutional jimcrow statutes, and mass cr 
enforcement of the law of the land. . „ * " 


"Ail workers — Left, progressive and conservative -- can 
be expected to join with the heroic Negro people and all other 
sincere advocates of the Constitution in full devotion to this 


An editorial in the Daily Worker claimed that the Federal 


. . duty bound, under law, to act against officials who, 
under cover of law, deprive citizens of their basic and federal! 
guaranteed rights. . ♦ . 11 


''Meantime, it is up to all of us to bombard the Department 
of Justice for action before extra- legal violence follows illegal 
f law, 1 If Montgomery is the Diexiecrats’ first line of defiance, 
it is for patriots democracy’s first line of defense. " 

Negro religious leaders sponsored a nationwide "Day of Prayer 


to aid the boycott movement. The communist press exploited this situatic 
wherever possible and said it: 


historic struggle* "29 


Government was: 



■= 22 - 


”• • * marked a moral and social renaissance in American life 
stemming from the resistance of southern Negroes to racist 
tyranny. " 


"Maybe the millions who prayed last Wednesday will continue 
their efforts against segregation by pressing the President and 
federal agencies to act against those who illegally deny Negroes 
their rights as American citizens. "31 

In May, 1956, an incident, involving the arrest of two Negro 


college students for sitting beside a white woman in a bus, took place in 
Tallahassee, Florida, precipitating a similar Negro boycott of buses in 
that city. 


The Communist Party, USA, has placed the utmost emphasis on 
propagandizing the alleged murder of Emmett Louis Till. Till, a fourteen- 
year-old Negro youth from Chicago, Illinois, was reportedly kidnapped and 
murdered in Mississippi, in August, 1955, The two white men charged with 
his murder were acquitted after a trial* and a grand jury later refused to 
indict them for kidnapping. The Party as well as its numerous front 
organizations regarded this case as an excellent opportunity to further its 
agitation and propaganda campaign among the Negroes. The Party press 


2 


The Till Case 



- 23 - 


has carried innumerable articles on the Till case and issued many pamphlets 
and leaflets regarding it, invariably referring to the case as the Till 
"lynching, TT 

In September, 1955, the national administrative committee* of 
the Party issued a memorandum to all districts regarding the Till "lynching, 
pointing out that the marked increase of anti- Negro terror in the South 
should become the immediate concern of the entire Party membership. In 
this connection ,the Party suggested (1) development of the movement to 
force the Eisenhower Administration to intervene in the Till case, (2) 

\ 5 - . 

petitioning of city councils throughout the United States to urge the Attorney 
General to act, and (3) projecting the "struggle" into the preparation for 
the convening of Congress in 1956. The memorandum said that the above 
actions would necessitate hundreds of thousands of postcards, telegrams, 
letters, petitions, and resolutions to the President and the Attorney General 
from individuals and organizations. 

The Daily Worker subsequently proclaimed: 

"THE SAVAGE LYNCHING of the Till boy must be fought 
militant ly. This has already been well begun by many demon- 
strations and other activities, * . . The whole American people 
should be aroused to the terrible outrage of this boy lynching, 

*The national administrative committee is now dissolved. For over a year, 
this group largely directed the Party's open activities, 

- 24 - 


And, not the least important, this case should be publicized 
all over the world- Abroad it will get a powerful response from 
the democratic people, who already thoroughly hate the U P S e 
jimcrow system, with all its oppression, exploitation, and 
murder, Tt “ 

The Communist Party has attempted to enlist the support of any 


organization, communist or noncomxnunist, interested in this campaign* 
According to information originating from a communist spokesman, the Party 
was able to reach an agreement wit^ leaders of the National Association 
for the Advancement of Colored People on a plan of work. The Party regards 
the Till matter as a historical event and the turning point in the struggle 
for Negro liberation. 


struggle for "Negro liberation" is its attempt to increase Negro representa- 
tion in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state and national 
governments. Party Voice, a bulletin issued by the New York State Com- 
munist Party, asserted that: 


"The fight for Negro representation must become a major 
concentration throughout our Party; and bur most immediate 
concern must be to win new advances in the fail elections, of 1955. 
In the process, efforts should be made to lay the basis for still 
further gains in 1956. TT ^3 


3* Negro Representation 



One of the key points in the Communist Party program in its 


- 25 - 


Albert E. Blumberg, legislative director of the Communist Party, 
USA, who was convicted under the Smith Act of 1940, called for "sharply 
increased Negro representation in conventions, Congressional and other 
posts- 1,34 

The communist press hailed the appointment of J. Ernest Wilkins, 
an Assistant Secretary of Labor, as the "first time in history - a Negro has 
been appointed to a sub- Cabinet post in the United States Government. " 

But the communist press deplored the fact that in 1955 "there is still just 
one Negro judge in the entire federal court setup, " suggesting that' "it is time 
to revive pressure for a Negro U* S. Supreme Court judge when a vacancy 
occurs, as well as Negro federal judges at all levels. "36 


