1. For background on W. E. B. Du Bois, see Vol. IV, note 136.
2. For background on the Ku Klux Klan, see Vol. II, pp. 183–239.
3. For the East St. Louis Riot, see Vol. V, pp. 284–332.
4. For a definition of peonage, see p. 397.
5. James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, 2 vols. (New York, 1895).
6. Charles S. Johnson (1893–1956) first gained recognition through his co-authored The Negro in Chicago (1922), a landmark in social research. In 1947 he became the first black president of Fisk University and continued in that position for the remainder of his life. He held many other influential positions at the local and national level, and authored numerous books and articles, such as the Negro in American Civilization (1930), Shadow of the Plantation (1934), and Growing Up in the Black Belt (1941).
7. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, George S. Schuyler (b. 1895) for many years served as writer for the Pittsburgh Courier. He also wrote numerous magazine articles and two novels, Black No More and Slaves Today! Schuyler also wrote Racial Intermarriage in the United States, and Black and Conservative (1966), his autobiography.
8. Ira De A. Reid (b. 1901) received an A.B. from Morehouse College, an M.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and the Ph.D. from Columbia University (1929). An exceptional sociologist, he taught at the university level, and became prominent as a result of his excellent social studies. He has served as a consultant to numerous governmental agencies, as director of research for the Urban League, and published numerous scholarly works.
9. William Butterworth, “What Canadian Business is Doing,” 17 (December, 1928): 80.
10. For background on T. Arnold Hill, see Vol. V, note 135.
11. Broadus Mitchell, (b. 1892) economic historian and educator, received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1918. He taught at Johns Hopkins, Rutgers University, Occidental College, and Hofstra before retiring in 1967. Mitchell wrote a number of books, including the Rise of Cotton Mills in the South (1921), William Gregg (1928), and The Industrial Revolution in the South (1930).
12. For background on the National Negro Business League, see Vol. V, note 23.
13. For background on Asa Philip Randolph, see Vol. V, note 111.
14. The “Black Death of the Middle Ages” refers to the most virulent epidemic of bubonic plague recorded in human history which spread over Europe 1347 and 1350. Successive outbursts followed every few years thereafter for three centuries.
15. Binga State Bank of Chicago was founded by Jesse Binga who built his banking empire by using his wife’s inheritance to invest in real estate. The bank survived only about twenty-five years (1908–1932), finally forced to close its doors in the midst of the Depression.
16. James J. Davis (1873–1947) was born in Wales and emigrated with his parents to Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1881. He was apprenticed as a puddler in the steel mills at age 11. Eventually, Davis rose to become president of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers of America. A Republican, he was appointed Secretary of Labor by President Harding in 1929. He resigned from office in 1930 following his election to the U. S. Senate as a Republican from Pennsylvania. He was elected again in 1933 and 1939. He lost his bid for the Senate in 1944.
17. The “Big Four” railroad unions consisted of the brotherhoods of firemen, trainmen, conductors, and engineers. See Vol. IV, pp. 85–114, and Vol. V, pp. 198–224.
18. For background on Kelly Miller, see Vol. V, note 4. Miller was a vocal advocate of a “Negro Sanhedrin,” or a broad coalition of civil rights groups which would meet regularly in convention to act in unison for Negro rights.
19. Emma Alice Margaret (Margot) Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith (1864–1945), was interested in the lives of factory girls and visited a factory of women workers in Whitechapel whenever she was in London. She wrote that she “derived as much interest and more benefit from visiting the poor than the rich and I get on better with them.” She was drawn more to intellectual than political affairs and counted numerous writers as friends. In 1894 she married Herbert Henry Asquith, a leader of the Liberal party.
20. Stuart Chase (b. 1888) graduated from Harvard University in 1910 and served with the Federal Trade Commission and a labor organization for economic research. Among his numerous studies published between 1925 and 1960 are The Tragedy of Waste (1925), The Economy of Abundance (1934), A Primer of Economics (1941), and Live and Let Live (1960).
21. The National Industrial Recovery Act (1933) was designed to revive industrial and trade activity during a period of severe business depression. The National Recovery Administration, established under the act, gave the president the power to prescribe codes for industries in order to stabilize prices, spread employment, and raise wages. The NRA eventually broke down under its own weight and the Supreme Court destroyed it by undermining its legal foundations on the ground that the Act invaded states’ rights.
22. For background on Eugene Kinkle Jones, see Vol. V, note 87.
23. Frances Perkins (1882–1965), an authority on industrial hazards and hygiene, fought for more comprehensive factory laws and for maximum-hour laws for women. She became the first woman cabinet member when President Franklin Roosevelt appointed her Secretary of Labor (1933–1945), and gained respect for skillfully administering its vastly increased duties under the New Deal.
24. Henry Allen Bullock (1907–1973), black educator, author, and authority on Afro-American life, taught at various universities. The last years of his career were spent at the University of Texas, Austin, during which time he won the Bancroft Prize (1968) for his History of Negro Education in the South from 1619 to the Present.
25. Robert C. Weaver (b. 1907), economist and public servant, became an adviser on Negro affairs in the Department of the Interior (1933–1937) and eventually rose to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Lyndon Johnson. He was the first black to be appointed to the White House Cabinet.
26. The editorial appeared in the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, August 5, 1933.
27. The “Wall Street Debacle” (1929) was the worst stock market and financial crash in the nation’s history. Every field of business suffered huge losses, and the Great Depression which was to last a decade set in. Exports and imports fell off sharply and unemployment rose to an estimated seventeen million. Presidential orders and various banking acts gradually restored solvency but the nation’s economy did not fully recover until the advent of World War II.
28. Gustav Peck, a National Recovery Administration official on the Labor Advisory Board, advised against a national minimum wage because it would hurt black workers. Blacks remained unconvinced.
29. John P. Davis, a young black Harvard Law School graduate, was an attorney in Washington, D.C. He and Robert Weaver formed the Negro Industrial League in 1933 to advocate the integration of blacks in the New Deal. Out of this organization grew the Joint Committee on National Recovery, a coalition of twenty-two major Negro organizations founded in 1935 to continue the effort to eliminate racial discrimination in the New Deal, with Davis as its secretary. Davis also served as organizer-secretary of the National Negro Congress founded in 1935. See also, pp. 446-52.
30. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) was created by act of Congress in 1933 to raise commodity prices, reduce overproduction of farm crops, and to elevate the income of farmers. In 1936 the Supreme Court declared the act an unconstitutional intrusion into states rights. A second act passed in 1938 authorized the AAA to establish a system of crop insurance and parity payments to regulate farm production.
