By Walter T. Howard

Black Communists communicate on Scottsboro, an account of a missed bankruptcy within the tale of the Scottsboro saga, provides voice to a phase of the African American group that has usually been neglected or distorted: black Communists.

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Extra resources for Black Communists Speak on Scottsboro: A Documentary History

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I n t ro d u c t i o n : B a c k g ro u n d a n d C o n t e x t ▪ 25 19. Kelley, Hammer and Hoe, 99–101. 20. Bert Cochran, Labor and Communism: The Conflict That Shaped American Unions (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977); and Robert Gipe, Which Side Are You Are On? The Harlan County Coal Miners, 1931–1931 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, reprint edition, 2002). 21. Kelley, Hammer and Hoe; and Naison, Communists in Harlem. 22. R. J. , Northwestern University, 1959, 49; and Paul D’Amato, “The Communist Party and Black Liberation in the 1930s,” International Socialist Review 1 (Summer 1997), 1–12.

In fact, the united front forces, including black radicals, sustained their agitation for the freedom of the Scottsboro victims into the 1940s. In light of the military conflict in Europe during World War II, the nation became preoccupied with the war effort and interest in Scottsboro virtually disappeared. The Scottsboro Defense Committee grew inactive. Its chairperson, Allan Knight Chalmers, maintained minimal contact with the International Labor Defense. 55 On January 8, 1944, Andrew Wright (30 years old) and Clarence Norris (32 years old), were paroled.

At Leningrad there was a great protest of the toiling cultural and scientific workers, engineers, technicians, educational and art workers. This has been a mighty demonstration of world sympathy and international solidarity. But comrades and fellow workers, the boys are still in the clutches of the fiendish boss class. Only an appeal to a higher court has delayed the case so far. There is nothing but capitalist “justice” in these courts. This means that the boys will be executed unless we raise a mightier international protest for their actual release.

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