The fight for increased Negro representation includes the demands 


„ abolition of the poll tax, federal protection of the righ 
to register and vote, passage of an anti- lynching bill, and 
reduction of Congressional representation of States which 
deliberately disfranchise Negroes- . - * 

Although the Party proposes to conduct this struggle on a nation- 


wide basis, its main emphasiB is in the Southern States where Negro 
representation is disproportionate** Pettis Perry, chairman of the national 

*According to population . 


for: 



- 26 - 


Negro commission of the Communist Party, USA, and convicted under the 
Smith Act of 1940, pointed out that "in some states, especially in. the 
South, the fight for Negro representation today must move from the general 
question of representation to that of proportional Negro representation, ® 
The Communist Party’s course calls for an immediate solution 
to this problem — an immediate increase in Negro representation. It decries 


the "gradual" approach ciaimiug that it leads to "the gradual eclipse of 


Negro citizenship." Abner W. Berry, Negro affairs editor of the Daily 
Worker , in speaking of Senator Eastland of Mississippi, declared: 


* , Eastland’s very seat in the U. S. Congress is a result 
of the victory of that ’gradual’ approach, for in 1875, Eastland’s 
state had a mass of Negro voters. The Lieutenant Governor, the 
Superintendent of Education and a number of state legislators 
were Negroes. Today, 80 years later, there are none, and it is 
Eastland's intention that there will never be any more. "39 


4. Housing 

The Communist Party, USA, strongly opposes segregation in 



housing and points out that this is one of the issues around which Negro 
rights can be advanced and Negro-white unity built. The communist press 


propagandizes this situation whenever possible. The Worker , Sunday 


edition of the Daily Worker, in September, 1955, declared that: 


- 27 - 


. Outside of discrimination in the field of employment 
and education. . . there is another big area in which minority 
groups — particularly Negroes — suffer grieivous discriminations. 
This is in housing. " 


" T lntrusion T of Negro families into white neighborhoods is 
still resented with threats of violence, stoning and riots. The 
Negro ghettos stand out late sore thumbs. . 

In July, 1953, such a situation developed in the Trumbull housing 
development in Chicago, Illinois, a project operated by the Chicago Housing 
Authority. A Negro family moved into Trumbull Park which at that time had 
only white tenants. Shortly thereafter, periodic acts of vandalism began to 
occur in the project including breaking of windows of automobiles driven by 
Negroes. A police emergency plan was put into effect and a large number of _____ 
police were detailed at the project on a 24-hour basis. 

On August 20, 1953, a picket line of some forty persons demonstrated 
before the offices of the Chicago Housing Authority, opposing any move of 
the Authority to evict the Negroes from Trumbull Park. The pickets were 
led by a Communist Party member while other Party members were present 
in the picket line. Leaflets were distributed protesting eviction. The Civil 
Rights Congress was also reportedly interested in protesting any eviction in 




% 


>/ 


- 28 - 


this area. This organization has been designated as a communist front 
group coming ’within the purview of Executive Order 10450. 

The Communist Party called for the development of an energetic 
campaign involving the organized labor movement in the area together with 
church groups and mass organizations. The campaign to be organized 

demanding an end to violence included: 

1. A campaign around the elections seeking to influence all 
candidates to make this a major issue 

2. Letters and telegrams to local and national public officials 
calling for prosecution of the violators of the law, use of the 
National Guard to protect the Negro people, and a grand jury 
investigation of the responsible individuals 

3. Delegations to the mayor and aldermen 

4. Letters to the press 

5. Meetings of all possible mass organizations particularly 
among the trade-unions 

The communist press in late 1955 demanded an immediate 
expansion of the "inadequate federal housing program, ” and insisted that 
"this program has to have guarantees written into the law that there will 
be no discrimination as to occupancy. Tt41 



ttt PRINCIPAL communist party-negro front groups 


A. National Negro Labor Council 


Until the Spring of 1956, the principal communist -Negro front group 
in the United States was the National Negro Labor Council (NNLC), It was 
organized in October, 1951, at Cincinnati, Ohio, with the support of the 
Communist Party, USA. The Party urged "all out support" for the program 
of the NNLC which included the following points: 


1. A nationwide drive for 100, 000 additional jobs for Negro 

workers, with particular emphasis on jobs for Negro women 


2 . 


3. 