The Public Works Administration (PWA) was established under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 to stimulate employment through the construction of roads, public buildings, and other projects. The Supreme Court also ruled the NIRA was unconstitutional.
32. Marcus Garvey (1887–1940) was born in Jamaica and apprenticed to learn the printer’s trade. He came to the U.S. in 1916 and established his race organization in Harlem. The Universal Negro Improvement Association won millions of followers, although the exact number is disputed, on a platform of race pride, the development of an independent black nation in Africa, and the control of the economic and political life of black communities in America. Garvey started all-black businesses such as the Black Star Line, a shipping enterprise funded by black stockholders. The movement disintegrated after Garvey was jailed in 1925 for mail fraud. His sentence was commuted in 1927 and Garvey was deported. Garvey started the first real mass movement among Afro-Americans, and his influence has continued to the present day. Garvey died poverty-stricken in London, England, 1940.
33. Charles Stewart Parnell (1846–1891), an Irish Nationalist, was educated at Cambridge and entered Parliament in 1875. He gathered a band of Irish Home Rule members for the purpose of obstruction in the House of Commons. His bitter obstruction of the Coercion Bill and the Land Act led to his temporary arrest and imprisonment. By 1886 Parnell’s Irish Nationalists held the balance of power in the Commons, and forced Gladstone to form a ministry on the basis of Home Rule to Ireland. Parnell made a triumphal tour of the U.S. in 1880 and was invited to address the House of Representatives.
For background on William Howard Taft, see Vol. V, note 25.
For Samuel Gompers, see Vols. IV and V passim.
34. The Chicago Commission on Race Relations was created in the wake of the 1919 riot which convulsed that city for several days. Its purpose was to study the causes of the riot and to make recommendations for preventing further violence. The Commission’s most long lasting contribution was a study published in 1922. That report is reproduced in part in Vol. V, pp. 333-41. For the riot, see Vol. V, pp. 333-65.
35. Charles S. Johnson, The Negro in American Civilization; a Study of Negro and Race Relations in the Light of Social Research (New York, 1930).
36. Richard T. Ely, Outlines cf Economics (New York, 1893). Many subsequent editions were published.
Frank T. Carlton, Organized Labor in American History (New York, 1920).
37. Matthew Carey (1760–1839), publisher and economist, immigrated to Philadelphia from Ireland in 1784. The firm Carey & Lea became a leading publishing house. Retiring from business in 1819, Carey organized the Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of National Industry, and advocated the “American System” championed by Henry Clay to promote industry. Carey also was involved in social reform issues.
38. For the American Negro Labor Congress, see pp. 436-45.
39. For background on Sojourner Truth, see Vol. II, note 86.
40. The Communist Party established Unemployed Councils of Negroes and whites to demand relief funds. Frequently they organized marches and demonstrations in order to command the attention of local officials to the plight of the unemployed.
41. For background for Frank R. Crosswaith, see p. 506, and note 135.
42. For the National Negro Labor Congress, see pp. 446-52.
43. Ashley L. Totten (1884–1963) was born in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1905. Eventually he became a Pullman porter, and in 1925 was one of the principal founders of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The Pullman Co. fired him for his efforts and he became an organizer for the Brotherhood, and then, in 1930, the union’s secretary-treasurer, serving in that capacity for more than thirty years.
William H. Des Verney had been with the Pullman Co. for many years and was near retirement in 1924 when he was one of the original three who recruited A. Philip Randolph to become general organizer for the new union of porters. In fact, the details were worked out in his home in New York. He was fired from his position of organizer in 1928 because of a feud among the New York branch members.
44. Robert L. Mays founded the Railway Men’s Benevolent Association to serve as an industrial type union for black railroad employees denied admission to the unions of their craft. The union grew out of the favorable atmosphere of World War I when the U.S. government sought to achieve stability in the labor market by recognizing unions. Prior to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, union porters belonged to Mays’ association. By 1924, however, Mays had decided against a vigorous campaign among the porters. In January 1926 Mays resigned from the BSCP in a public letter printed in the Chicago Defender. The letter demonstrated the schism over strategy within the newly founded brotherhood. For further background on Mays, see pp. 294–302. See also, Vol. V, note 95.
For background on Chandler Owen, see Vol. V, note 110.
Milton P. Webster (b. 1887) came to Chicago from Clarksville, Tennessee, as a young man to work as a porter. By 1925 he exercised some influence in black Republican politics as a ward leader and retained the friendship of Chicago’s leading black politicians, Oscar De Priest. Because he had important political connections, and many personal friends among the porters, Webster became the second most important figure in the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
45. Robert W. Dunn, author and executive secretary of the Garland Fund, published Company Unions (New York, 1927). One chapter assesses the Pullman Company’s Employee Representation Plan and the efforts of the Sleeping Car Porters to displace it.
46. The New Leader is a democratic-socialist weekly labor newspaper published in New York.
47. Roy Lancaster was one of the original New York porters who recruited Randolph in 1925 to become general organizer. Pullman fired him that year for his union activities. He became the BSCP secretary-treasurer serving from 1925 to 1930, and also filled the role of business manager for The Messenger. Lancaster offended the Chicago porters, especially Milton Webster who accused him of dishonesty. By the 1930 convention, Webster had convinced enough people of that that his opinion was correct to deny Lancaster reelection and he retired from the union.
48. Morris (“Dad”) Moore was a retired porter of Oakland, California. By openly advocating unionism, he jeopardized his job as a caretaker of two sleeping cars in which laid-over porters slept. Although he drank too much, the porters respected him for his vitality and nerve and because of his steadfast loyalty to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The Pullman Co. fired him from his part-time job, but he opened his own sleeping quarters to compete with that of the company. Pullman then cancelled his paltry fifteen dollars per month pension in an attempt to crush his union organizing. He died in January 1930.
49. Mary Mc Dowell (1854–1936) was a director of Chicago’s Hull House and a tireless social reformer who frequently stood as a conciliator between capital and labor, native and foreign born, black and white. Her introduction to social service came at the age of sixteen when she helped to coordinate the relief forces in the great Chicago Fire of 1871. She, along with Upton Sinclair, helped to bring about an investigation of the stockyards by the federal government. She played a major role in securing a Woman’s Bureau within the Department of Labor in 1920. During the last decade of her life she concentrated her attention on the betterment of race relations, involving herself in the NAACP and the Chicago Urban League.
50. For background on Eugene V. Debs, see Vol. IV, note 3.
51. Herbert Hoover (1874–1964), thirty-first president of the U.S. (1929–1933), accumulated a fortune in international mining which enabled him to devote his life to public service. As Secretary of Commerce (1921–1928) he advocated industrial standardization and a planned economic system. In 1928 he was elected President, but had the misfortune to preside over a continuous slide into the Great Depression of the thirties. A number of his anti-depression agencies were incorporated into Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal after Hoover was defeated in the election of 1932.
