Black and White and Red All Over

I don’t think I’d get far with this argument before the Texas State Board of Education, but here goes. I believe that textbooks for American high school and college students ought to devote more coverage—positive coverage—to the contributions that the Communist Party USA made to the civil rights movement in the Jim Crow days of the 1940s and early 1950s. They get left out because most of us don’t like Communism, dismissing it as a false belief system. And yet, history books make plenty of room for Malcolm X, whose belief system (Nation of Islam) has it that the Earth is 76 trillion years old. Don’t seem fair.

There, I’ve said it. Not only do I believe this, but I wrote an article saying so in The People’s World, the Chicago-based newspaper that is the direct descendant of The Daily Worker, the granddaddy of all Communist Party organs here in the U.S. Check it out and then come back and either praise me or damn me, as the case may be. If you’re with the Texas State Board of Education and you want to subpoena me, please email it as a PDF. Faxes get lost around here.

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3 responses to “Black and White and Red All Over

  1. Rev. Irving C. Jones

    Communism is a a bad word or at least that is what we have been taught. It shouldn’t be. False belief systems aren’t those that fight for an end to racism;sexism and colonialism. False belief systems gives us failed banks and dismal foreclosures. False belief systems gives us ceaseless war and endless poverty.False belief systems gives us recessions and depressions. False belief systems hang men and women for the color of their skin.

  2. Well, I do think this book will bring attention to the overlooked fact that the Communist party made a contribution during an especially rough and violent era of the civil rights movement in the U.S. I certainly wasn’t told about it in school.

  3. Good points here. But many blacks — like Phil Randolph and Bayard Rustin, who organized the 1963 March on Washington — were also burned by the Communists. Rustin joined a youth wing of the party because of its civil rights activism, but quit in disgust when the Communists dropped the race issue after Hitler’s invasion of the USSR. As Rustin later commented, any system that insisted on massive planning with massive organizations was bound to degrade real people. As Randolph told Rustin: What did you expect? They were USING you. Still, deeds matter. In the period when practically all other whites could not be bothered to fight for blacks, the Communists took the charge. When many states in Dixie banned the NAACP, the Communists and the churches were left to keep up the struggle.

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