A campaign to solicit a million signatures petitioning for a 
national Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) 

Universal adoption of a "Model FEPC Contract Clause” in 
every union contract with management guaranteeing hiring, 
upgrading, promotion, on-the-job training, et cetera, without 
discrimination 



4, A pledge to work with other Negro rights organizations in an 
attempt to influence the trade-union movement to support 
demands for abolition of the poll tax, antilynch legislation, 
official union action against police brutality and other 
invasions of the rights of Negro union members, and integrated 
housing 


At its founding convention, the NNLC adopted resolutions calling 


for trade-union organization in the South on the basis of absolute equality, 


- 30 - 


freedom, and "self-determination" for oppressed colonial peoples through- 
out the world, and an end to the so-called United States policy of supporting 
colonial "oppressors, " 

During its existence, the NNLC directed campaigns against 
discriminatory practices engaged in by certain major industries in the 
United States. These included a drive to win better positions for Negro women 
in Sears, Roebuck and Company, an attempt to obtain jobs for Negroes as 
pilots, stewardesses, ticket clerks, et cetera, in the airlines, and a 
national campaign to upgrade Negroes in the railroad industry. 

Beginning in 1953, the NNLC attempted to promote a non- 
disc riminatory hiring policy among certain large industrial plants being 
built in Louisville, Kentucky. Using the slogan, "Let Freedom Crash the 
Gateway to the South, ,T the NNLC advanced its campaign on a nationwide 
scale through newspaper advertisements, petitions, delegations, and 
leaflets. The NNLC also filed a complaint against one of the plants involved 
with the President's Committee on Government Contracts. 

In connection with the merger of the AFL-CIO, the NNLC sent 
an "open letter" to the heads of these organizations demanding an unequivocal 



- 31 - 


equal- membership-rights constitutional provision and the election of 
Negro trade -unionists to top offices in the new organization. One hundred 
thousand copies of this '“open letter" were distributed and circulated 
nationally. 

While the main sources of funds of the NNLC were membership 
dues, contributions from members, and contributions and the sale of 
literature at meetings and rallies, it did obtain considerable financial 
support on certain occasions from so-called left-wing trade-unions such 
as the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UERMWA). * 

In January, 1954, the NNLC was designated by the Attorney General 
as coming within the purview of Executive Order 10450. On September 28, 
1955, the Attorney General, under the provisions of the Internal Security 
Act of 1950, petitioned the Subversive Activities Control Board for an order 
to require the NNLC to register as a communist front organization. The 
order was granted and a petition served against the NNLC. A hearing was 
set for April 30, 1956, for the NNLC to appear before the Subversive 
Activities Control Board, However, on April 29, 1956, the NNLC voted to 
dissolve itself. 

*UERMWA was expelled from the CIO in 1949 on the grounds that it was 
communist dominated. 



- 32 - 


While increasing financial difficulties were a factor, the 


principal reason for the dissolution was to circumvent the Government’s 
attempt to compel the NNLC to register with the Attorney General, 
Coleman A. Young, executive secretary of the NNLC, commenting on the 
dissolution, said: 


The Michigan. Association, of Negro Trade Unionists (MANTU) 
was organized in 1955 in Detroit for the purpose of seeing a Negro placed 
on the international executive hoard of the AFL-CIO. In November, 1955, 
it was reported that if MANTU materialized on a national basis the National 
Negro Labor Council would dissolve and would be replaced by the Michigan 
Association of Negro Trade Unionists. 

MANTU held a conference in November, 1955, in Detroit, at 
which several hundred were present from about eight different states. This 
conference concerned itself with .Negro rights in the AFL-CIO merger and 
adopted the following four resolutions: 


« T We are unwilling to subject our thousands of members and 
supporters, who are innocent of any wrongdoing, to the loss of 
jobs, blacklisting, and other forms of persecution entailed in the 
registration requirements of the unconstitutional Me Carr an 
Internal Security Act . ^2 


B. National Association of Negro Trade Unionists 



1„ Michigan Association of Negro Trade Unionists 


- 33 - 


1 . Resolution on Negro representation and membership rights 
dealing with agitation for a Negro representative on the 
merged executive board of the A PL -CIO 

2 = Resolution on organization for the purpose of initiating such 
action as would result in the advancement of the principles of 
democracy and Negro rights in the trade -union movement, 
particularly with regard to the AFL-CIO merger 

3. Resolution on an all-out drive to organize the Southern 
workers on an equal rights basis 

4, Resolution on the Till case characterizing it "as part of the 
great struggle for democratic rights and trade -union organ- 
izations now being waged in the South" 

A high-ranking Communist Party leader in commenting on this 


conference stated that approximately 20-30 Party members were present 


but remained in the background. He declared that the Negro trade -union 


movement at this time was not under the control or influence of the Com- 
munist Party, but that the Party planned to develop it as the merger of the 
AFL-CIO progressed. 


On April 29 f 1956, the same day on which the NNLC was dissolved, 


MANTU held another conference in Detroit at which permanent officers were 
elected, William Henry Johnson, recording secretary of Local 600, UAW, AFL 
CIO, was elected president, and Nat Turner, executive vice president. 

David William Moore, a member of the Communist Party, was elected 
organizational director. 