Frank B. Kellogg (1856–1937) was admitted to the bar in 1877 and became a prominent corporation lawyer in St. Paul, Minnesota. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1917, he became President Coolidge’s ambassador to Great Britian in 1924–1925. From 1925–1929 he served as Secretary of State. For negotiating the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928) outlawing war, Kellogg was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929. Later he was appointed to the Court of International Justice.
52. For background on James Weldon Johnson, see Vol. V, note 99.
John Fitzpatrick (1871–1946), an emigré to Chicago in 1882, became a journeyman horseshoer and eventually was elected president of the Chicago Federation of Labor (1901). He held that position for more than forty years. He was a vigorous and resourceful trade union leader and a diligent foe of labor racketeering. One of the leaders of the historic 1919 steel strike and a militant unionist, Fitzpatrick opposed Communist efforts to infiltrate the labor movement during the twenties and thirties.
William E. Sweet (1869–1942) graduated from Swarthmore College and became an investment banker in Denver, Colorado. A Democrat, he retired from business in 1921, and received the nomination of his party for governor in 1922. Sweet won the election that year, but failed to be reelected in 1924. In 1926 he lost his bid for election to the U.S. Senate.
Norman Thomas (b. 1884) graduated from Princeton in 1905 and Union Theological Seminary in 1911. He served as pastor of Presbyterian churches in New York until 1918. A pacifist during World War I, he joined the Socialist party and became its leading spokesman after the death of Eugene V. Debs in 1926. From 1928 to 1948 he ran as the Socialist candidate for president. An outspoken critic of the American economic system, he was equally critical of communism and fascism. Among his written works are Human Exploitation (1934), and A Socialist’s Faith (1951).
Jesse Clark (b. 1901) began working for the railroad in 1918. He joined the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen of America in 1919, and served in various offices until he eventually became president in 1945. While in that position he extended the BRS throughout the U.S. and Canada, and successfully advanced railroad safety.
William Green (1870–1952) served as secretary-treasurer of the United Mine Workers of America from 1912 to 1924. He succeeded Samuel Gompers as president of the American Federation of Labor, holding that position from 1924 to 1952. During this period the AFL reached its greatest level of membership. After 1935 the Congress of Industrial Organization challenged the conservative unionism of the AFL and Green’s arch-opponent was John L. Lewis, head of the CIO and another UMW official.
For background on William Pickens, see Vol. V, note 64.
For background on Morris Hillquit, see Vol. V, note 109.
Joseph Schlossberg (1875–1971) immigrated to the U.S. from Russia in 1888 and began work as a cloakmaker. He led a secessionist movement out of the United Garment Workers of America in 1913 that resulted in the organization of the United Brotherhood of Tailors. He was one of the founders of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in 1914, and edited its weekly paper, Advance, for several years. He became increasingly active in Zionist affairs and held offices in many American Jewish organizations. He wrote The Workers and Their World (1935).
For the Rand School, see Vol. V, note 136. Algernon Lee was a member of the national committee of the Socialist Party who taught at the Rand School along with his other wide-ranging political activities.
Emanuel Celler (b. 1888) received an A.B. in 1910 and the LL.B. in 1912 from Columbia University, and began the practice of law in New York City. He served as a U.S. Representative from 1922 to 1972, long enough to become ranking majority leader.
Fiorello La Guardia (1882–1947) graduated from New York University in 1910 and began the practice of law. He was elected to Congress in 1917, and again served in that body from 1923 to 1933 as a member of the progressive bloc which, among other measures, passed the Norris-La Guardia Act in 1932. Elected mayor of New York City (1933–1945), he executed a broad array of reforms and was one of the city’s most colorful mayors.
Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. (1865–1953) was born in Virginia and between school terms worked in the West Virginia coal mines. Although his family was extremely poor, he managed to attend Virginia Union University and Yale Divinity School. In 1908 he became the pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, located in New York’s Harlem, one of the most renowned Negro congregations in the world. Powell retired from his duties in 1937.
Thomas J. Curtis was a black associate of Frank Crosswaith who assisted the latter with the Trade Union Committee for Organizing Negro Workers in 1926. He also served as vice-president of the New York State Federation of Labor.
Charles W. Ervin (1865–1953), a Philadelphia native, became a journalist and joined the Socialist Party of America in 1906. In 1917 he became editor-in-chief of the socialist New York Daily and Sunday Call and retained that post until 1922. He ran unsuccessfully for the Pennsylvania house and the senate, and for governor of New York (1918) on the Socialist ticket. Active in the organization of workers in the needle trades from 1907 until his death, Ervin was public relations adviser to the Amalgamated Workers of America. He was also an active member of the American Newspaper Guild. His autobiography, Homegrown Liberal, was published in 1954.
McAllister Coleman (b. 1888) graduated from Columbia University in 1909 and became a reporter for the New York Sun. Early in his career he became interested in the labor movement, did publicity work for various trade unions in New York, and in 1921 he went to the coal fields of Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia as a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York World. He was a reporter-columnist for the Federated Press Association and published Men and Coal (New York, 1943).
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890–1964), a native of New Hampshire, joined the International Workers of the World in 1906 and participated in numerous strikes, such as the Lawrence, Mass., strike of 1912. She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union (1920), joined the Communist Party in 1937, and became a columnist for the Daily Worker. In 1940 she was expelled from the ACLU for being a Communist, from 1955 to 1957 spent time in prison for advocating the overthrow of the government, and became the first woman to chair the CP’s national committee (1961). She died in Moscow. Her autobiography, I Speak My Piece, was published in 1955.
53. William Gibbs Mc Adoo (1863–1941) was a lawyer practicing in Tennessee before he became a partner in a New York City firm in 1892. He directed two railroad companies, and in 1912 acted as chairman of the Democratic Party campaign. In 1913 he was appointed Secretary of the Treasury. From 1917 to 1919 he served as director-general of the U.S. railroads until the war ended, when he resumed the practice of law in California. He was elected U.S. Senator from that state and served from 1933 until his retirement in 1939.
54. Edwin P. Morrow (1877–1935) attended colleges in Tennessee and Kentucky and received his law degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1902. After serving as U.S. District Attorney for Eastern Kentucky, he lost a race for the U.S. Senate in 1913, and two years later for the governorship of Kentucky. He finally succeeded in election to the latter office in 1919 and served until 1923. Morrow served as a member of the U.S. Railroad Labor Board from 1923 to 1926, and as a member of the U.S. Board of Mediation in 1934. He died from a heart attack in 1935.
