By Mark Solomon
Utilizing for the first time materials related to African Americans from the Moscow archives of the Communist International (Comintern), The Cry Was Unity traces ...
Utilizing for the first time materials related to African Americans from the Moscow archives of the Communist International (Comintern), The Cry Was Unity traces the trajectory of the black-red relationship from the end of World War I to the tumultuous 1930s. From the just-recovered transcript of the pivotal debate on African Americans at the 6th Comintern Congress in 1928, the book assesses the impact of the Congress's declaration that blacks in the rural South constituted "a nation within a nation", entitled to the right of self-determination. Despite the theory's serious flaws, it fused the black struggle for freedom and revolutionary content and demanded that white labor recognize blacks as indispensable allies.
As the Great Depression unfolded, the Communists launched intensive campaigns against lynching, evictions, and discrimination in jobs and relief and opened within their own ranks a searing assault on racism. While the Party was never able to win a majority of white workers to the struggle for Negro rights, sup- or to achieve the unqualified port of the black majority, it helped to lay the foundations for the freedom struggle of the 1950s and 1960s.
The Cry Was Unity underscores the successes and failures of the Communist-led left and the ways in which it fought against racism and inequality. This struggle comprises an importantmissing page that needs to be returned to the nation's history.