- 34 - 


2. Negro Trade Unionists Committee 

Another Negro trade-union group was formed in October, 1955, 


in New York City under the title of Negro Labor Unionists Committee, later 
changed to Negro Trade Unionists Committee {NTUC). This organization 
was reportedly the result of a meeting of Negro leaders present at the 
UERMWA national convention held in September, 1955, The NTUC was 


designed as a national organization and was subdivided into ten groups 
throughout the country. Its chief purpose was to guarantee full and equal 
membership rights for Negroes and minority groups in the AFL-CIO and to 
fight for trade “Union organization of both Negroes and whites in the Southern 
States. 


leaflets throughout the United States and to foster recognition of these aims 
through churches and fraternal organizations. 

3, National Association of Negro Trade Unionists cf New Jersey 
In the early part of 1956, another group with similar aims and 
purposes was formed in New Jersey under the name of the National 
Association of Negro Trade Unionists of New Jersey. 



The NTUC proposed to advance its aims by mass distribution of 


-35 - 


4. 


Amalgamation of These Three Organisations 


These three organisations held a national steering committee 
conference in Detroit, Michigan, on February 24 and 25 P 1956, and adopted 
the name National Association of Negro Trade Unionists, A statement was 
adopted indicating the purpose of the group is to organize the unorganized 
workers, concentrating strongly on the Negroes, 

Two committees were established, a resolutions committee and 
a constitutional committee. The former endorsed a civil rights conference 
scheduled for March, 1956, under the sponsorship of the National Associati 
for the Advancement of Colored People and other supporting groups. 



- 36 - 


IV* THE COMMUNIST PARTY — NEGRO-FR ATERNAL, PROTEST- 
AND - IMPROVEMENT ORGANIZATIONS 


A. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 
(NAACP) is unquestionably the most important agency for the Negro people 
in the United States "in their struggle against caste* " It was started on 
the initiative of a group of white citizens who in 1909 called a conference, 
supported by both Negroes and whites, to organize a "national conference 
for the discussion of present evils, the voicing of protests, and the renewal 


In 1910, this group merged with the Niagara Movement (formed 
in 1905 by a group of Negroes who urged protest rather than accommodation 
in an effort to secure equal rights for the Negroes) to form the NAACP with 
the objective of winning full equality for the Negro as an American citizen. 

The national office of the NAACP in New York City supervises 
the work of approximately 1,355 branches, youth councils, and college 
chapters located throughout 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska. 
While the leadership of the NAACP has always been interracial, the 
majority of its membership, which is largely confined to upper-class 


of the struggle for civil and political liberty. ft 



- 37 - 


Negroes, is practically all Negro. According to a report of the 47th annual 
convention of the NAACP held in June, 1956, this organization reached a 
new high of 309,000 members with gains concentrated in the South, Income 
soared to a record $635, 000. in addition to its official publication. The 
Crisis, it publishes literature on various aspects of the Negro question. 

The major portion of its work is carried out through its national 
office which keeps a constant check on Negro rights and attempts to secure 
passage of favorable state and Federal legislation. In a broad sense, the 
NAACP strives to create favorable publicity for the Negro and air his 
grievances before the American public. In recent years, it has shifted its 
emphasis from the defense of the Negro to a more offensive position in 


infiltrate and gain control of the NAACP, using tactics consistent with Party 
policy during its alternate militant and "united front’ * periods . It recognizes 
the NAACP as "the most important Negro organization, dedicated to the 
fight for Negro equality, " At a national conference of the Communist Party, 
USA, held in 1953, a statement was issued to the effect that? 


Ms behalf. 



Throughout the years, the Communist Party, USA f has tried to 


- 38 - 


"... The N. A. A. C. P. is increasingly becoming a 
coordinating center for all major organizations among the Negro 
people, and the pivot for the further advancement of the Negro - 
labor alliance, . . . "43 

Accordingly, the Party instructed all of its Negro members to 
join established Negro people's organizations including the NAACP: 

", □ . the time has come to put an end to the self-imposed 
isolation from the Negro community of key Negro cadres. 

We must insist that all Negro Party members, without exception, 
develop and strengthen their ties with the organized sections 
of the Negro community. "44 

The Communist Party has had a certain measure of success in 
controlling isolated chapters of the NAACP but has been unable to secure 
domination of the organization on a state or national level. The NAACP 
is alert to those instances where communist control has been effected. 

At its 41st national convention held in June,; 1950, the NAACP went on 
record as opposing communism and empowered its board of directors to |f 
revoke the charter of any chapter found to be communist controlled. In < — 
June, 1955, it reaffirmed its stand against communism, calling it an anti- 
democratic way of life, and warned its branches to be constantly alert 
against communist infiltration. 