55. For background on the United Hebrew Trades, see Vol. 5, note 106.
56. The Emergency Railroad Transportation Act, which took effect in June 1933, was designed to eliminate unnecessary duplication of rail services, and to promote financial reorganization of the carriers. It placed the railroad holding companies under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
57. Joseph B. Eastman (1882–1944), a graduate of Amherst College (1904), became widely known as an expert transportation administrator. For many years he served as a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission, 1933 to 1936, and as director of the U.S. Office of Defense Transportation from 1941 to 1944.
Robert Todd Lincoln (1843–1926), the only son of Abraham Lincoln to live to maturity, graduated from Harvard University in 1864 and served on General U.S. Grant’s staff during the last months of the Civil War. He later practiced law in Chicago, served as Secretary of War under Presidents Garfield and Arthur (1881–1885), and was Harrison’s Minister to Great Britain from 1889 to 1893. From 1897 to 1911 he was president of the Pullman Company.
59. Robert L. Vann (1879–1940) received a B.A. from Virginia Union University and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1910 he began the practice of law, but before long became editor, and then publisher, of the Pittsburgh Courier, a position he held until his death. He was active in the social and political life of Pittsburgh. For a short time he served as Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. under Franklin Roosevelt.
60. Richard B. Moore, a West Indian living in Harlem, was one of the so-called New Negro radicals. A socialist, he wrote for The Messenger of A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen until 1921 when he became associated with the Communist Party. He and a small group of black ex-socialists formed the African Blood Brotherhood inspired by an ideology which was partly black nationalist and partly communist. They differed from Randolph in their revolutionary radicalism, and differed from Marcus Garvey’s nationalism in their demands for militant self-defense and for a separate black republic in the American South rather than in Africa. Moore also became a leader in the American Negro Labor Congress.
61. The “K. of P.” is a reference to the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal order which was very popular among blacks.
62. For the AFL “outlawing” the color line, see pp. 313-15.
63. Roscoe Conkling Simmons, editor, popular orator, was the nephew of Booker T. Washington’s third wife. Frank Gillespie and E. A. T. Watkins remain unidentified.
64. William N. Doak (1882–1933) of Virginia, joined the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen in 1904. He held various offices in the union and eventually became assistant president of the BRT (1927) and also served as editor of the union’s Railroad Trainmen. President Hoover appointed Doak Secretary of Labor (1930–1933), a position he used to oppose reforms in the labor movement.
65. Martin Sennet Conner (1891–1950) received his B.A. and LL.B. from the University of Mississippi, and another LL.B. from Yale. He practiced law in Mississippi and entered state politics in 1915, becoming Speaker of the House from 1920–1924, and eventually governor from 1932 to 1936. At the expiration of his term, Conner returned to private practice.
66. For background on James Duncan, see Vol. IV, note 21.
67. For background on Frank Morrison, see Vol. IV, note 33.
68. John L. Lewis (1880–1969) was the son of an immigrant coal miner who rose through the union ranks to become president of the United Mine Workers of America. He held that post from 1920 to 1960. As president of the UMWA, the largest union in the nation, he also exerted enormous influence in the American Federation of Labor. Differences over industrial vs. craft unionism led him to break from the AFL and from the Congress of Industrial Organization in 1935. In 1942 he disagreed with CIO president Philip Murray, and led the UMWA back into the AFL. Again differences of opinion resulted in his withdrawal from the AFL in 1947. His willingness to strike against all odds made him synonymous with union militancy.
69. The 1924 primary elections in Texas were fought on the Ku Klux Klan issue. The major contest was for the Democratic nomination for governor with the Klan rallying behind Felix Robertson. Miriam Amanda Ferguson, whose initials spelled “Ma,” ran against Robertson on an an anti-Klan platform. Assisted by her husband James, himself an ex-governor, they denounced the KKK as undemocratic and violent, and soundly defeated Robertson. The fall elections saw Ma Ferguson sweep into office on the anti-Klan surge. Under the withering public and official hostility, the Texas KKK receded as a potent political force in the state. Thus “Ma Ferguson routed the KKK” in Texas.
70. For the Trade Union Committee for Organizing Negro Workers, see pp. 506, 544-46.
71. Reinzi B. Lemus was President of the Brotherhood of Dining Car Employees organized during World War I. He joined Robert Mays in splitting with the Sleeping Car Porters leadership regarding passage of new railroad legislation. The Watson-Parker bill, which was under debate in Congress in 1925–1926, was to change the laws which had governed railroad labor disputes since 1920. Lemus believed that since the federal government would not be empowered to force companies to arbitrate labor disputes, the new bill would not benefit small unions, and would work to the detriment of black workers. His judgment proved correct, resulting in a serious setback for black unions such as the BSCP and the BDCE. Lemus led a chorus of editorial abuse of the BSCP leadership in his New York Age.
72. Matthew Woll (1880–1956), an emigré to Chicago in 1891, became a photoengraver and then attended law school. Afterward he became president of the Photo-Engravers Union of North America. In 1919 he assumed a seat on the American Federation of Labor’s executive council. He also served as director of the AFL’s legal bureau. He favored the craft organizational concept in the controversy between the AFL and the CIO. One of the most conservative leaders in organized labor, he was a vitriolic anti-communist. Woll also was president of the Union Labor Life Insurance Co. from 1925 to 1955.
73. For the Trade Union Education League, see pp. 384, 423-32, and note 102.
76. William English Walling was a Southerner, the descendent of a slave-owning family. He traveled extensively and had manifested a deep interest in a variety of social and humanitarian causes before joining the Socialist Party. He joined the party in 1908, immediately associated himself with the left-wing, and became a bitter opponent of white chauvinism within the party. He was an early proponent of a bi-racial organization which would fight for the civil rights of Negroes, and was one of the original founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
77. The Workers Education Bureau was established in the 1920s by A. J. Muste, supported by the American Federation of Labor, to act as a clearing house for information regarding the growing labor education movement. It lasted only a short time before AFL funds were withdrawn and the Bureau dissolved.
78. Henry Ford (1863–1947) worked as a machinist in Detroit before becoming an engineer with the Edison Co. in 1887. He built a gasoline automobile in 1892 and organized the Ford Motor Co. in 1903 which produced the first inexpensive and dependable automobile, launching a new era in American life. He introduced the modern factory assembly line, and inaugurated the $5 minimum wage for an eight-hour day. Nevertheless he was adamantly opposed to unions.
79. J. J. Forrester was grand president of the Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks.
80. For background on Frank Duffy, see Vol. V, note 32.
81. On March 31, 1931, nine Negro boys were indicted at Scottsboro, Alabama, charged with raping two white girls on a freight train bound for Memphis. Eight of them were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. The trials, retrials, and appeals continued for twenty years until eventually all were freed. The International Labor Defense lawyers of the Communist Party who defended the Scottsboro youths turned the case into a cause célèbre for civil rights.
82. For background on Angelo Herndon, see pp. 384, 490–503.
83. David Sholtz (1891–1953) graduated from Yale in 1914, received the LL.B from Stetson University in 1915, and entered the practice of law in Florida. He entered state politics in 1917, serving in the Florida House of Representatives, as state’s attorney, and city judge. A Democrat, Sholtz won the gubernatorial election in 1932 and served four years, but lost a bid for the U.S. Senatorial nomination.
John Randolph (1773–1833) of Roanoke, Virginia, entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1799. Except for 1814 and 1818, and two years in the Senate (1825–1827), he remained in that body for the next thirty years. Although a capable man, his malicious indiscriminate attacks on friend and foe alike isolated him politically. He consistently opposed all nationalistic measures such as the Bank of the U.S., tariffs, and the Missouri Compromise.
84. The “New Negro movement,” also known as the Harlem Renaissance, was not so much a social movement as a congealing of “new” racial attitudes and ideals most dramatically expressed among black intellectuals and artists of the 1920s. What made the New Negro different from the old was his celebration of race consciousness, race pride, and a common sense of purpose. Most New Negroes were “radicals” in that they favored integration over segregation, the status quo.
85. Crispus Attucks, “the first to defy, and the first to die,” was martyred in the so-called Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770. A forty-seven-year-old seaman, Attucks had been a runaway slave for twenty years when he led a group of hecklers into King Street to harass Captain Preston’s company of British troops. Some of the soldiers opened fire on the colonists, killing three and wounding eight, two of whom later died. The significance of Attucks’ death lies not in his being “first to die” but in the fact that a runaway slave would be killed making his point about American freedom.
Count Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910), the renowned Russian author, exerted an influence upon literature which spread far beyond Russia. He is most famous for What is Art? (1898), and War and Peace (1865–1872).
Maxim Gorky (1868–1936), Russian novelist, went to work at age eight. Self-educated, he went abroad to collect funds for the revolution which eventually toppled the Czar in 1917. Following a period of exile, he returned to the Soviet Union and in 1934 became president of the Union of Soviet Writers. Among his many books is his autobiographical masterpiece, Childhood (1913–1914).
Walt Whitman (1819–1892), the “Good Gray Poet,” was born on Long Island, New York, became a printer by trade, and wrote for magazines and newspapers. His book of poems, Leaves of Grass, first published in 1855 to little notice, grew with his reputation through twelve editions.
86. Gethsemane, an olive grove at the foot of the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, is the traditional site of the betrayal of Jesus.
87. President Hoover nominated John J. Parker of North Carolina to the Supreme Court in 1929, but the nomination failed of confirmation because of the support Parker had given as a circuit judge to the principle of the “yellow dog” contract.
Leonidas Dyer (R-Missouri) of St. Louis was one of the few U.S. Congressmen prepared to work with the NAACP to make lynching a federal crime. In April 1918 he introduced an anti-lynching bill in the House of Representatives which became the prototype of subsequent NAACP measures. Essentially, the bill would have protected citizens against lynching where actions of state officials led to the default of the equal protection of the Fourteenth Amendment. The bill provided for heavy fines and imprisonment of state officals who permitted, or failed to prosecute, lynchers. The Dyer bill failed just as those many which followed, and lynching never did become a federal crime. For the definitive study on this topic, see Robert L. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 1909–1950 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980).
88. “Grandfather clauses” were provisions enacted in several southern states between 1895 and 1910 to disfranchise Negroes despite the Fifteenth Amendment. The clauses restricted voting to those who were lineal descendants of persons who had the right to vote as of January 1, 1867. Negroes could not vote in those states at that time. The U.S. Supreme Court declared the clauses unconstitutional in 1915.
89. For the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), see Vol. IV, note 136, and Vol. V, passim.
90. For background on Booker T. Washington, see Vol. IV, note 8.
91. Alfred Baker Lewis (b. 1897) graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1917. He served as New England organizer for the Socialist Party from 1924 to 1940, and with the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, New York City, from 1940 to 1941. Lewis became president of the Mount Vernon Life Insurance Co. (formerly Trade Union Accident and Health Assn.) in 1946. He retired in 1966. A member of the NAACP, he served as national director in 1924, and as treasurer in 1958.
92. James Oneal, The Workers in American History (New York, 1921) 4th ed. Oneal was the Socialist Party’s leading ideologist on the Negro question.
93. Father Charles Edward Coughlin (b. 1891) a Roman Catholic priest, gained national attention through his radio broadcasting during the 1930s. Early anti-Wall Street and ‘social justice’ emphasis, which led to the creation of the Union Party in 1936, gave way to anti-Semitic and pro-Fascist utterances. His magazine Social Justice, barred from the mails in 1942 for violating the Espionage Act, expressed the view that: “it is Fascism or Communism. . . . I take the road of Fascism.” He was silenced by his superiors.
94. The C.I.O. refers to the Committee for Industrial Organization, the precursor to the Congress of Industrial Organization. See pp. 506, 565-79.
95. For Ben Fletcher and the IWW, see Vol. V, pp. 532-34, and note 135.
96. For background on George C. Hall, see Vol. V, note 76.
97. For background on the National Urban League, see Vol. V, note 75.
98. For the labor conflict which occurred in Bogalusa, Louisiana, see Vol. V, pp. 483-89.
99. The Southern Tenant Farmers Union was founded in 1934, becoming the most notable southern response to the role that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Agricultural Adjustment Administration crop-reduction scheme played in driving the grandchildren of the slaves—along with many whites—off the land. Its bi-racial roots are found in black southern religious protest and white populist rhetoric, but its leaders were socialists. In the STFU’s most significant phase, it abandoned all but the trappings of unionism to function primarily as a pressure group. After an unsuccessful alliance with the CIO’s agricultural union, it eventually disbanded in 1960. See also, note 142.
100. The American Plan was a movement to end the collective bargaining gains won by organized labor during World War I. It was the successor to the Anti-Boycott Association of pre-war years and the League for Industrial Rights founded in 1919. Following Judge Elbert Gary’s defeat of the drive to unionize U.S. Steel in 1919, numerous anti-union groups came into existence. They met in a conference of state manufacturers’ associations in Chicago in 1921. The name “American Plan” was adopted and over the next few years numerous national unionizing efforts were aborted at least partially because of the organized resistance.