Persons identified with the Communist Party and the NAACP have, 
in the past, acted jointly and frequently engaged in parallel activities. Howeve; 


39 


must be kept in mind that the ultimate aims of these two groups are 
entirely distinct. The Communist Party seeks to foster discord and dis- 
content among the Negro race by agitation and propaganda in order to 
facilitate the rise of socialism in the United States, whereas the goal 
of the NAACP is to achieve Ml racial integration and equality within the 
present form of Government. * One recent instance in which the two 
organizations reportedly cooperated was in the Till case which has been 
previously described. According to information originating from a 
communist spokesman, the Party was able to reach an agreement with 
leaders of the NAACP on a plan of work. The NAACP has taken an 
extremely aggressive stand in the Till case and has sponsored numerous 
rallies and meetings in protest against the death of Till and the conduct 
of the trial in Mississippi. The Communist Party has afforded the Till 
case continued attention, constantly urging the Department of Justice to 
intervene, and agitating for a mass march on Washington, D. C , , to 


desegregation in housing, at public beaches and amusement centers, in 

transportation, and in the television industry. The Supreme Court decisioi 

* It is to be noted that the Communist Party, USA, in order to confuse the 
American people, is attempting to make its policies parallel to those of 
the NAACP on controversial, racial issues. 


enforce its demands. 


In recent years, the NAACP has actively campaigned for 



- 40 


against school segregation in May, 1954, was acclaimed by the NAACP 
as the high point for civil rights during that year. At its 44th national 
convention held in 1953, the NAAGP promulgated the slogan "Free by f 63" 
which launched a program to win total integration of Negroes by 1963, the 
one^ hundredth anniversary of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamatior 
The Communist Party has given considerable publicity to all of these issues 
and has attempted to further them whenever possible. 


In March, 1956, a national conference on civil rights, attended 


by 1, 500 delegates, was held in Washington, D a C, , under the sponsorship 
of the NAACP and other supporting organizations. Its over-all objective 
was to bring to the attention of Congress the folLowing program, certain 
measures of which, if enacted into law, would: 


2, Withhold Federal funds from any institution which 
defies the constitutional prohibition against segregation 
in public facilities 

3, Make lynching and other race-inspired acts of violence 
Federal offenses 


1, Create job equality through the establishment of an 
effective Federal FEPC 



4 . 


Abolish the poll tax and create protection of the right to 
vote 


5 . 


Establish a civil rights division in the Department of 
Justice with authority to protect civil rights in all sections 
of the country 

6. Create a permanent Federal Commission on Civil Rights 

7. Eliminate remaining segregation and other forms of 
discrimination in interstate travel 


Activities of the conference included briefing on how delegates 
should conduct themselves when contacting congressmen; speeches on 
the need for additional civil rights legislation; talks by individuals from 
Southern States who were allegedly victims of civil rights violations; 
speeches by representatives of the Democratic and Republican Parties; and 
contacts with congressmen with a report session on results trf contacts 


significant* Furthermore, at a prior meeting of the Party’s national Negro 
commission, Party leaders had declared that the principal task of the Party 
was to influence this mobilization of the NAACP, Delegates to the conferem 
were screened by the NAACP, but the Party attempted to gain acceptance of 
a form of observer status so that persons other than approved delegates 


with congressmen. 

The Communist Party considered this conference to be very 



- 42 - 


could participate. The Party favored a program including support for 
proposals by Congressmen Adam Clayton Powell of New York and 
Charles C. Diggs of Michigan to unseat the Mississippi representation in 
Congress; support for all civil rights, desegregation, and anlipoll tax 
legislation; attacks against Attorney General Brownell; and a fight for a 
new enforcement order from the Supreme Court for desegregation. 

Seven Party functionaries are known to have attended various 
sessions of the conference as spectators since none of them had been able 
to obtain authorized credentials. Communist literature such as the Daily 
Worker and a pamphlet entitled Behind the Lynching of Emmett Louis Till 
was distributed outside conference sessions. 


The Party was quite disgruntled at its extremely limited role in 
the conference as was evidenced by Abner W. Berry in his column ”Qn the 


Way, " in the Daily Worker: 

, .the assembly leadership caused unnecessary griping and 
confusion by applying too much zeal in keeping delegations sma! 
blocking all attempts to discuss issues and in insisting upon 
injecting the alien note of anti-Communism. 

However, Berry pointed out that T 'the movement for civil rights 


was able to surmount these political diversions and make its imprint on 


the official mind of Washington. 



- 43 - 


The NAACP held its 47th annual convention in San Francisco, 
California, from June 26 to July 1, 1956. It reaffirmed its anti- 
communist position and at the same time extended its policy of non- 
cooperation with communist- controlled groups to declare communists 
ineligible for membership in the NAACP. The NAACP also added the 
National Association of Negro Trade Unionists to its list of labor groups 
forbidden cooperation with the NAACP. 

B. Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World 

The Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World 
(IBFOE of W) was organized in 1898 as a fraternal organization for Negroes 
with the following objectives! 