101. For background on William D. (“Big Bill”) Haywood, see Vol. V, note 127.
102. Otto Hall was a black ommunist who headed the Trade Union Educational League’s (TUEL) Negro Department. A veteran of many campaigns, his most dramatic success was organizing the famous Gastonia Strike of 1929 (see note 116).
The Trade Union Educational League called for an amalgamation of existing craft unions into industrial unions, new industrial unions for the unorganized, independent political action by a party of workers, democratic unionism, a shop-steward system, and a close association with the Soviet Union. To educate white unionists of the self-defeating effect of racism, and to impress upon black workers the necessity of joining with white workers in a common struggle was the primary aim of the TUEL. The TUEL message was disseminated in its official organ, the Labor Herald, edited by a white communist, Earl Browder (see note 119). TUEL failed to make much headway among either blacks or whites. The militants underestimated the resistance among white unionists, and failed to appreciate the resistance of black workers to the white unions, instilled by their negative experience with organized labor and deepened by conservative leaders who preached allegiance to the employers. Also, in the textile and needletrades industries where TUEL conducted its most serious efforts, few blacks were employed.
103. For William Boyce, see note 117.
104. For background on William Z. Foster, see Vol. V, note 114.
105. Joe Hill (Joel Emmanuel Hagglund, 1879–1915) was born in Sweden and emigrated to the U.S. in 1902. After drifting for several years, he joined the Industrial Workers of the World in 1910. An accomplished amateur musician, he became famous for the labor songs he composed. In 1914, while living in Salt Lake City, Utah, he was indicted and convicted for murder on circumstantial evidence. The IWW charged that Hill was framed because he was a radical. Despite mass demonstrations and appeals for leniency, Hill was executed by firing squad on November 19, 1915. He became an instant martyr to the IWW cause.
106. Cyril Briggs, a native of Saint Kitts, edited The Crusader and also headed the African Blood Brotherhood, founded in the fall of 1917 as a “revolutionary secret order” by Briggs, Richard B. Moore, Otto Hall, Otto Huiswood, and others. Most of these blacks were West Indians who had been active in the Harlem Section of the Socialist Party but had left the party because they regarded its program in the struggle against colonialism and for Negro liberation as too moderate. The ABB sought “absolute race equality—political, economic, social—and “fellowship within the darker masses and with the class-conscious revolutionary white workers.” Its platform called for armed resistance to lynching, unqualified franchise rights for blacks, a struggle for equal rights against all forms of discrimination, the organization of Negroes into established trade unions, self-determination for Negroes in states where they constituted a majority —all as necessary prerequisites for the liberation of Africa from colonial rule and the establishment of a “free Africa.” At its peak in 1921, the ABB claimed 2,500 members in fifty-six posts throughout the nation, including areas of strength among the black coal miners in West Virginia. Through The Crusader, its monthly organ, the brotherhood mounted campaigns against racial discrimination in unions and urged blacks to organize into separate black unions when they were barred by whites.
107. Robert S. Abbott was editor and publisher of the Chicago Defender, the leading Negro weekly in the nation. Abbott started the newspaper in 1910, and quickly revolutionized Negro journalism. The Defender repeatedly urged blacks in the South to flee and come North, and these appeals and other features converted the paper into a national weekly for black Americans which, incidentally, turned Abbott into a millionaire. He was bitterly criticized by black militants for his opposition to the Garvey movement, but the Defender built its main circulation among the black lower class.
108. William L. Patterson was born in California, lived three years in the Soviet Union during the 1920s and, after his return, served as attorney for the Metal Workers Industrial Union and the National Miners Union. He was attorney in 1932 for several black Army veterans arrested following the expulsion of the Bonus Expeditionary Force from Anacostia Flats. In the fall of that year, Patterson was the Communist party’s candidate for mayor of New York City. Patterson was national secretary of the International Labor Defense from 1932 to 1936, years during which he played a leading role in the defense of the Scottsboro youths. Later he became head of the Civil Rights Congress.
Sacco-Vanzetti Case (1920–1927) achieved world-wide attention because it was believed that the defendants had been tried and convicted unfairly. The Italian-born philosophical anarchists were accused of murdering a paymaster and his guard in a Massachusetts shoe factory. Uncertainty about their guilt persisted long after their execution.
109. Sponsored by the Workers (Communist) Party, the American Negro Labor Congress met in October, 1925 with William Z. Foster as the featured speaker. The Congress’ purpose was to unionize black workers and to abolish discrimination against blacks in the American labor movement. It called for the establishment of inter-racial labor committees to plan for the organization of blacks, prevention of discrimination, and pledged to eliminate the employer practice of playing one race against the other in order to undermine labor solidarity. The Congress was hailed in the CP’s Daily Worker, but denounced by the AFL leadership and the black press.
Black spokesmen had been speculating on the need for a broad coalition of Afro-Americans to exert their collective power since the end of the Booker T. Washington era in 1915. In 1935 Ralph Bunche decided to use the occasion of a conference in Washington, D.C. on the economic status of blacks to institute a movement for a convention of Negro pressure groups to form such an organization. More than 250 prominent blacks signed a call for a National Negro Congress. When it met on February 14, 1936, in Chicago, 817 delegates representing 585 organizations heard A. Philip Randolph launch the new movement. For the first time in Afro-American history a united front of organizations from the entire political spectrum gathered to fight for a common agenda. Foremost on this agenda was the organization of black workers into unions and breaking the color bar in the labor movement. Whatever its strengths and weaknesses, the NNC did give invaluable assistance to the organization of Negro workers into unions.
The NNC was still functioning in 1940, but its effectiveness was greatly curtailed after a split at its convention between Randolph and the Communist Party delegates. Randolph resigned as president charging that NNC was white and Communist dominated. Its last convention was held in October 1946, and the NNC officially dissolved.
110. James H. Dillard was closely associated with the Jeanes Fund and the Slater Fund, and was director of the Jeanes Rural School Fund in 1909. President of Tulane University, most of his work with the foundations was toward improving Negro education. He was probably the most influential white philanthropist working in the field of Negro education. Straight University and New Orleans University merged in 1930 and renamed Dillard University in his memory.
For background on Dr. Robert Russa Moton, see Vol. V, note 73.
111. Archibald James Carey (1867–1931) attended Atlanta University, the University of Chicago, and graduated from Chicago Theological Seminary. He was ordained into the African Methodist Episcopal ministry in 1891 and served as minister in various churches, especially in Chicago where he made his home. In 1921 he became bishop of Kentucky and Tennessee, holding that position until his death. Bishop Carey was involved in public affairs as well, serving in a variety of secular capacities including delegate to the Illinois Constitutional Convention of 1920–1922, as trustee of Wilberforce University, and as chancellor of Turner Normal College, Shelbyville, Tennessee.
112. The Equal Rights Congress probably refers to one of the meetings held in Washington, D.C., by the National Equal Rights League headed by civil rights militant William Monroe Trotter. Among the issues the League addressed was lynching. It supported the efforts to pass an anti-lynching bill through Congress, and to that end, called several conferences of national civil rights.
113. Walter Winchell (1897–1972), American journalist, was a vaudeville performer until he joined the staff of a theater publication in 1922. He began writing for the New York Evening Graphic in 1924, and the Daily Mirror in 1929. His column became syndicated and enjoyed widespread popularity. In 1932 he began an equally successful career in radio, films, and much later, television.
Walter Lippman (1889–1974) graduated from Harvard University in 1909 and began his career in journalism with the New Republic, and subsequently became a prominent writer for the New York World and the New York Herald Tribune. A social analyst of unusual perception, he authored numerous books, including The Public Philosophy (1955), and The Communist World and Ours (1959).
115. James W. Ford was born near Birmingham, Alabama, in December, 1893, and forced to work at age fourteen. In 1917, after three years at Fisk University, he entered the Army and was stationed in France during World War I. He entered the trade union movement in Chicago in 1919, and became a leader in the Chicago Federation of Labor. Ford joined the Communist Party in 1926, was active in organizing Negro workers in left-wing unions, became secretary of the Harlem Section of the Communist Party, and eventually became a member of the Central Committee of the CP.
Lester B. Granger (b. 1896), public official and scientist, held many positions in the Department of Labor as well as heading the National Conference of Social Work and the Federal Advisory Committee on Employment Security.
116. Earl Browder (b. 1891) twice stood as the Communist Party’s presidential candidate in 1936 and 1940. During the twenties he edited the Labor Herald, official organ of the Trade Union Educational League. His opposition to party policies resulted in his eventual expulsion. His writings include What Is Communism? (1936) and War and Peace With Russia (1947).
117. The Trade Union Unity League first established unions in the coal and textile industries, unions growing out of the old TUEL groups. Each union stated in its constitution that it stood for black and white equality both on and off the job. Also, blacks and whites were organized into the same locals. The TUUL’s National Textile Workers’ Union, with black Communist Otto Hall as chief organizer, was able to maintain unity against the terrorist tactics of the company during the Gastonia, North Carolina, strike of 1929 (see note 119). In the coal industry, TUUL organized the National Miners Union in September 1928 to counter the alleged dictatorial abuses of United Mine Workers President John L. Lewis. The NMU appealed to black miners especially. The official organ of the NMU, The Coal Digger, pledged a policy of no racial discrimination. To underscore its sincerity the NMU elected William Boyce, a prominent black miner from Indiana, as national vice president, and he immediately launched a campaign to recruit blacks. In 1930, Isaiah Hawkins, a Negro miner from Frederickstown, Pennsylvania, became full-time head of the NMU’s Negro Department. TUUL was about as successful as its predecessor in bringing about any fundamental change in the American labor movement. Although the communists never succeeded in building a revolutionary alliance between white and black labor, they did help to forge a greater willingness among white labor to work with blacks in building an organization. Nevertheless, in 1935 the TUUL dissolved and militants were urged to merge with AFL unions in their respective industries.
118. Hugh Frayne (1869–1934) started working in a coal mine at eight years of age. He later became a sheet-metal worker and was a charter member of the Amalgamated Sheet Metal Workers International Alliance (1892). Active in the American Federation of Labor, he identified with the more conservative wing of the labor movement and was a close associate of Samuel Gompers. During World War I he served as chairman of the labor division of the War Industries Board and won a Distinguished Service Medal (1923). He wrote pamphlets on trade union subjects.
119. The Gastonia Strike of April 1929 at the Loray textile mill in North Carolina grew out of conditions at the mill, but the communist leadership of the National Textile Workers Union soon became the issue. Mob violence occurred and seven communist strikers were convicted of murder; however, they jumped bail and fled to the Soviet Union. Ella May Wiggins, mother of five, whose songs had been a rallying force for the strikers, was shot and killed by vigilantes. No one was convicted of the crime. The national news coverage given the strike revealed many of the problems and working arrangements of a one-industry town.
120. For Isaiah Hawkins, see note 117.
121. Dennis Lane (1881–1942) started work in the Chicago stockyards, but was blacklisted for representing a group of men with a list of grievances. He then became an organizer for the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen. By 1917 he had become the chief executive officer and dominated that office for the next twenty-five years. He succeeded in organizing the packing house workers during World War I, but lost the plants afterwards. Despite his support for the concept of industrial organizations, he refused to secede with the Congress of Industrial Organizations and kept the Butcher Workmen loyal to the AFL.
122. The National Hunger March to Washington during the summer of 1932 refers to the Bonus Expeditionary Force which converged on the nation’s capital some twelve to fourteen thousand strong. The unemployed veterans were demonstrating for the immediate payments of their bonuses for wartime service which were due in 1945. For weeks they lived in shanties and tents on the flats of the Anacostia River. They alarmed President Hoover who ordered the Army to disperse them. In the riotous fiasco which resulted no one was killed but there were many injuries. It was later charged that the communists were behind the movement, but that was not the case.
123. Benjamin J. Davis, Jr. was born in Dawson, Georgia. He attended public schools in Atlanta, but had to quit because provision for public education for Negroes ended at the sixth grade. He attended Morehouse College (the equivalent of high school), then graduated from Amherst College and Harvard Law School. He joined the International Labor Defense as a lawyer for Angelo Herndon, and the celebrated case of the young Negro victim of Georgia’s slave law was the turning point of his life, for he joined the Communist party. Davis went on to join the famous legal and mass defense of the nine Scottsboro boys, to defend the Atlanta Six, who faced a conspiracy charge similar to Herndon’s, and to help edit the Southern Worker, a Communist Party publication. Later, he came to New York to edit the Negro Liberator and joined the editorial board of the Daily Worker. In 1943 he was elected as the Communist candidate to the New York City Council and was reelected two years later. One of his achievements while councilman was the fight he led to end Jim Crow in baseball. It was Davis who made possible the official City Hall proclamation of Negro History Week. Indicted under the Smith Act, he was imprisoned for five years for his belief in communism. After his release from prison he returned to work in the Communist Party until his death in 1962.