1. Promote better citizenship among Negroes 

2. Promote belter relations between Negroes and the 
race 

3 . Provide an educational program for the enlightenment of 
the Negro and establish scholarships as awards to deserving 
individuals for furtherance of their education in specialized 
fields 

4. Promote the general health, welfare, and status of the Negrc 
through Christian principles, doctrines, and teachings based 
upon the American way of life 



- 44 - 


5= Establish a fraternal organization to provide for economic, 
social, and recreational facilities for Negroes 

The IB POE of W is an entirely separate organization from the 
well-known Benevolent Protective Order of Elks (BPOE). 

Lodges of the IB POE of W exist in practically every major city 
in the United States* each Lodge having a women's aisxiliary section known as 
Temples. Affairs of the organization are handled by the office of the grand 
secretary in Washington, D. C. * assisted by the grand exalted rjiler in 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The IBPOE of W issues a publication known 
as the Washington Eagle published in Washington, D. C. 

Prior to the 55th national convention of this organization held in 
Chicago, Illinois, in August* 1954, the Communist Party, USA, was said 
to be in the process of establishing a policy accelerating its infiltration of th 
IBPOE of W, At that time* 21 Party members were reportedly affiliated 
with the IBPOE of W although none held a top office. 

The Communist Party fraction of the IBPOE of W held a pre- 
convention caucus at which it was decided that Party work in this organiza- 
tion should proceed slowly and should concentrate on the civil liberties* 
legislative, and educational committees. Meetings were held in New York 


- 45 - 


City and Chicago prior to and during the convention for the purpose of 
establishing the precise Communist Party policy to be followed during the 
convention, Pettis Perry, chairman of the Part/ s national Negro commission, 
was the "guiding light" in effectuating this Party policy. Party members felt 
that they were successful at the convention in that (1) all officers they 
backed were successful, (2) every member was acceptable to the other siate 
delegates, and (3) the resolutions they wanted passed by the convention were 
incorporated into the final convention resolutions. These resolutions dealt 
with such issues as discrimination in industry, PEPC, segregation in schools, 
peace, outlawing of the poll tax, and others, which matters are of vital 
interest to all Negroes whether Communist Party members or not. 
Consequently, it cannot be stated that these resolutions were communist 


Meetings of a number of Communist Party members were again 
held preceding the 56th annual convention of the IBPOE of W the following 
year. Discussion centered around the development of a joint program 
between the NAACP and the Negro Elks relative to EEPC, integration and 
the right to vote in the South, and Negro representation at all levels of 


inspired. 



- 46 - 


government, as well as arousing interest of state delegates at the con- 
vention in resolutions dealing with civil liberties, political action, the 
Walter -Me Carr an Act, and unity between the IBPOE of W and the NAACP. 

The report of the resolutions committee for the 1955 IBPOE of W 
convention included resolutions against discrimination in employment, housini 
Negro representation, and transportation, and commended the NAACP for 
its efforts in implementing the United States Supreme Court decision against 
school segregation. 

During early 1955, the national administrative committee of the 
Communist Party issued a memorandum defining certain tasks for Party 
members and any other individuals concerned with the struggle for Negro 
rights. This document pointed out that the primary organizations through 
which these tasks could be achieved are the established mass organizations 
of the Negro people and joint Negro-white membership including the Negro^ 
Elks. (p 

Communist infiltration into this organization can be exemplified 
by one communist couple who joined the IBPOE of W upon the direct orders 
of the Communist Party. The wife was initiated into the women’s auxiliary 
of the Negro Elks in March, 1955, her husband having been a member of 


- 47 - 


the Elks for several months. In the latter part of April, 1955, she reportedly 
was actively engaged in a fund-raising drive for her auxiliary. By August, 
1955, she was advancing in the Elks organization, due to her diligent efforts. 
Her husband was also persevering in his activity in the Elks and in the latter 
part of 1955 was elected chairman of the civil liberties committee of Ms lodgf 
In July, 1955, the Communist Party reportedly had 88 of its members in 
the IBPOE of W as contrasted with 21 in 1954. 



= 48 - 


v. results of communist party activity directed 

““ TOWARD NEGROES " 

A* Effects within the Communist Party (White Chauvinism) 

Although the Communist Party has consistently advocated full 
social, political, industrial, economic, and political equality for the Negroes, 
the application of certain facets of this policy within its own organization 


must be considered. 

The Communist Party, USA, has frequently elected or appointed 
Negroes, at least nominally, to positions of authority > Two Negroes, 

Henry Winston and Benjamin J„ Davis, Jr , , were members of its national 
committee prior to their convictions in 1949 for conspiracy to violate the 
Smith Act of 1940. Three other Negroes, James E. Jackson, Claude 
Lightfoot, and Pettis Perry were alternate members of the Party's national 
committee. All three have been convicted of violation of the Smith Act, 
and Jackson and Perry are presently serving sentences under this 
conviction. In addition, Negroes have frequently held other positions of 
importance in the communist movement. Doaey A. Wilkerson is a former 
member of the Party’s national committee and is presently instructor and 



- 49 * 


\i 'i i -i 


director of faculty and curriculum at the Jefferson School of Social 
Science which has been designated as a communist front organization 
coming within the purview of Executive Order 10450. Abner W, Berry 
is also a former member of the national committee and is presently Negro 
affairs editor of the Daily Worker , east coast communist newspaper. 