124. James Langston Hughes (1902–1968), often called the Poet Laureate of the Negro people, was born in Joplin, Missouri. Because of the separation of his parents, his childhood was spent in several places. He finished high school in Cleveland when he was fourteen; he had been a member of the staff of the school magazine and an editor of the yearbook. After moving about a great deal, working on freight steamers as doorman and cook, at the same time publishing poems, Hughes completed his formal education at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1929. While at Lincoln he won the Witter Bynner Prize for undergraduate poetry and wrote his novel, Not Without Laughter (his alma mater conferred upon him the degree of Litt. D. in 1943). After Lincoln University, Hughes continued to write, publishing poetry, stories, novels, plays, articles and humorous sketches, as well as an autobiography. He won the Harmon Award in 1931 and a Guggugenheim Fellowship in 1934. His books have been translated into many languages. He died in 1968.
125. For background on the not always “cordial” race relations along the Galveston docks, see Vol. III, pp. 77–90 and Vol. IV, pp. 62–69.
126. John H. Walker (1872–1955) immigrated to Braidwood, Illinois, in 1881. Starting work in the coal mines at age nine, eventually he joined the United Mine Workers and worked as an organizer. He held numerous union offices and served as president of the Illinois State Federation of Labor (1913–1930), but was ousted for his participation in the Reorganized UMW, a group which opposed John L. Lewis’s dictatorial style of rule. Walker consistently favored district autonomy which put him at odds with Lewis. Walker unsuccessfully ran for the UMW presidency in 1916 and again in 1918. He served as dictrict president from 1905 to 1913 and from 1930 to 1933 when Lewis replaced him.
127. For background on Dr. Hubert H. Harrison, see Vol. V, note 101.
128. Kelly Miller, “The Negro as a Workingman,” 6 (October 1925): 310-13.
129. Brookwood Labor College was founded in 1921 with the assistance of Rose Schneiderman (see Vol. V, note 109), who served on its board of policymakers. The first resident school for workers in the U.S. was coeducational, with a two-year program and three-week summer institutes.
130. Sterling D. Spero and Abram L. Harris, The Black Worker (New York, 1931).
131. For the black locomotive firemen shot in Mississippi, see pp. 306-10.
132. Gorman of the U.T.W. refers to Francis Gorman, vice president of the United Textile Workers.
134. Crosswaith’s memory apparently failed him in this case. Walt Whitman (see note 85) was known as the “Good Gray Poet,” not Edwin Markham (1852–1940). Markham taught school in California and won widespread popularity for his poetry. Much of his work expressed a rhetorical protest against the exploitation of labor. Examples are found in The Man with the Hoe and Other Poems (1899), and Lincoln, and Other Poems (1901).
135. Frank R. Crosswaith (1892–1965) was born in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. After coming to the U.S. and serving in the U.S. Navy, he obtained a scholarship to the Rand School of Social Science, a socialist educational center, where he taught for many years. A superb orator, he was active in the Socialist Party and became known as the “Negro Debs.” A firm believer in an integrated labor movement, he organized the Trade Union Committee for Organizing Negro Workers in 1925, which ten years later was succeeded by the Negro Labor Committee. Crosswaith served as chairman of the Committee for thirty years.
136. David Dubinsky (b. 1892) escaped Russian Poland in 1909 after banishment to Siberia for underground labor activism. He came to New York and worked as a cloak cutter and joined the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (1911), eventually becoming president of that union in 1932. He joined John L. Lewis and others to organize the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Under Dubinsky, the ILGWU developed bargaining techniques by which workers cooperated in financing and planning shop operations.
137. Anatole France (1844–1924), author, was a French satirist and realist writer. Among his works is Penguin Island (1908).
138. For background on William Sylvis, see Vol. I, note 63. For the National Labor Union, see Vol. II, passim.
139. For the Noble Order of the Knights of Labor, see Vol. III, passim.
140. Daniel De Leon (1852–1914) was born in Curacao and took his law degree at Columbia University in 1878. He taught Latin American diplomacy at Columbia from 1883 to 1886. A brilliant if inflexible Marxist, he became a leading ideologist in the Socialist Labor Party and for many years edited the party organs Weekly People and the Daily People. A controversial figure, he helped found the International Workers of the World in 1905 and wrote extensively on socialism.
141. Charles Perry Howard (1879–1938), a native of Illinois, became a printer and joined the International Typographical Union in 1907. After serving the union in several offices, Howard held the position of president from 1926 to 1938. A proponent of industrial unionism, he became secretary of the Congress of Industrial Organization The ITU never affiliated with the CIO but left the AFL after refusing to pay a special tax to finance the struggle against the rival CIO.
142. Howard Kester was born in Martinsville, Virginia, but the family moved to Beckley, W.Va. when he was eleven. He entered Lynchburg College at age 17 and graduated with honors in 1925. In 1927 he entered Princeton Theological Seminary but was not invited to return for a second year for his denunciation of the Seminary for rejecting blacks and opposing organized labor. He then went to Vanderbilt School of Religion. Fired from several jobs for his radicalism, for several years he served as southern secretary for the Fellowship of Reconciliation. In 1932 he ran for Congress on the Socialist ticket but lost. A close friend of Norman Thomas (see note 52), for several years Kester was a member of the National Executive Council of the Socialist Party. In addition to investigating lynchings for the NAACP, he worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and later for the Workers Defense League. In 1935 he began his valuable work assisting the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (see note 99) in 1935. He wrote several pamphlets at this time, the best-known being Revolt Among the Sharecroppers (New York, 1936).
Harry L. Mitchell (b. 1906), a Tennessee native, was one of the founders of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union in 1934. He served as president of the organization from 1944 to 1960. It became the National Agricultural Workers Union (AFL-CIO). Despite the general failure of STFU to win its objectives, Mitchell and others exhibited extraordinary courage in their labors against the planters, and gained much needed publicity for the sharecroppers and tenant farmers of the South. See his autobiographical Mean Things Happen in This Land: The Life and Times of H. L. Mitchell, Co-Founder of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (Montclair, N.J. 1979).
The Workers’ Alliance was a militant auxiliary organization of the CIO which united unemployed groups, especially blacks. It fought the use of the unemployed as scabs and provided the CIO with hundreds of volunteer and full-time organizers, blacks among them.
The Highlander Folk School was established in 1932 in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee as an adult education center for the laboring classes of the South. Based on the premise that American society could be made into a truly democratic society only through cooperation instead of competition, the school became the leading training center for southern labor and civil rights leaders. Consistently attacked as subversive, Highlander lost its charter in 1961 under the charge of irregularity in its operation as a non-profit organization. In a few weeks it obtained a new charter, granted to the Highlander Research and Education Center. In 1972 the institution moved to its present location near New Market, Tennessee.
143. For the context of the phrase “Magna Carta for black labor,” see Vol. II, note 25.