Yet, in spite of this and the voluminous publicity which it has 
given its slogan of equal rights for the Negroes, the Communist Part 
throughout its history has had to wage a continuing fight against what 
describes as "white chauvinism, " or "white supremacy. "* hi 1953, the 
Communist Party declared that "in recent years the Party has waged an 
intensive fight against egressions of white chauvinism within the Party. 

We must continue this fight. "** It noted, however, that the "past two 
years have witnessed a noticeable decline in the struggle against white 
chauvinism and for Negro rights in a number of key districts. Li several 
respects this is also true on a national scale. 

*Webster T s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged, 1955, 
defines chauvinism as "the sentiments or disposition of a chauvin; hence 
vainglorious or exaggerated patriotism. " 

**Italicized in original text. 



- 50 - 


In 1954, William Z. Foster, national chairman of the Communist 
Party, USA, pointed out that the Party’s struggle against chauvinism must 
be combined with the fight against Negro bourgeois nationalism. He stated: 

' ’While the Communist Party militantly combats white 
chauvinism as the worst ideological menace to Negro-white 
co-operation and solidarity, it does not ignore the lesser 
danger of Negro bourgeois nationalism as a divisive force. It 
fights on both fronts. Bourgeois -nationalist ideology 'is the 
instrument through which the Negro petty bourgeois leaders, posing 
as champions of general "race" interests, i. e., the interests of 
the whole Negro people, seek to rally them in support of the 
narrow class interests of the Negro bourgeoisie. ’ It manifests 
itself in a two-fold way : in reformist illusions of automatic 
integration into white institutions and, consequently, in the idea 
that there is no need to struggle against the white oppressors; 
or in sectarian, isolationist policies of segregationism. In both 
cases it is a surrender to white supremacy, 

§ 

In 1955, Foster further declared that: (| 

", , , there are more than a few traces of white chauvinism 
even in our own ranks, although our Party is far in advance of 
other organizations as to being free of this poison. The fight 
against white chauvinism is one we must make constantly, uot^ 
only among the white masses, but also in our own Party. . , , " 

The national committee of the Communist Party, USA, held an 

enlarged meeting in New York City on April 28- May 1, 1956. While there, 

several of the Party's Negro leaders criticized previous Party policy in the 

field of Negro activities. They complained because there were so few Negroes 


~ 51 - 


and no Negro women present at this meeting. They char ged that the Party 
had failed -to eliminate white chauvinism and urged that another meeting be 
held in the near future to deal exclusively with the Negro question. 

To alleviate this situation, one western district of the Communist 
Party recommended that county committees should evaluate their Negro 
work by discussions with various Negro Party members; Negro committees 
should be established to analyze work in Negro communities; and each area 
should be examined for its activity in community organizations, trader union 


and its educational programs, 

B, Effects on Noncommunist Negroes (Negro Membership in th^>- 



Communist Party) ^ 

Throughout its history, the Communist Party, USA, has 
constantly endeavored to increase its Negro membership. According to 
William Z. Poster, the highest percentage of Negro membership in the 
Communist Party was attained in 1947 when it totaled 17 per cent of the 


entire national membership. 

Along with the decline of the national membership since 1948, 
the Communist Party has experienced an even greater decline, percentage- 
wise, in its Negro membership. At a national conference of the Party 


- 52 - 




held in 1953 , a report was given on the Party T s work among Negroes. The 
report asserted that in recent years there had been a decline in Negro 
membership and noted the reasons therefore 

T \ s .The attacks upon our Party by the white ruling class,, 
the concessions, even though few, thrown, in the direction of 
Negro reformists, the growth of Red-baiting influences among 
Negroes, and the lack of sufficient struggle by the Party to 
adjust to these new developments, have, among other causes, 
contributed to this decline. * . . "50 

hi November, 1954, the New York State Communist Party, which 
is the largest district in the country, commented on the loss of Negro 
members, giving as the reasons for this decline, the attacks made against 
the Party and the failure of Party clubs, sections, and higher bodies to 
maintain their vanguard communist role of militant struggle in behalf of 
Negro rights. 

As of June 30, 1956, the Negro membership of the Communist 
Party, USA, was reliably estimated to be seven per cent of the total national 
membership of the Party. The total national membership was estimated 
at slightly less than 30, 000. The Party 7 s Negro membership is in marked 
contrast to 1947 when there were nearly 13, 000 Negroes, or 17 per cent, 
in the total national membership of the Party of 75, 400. 



- 53 - 


SECRET, 


SOURCES 


1* The Fourth National Convention of the Workers (Communist) Party 
of America (Daily Worker Publishing Company, Chicago), 

1925* p. 123. 

2, Louis E. Burnham* Behind the Lynching of Emmett Louis Till 

(Freedom Associates* Inc.* New York)* December* 1955* 
pp. 13;- 14. 

3, Augusta Strong, "Former Harlem Councilman Gives His Views*” 

The Worker* March 11* 1956* p. 3. 

4, Carl Hirsch* "A Negro Communist Looks at the Future* " The 

Worker, February 19* 1956, p. 7-S. ~ 

5, Max Weiss * "Geneva and f 56* " political Affairs * January* 1956, p* 17 

6, Ibid,* pp, 17-18. 


7. Party Voice, February* 1954, VoL 1* No. 11* . p. 3, 

8, Eugene Dennis* The Communists Take A New Look (New Century 

Publishers* New York)* 1956, p. 44, 

9* Edward E. Strong, "Developments in the Negro- Labor Alliance* ” 
Political Affairs, February, 1956, p. 50. {§ 

10. Ibid. , p. 37, 

11. Hal Simon, "The Labor Merger, ,r Political Affairs, January, 1956, 

pp. 51-52. 

12. Ibid,, p. 52. 


13. Edward E, Strong* op. cit. * p. 43. 


- 54 - 


14. Hal Simon, op, cit. , p. 63 „ 

15. Id. 


16 . 


17. 


18 . 


19. 


20 . 


21 . 


22 . 


23, 


24. 


25. 


26. 


27. 


28, 


29. 


Id. 


Party Voice, op, cit., p, 10. 

Party Voice, February, 1955, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 6, 

Hugh Bradley, Next Steps in the Struggle for Negro Freedom 
(New Century Publishers, New Yorkjj, p. 39, 

William Z, Foster, "The Supreme Court and Segregation, M Daily 
Worker, May 20, 1954, p. 3. 

Pettis Perry, "The November Elections and the Struggle for Jobs, 
Peace, Equal Rights, and Democracy, " Political Affairs, 
September, 1954, p. 32. 


Samuel Sillen, "Our Time, " Masses fc Mainstream, June, 1954, p 

The "tutors and Israel Amter, "The Fight for Desegregation, " 
Party Voice, November, 1954, pp. 11, 12. 


Editorial, Daily Worker, November 9, 1955, p. 5. 

Editorial, Daily Worker. January 12, 1956, p. 5. 

Editorial, Daily Worker, March 13, 1956, p. 5. 

Editorial, Daily Worker, February 8, 1956, p. 5. 

Roosevelt Ward, "Ben Davis Expulsion of Miss Lucy, 
March 2, 1956, p. 2. 



" Daily Works 


Eugene Dennis, "Dennis Urges Gov't Disarm Racist Subversion, " 
Daily Worker , February 29, 1956, pp. 1, 8. 


- 55 - 


30 . 


Editorial, Daily Worker, February 27, 1956, p. 5. 


31. 


32. 


33, 


34. 


35. 

36. 


37, 


38. 


39. 


40. 


41. 


42. 


43. 


44. 


45. 


Editorial, Daily Worker , March 30, 1956, p. 5. 

William Z. Foster, "Lynching and Strike Violence, 11 Daily Worker, 
October 19, 1955, p. 5. — 

Party Voice, June, 1955, Vol. 3, No, 6, p. 16, 

Albert E, Blumberg, "The T 56 Elections, " Political Affairs, 
January, 1956, p. 31. 

Editorial, Daily Worker , March 9, 1954, p. 5. 

Editorial, Daily Worker , July 7, 1955, p. 5, 

Louis E, Burnham, op. cit. , p. 15. 

Pettis Perry, "The Negro People in the Struggle Against 
McCarthyism, " Political Affairs, May, 1954, p. 32. 

Abner W. Berry, "On the Way," Daily Worker, February 21, 

1956, p. 5. 

James Doisen, "GOP Senators Hold UP Bill to Stop Discrimination 
in Housing, 11 The Worker, September 11, 1955, p. 15. 

Editorial, Daily Worker , September 7, 1955, p. 5, 

"Dissolve Negro Labor Council, " Daily Worker , May 1, 1956, p. 3. 

Hugh Bradley, op. cit ., p. 11. 

Ibid. , p. 19. 

Abner W. Berry, "On the Way, " Daily Worker, March 13, 
p .5. 



- 56 - 


46. 


Id. 

47= Hugh Bradley, op= clip , pp. 45, 46. 

48, William Z= Foster, The Negro People in, American Histor y 
(International Publishers, New York), 1954 , p= 545 = 

49* William Z= Foster, "Notes on the Struggle for Negro Rights, " 
Political Affairs, May, 1955, p, 31= 

50. Hugh Bradley, op. eit* , p. 45= 



=■ 57 -