and their attainment transcended permanent party allegiances. Whether as a
registered Republican, an occasional supporter of Democratic party candidates, or as a Progressive party stalwart, she did show the capability to evolve
and to mature as a political activist as the circumstances and situations warranted. However, though her affiliation with political institutions changed and
her commitment to the two-party system was fundamentally altered, Bass
never wavered in her basic commitment as a journalist and political activist to
help "shape the destiny of a community, a race and a nation."
"Address at the National Convention of the Progressive Party, Chicago, July 4, 1952", in Paul Robeson Speaks: Writings, Speeches, Interviews, 1918-1974, ed.
Philip S. Foner ( Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1978), 322-23.
2 Biographical information on the early, years of Charlota Bass is scarce. In her autobiography, Forty Years:Memoirs from the Pages of a Newspaper ( Los Angeles: Charlotta A.
Bass, 1960), she does not give her date and place of birth and mentions in all-too-brief
passing that she lived on the East Coast and migrated to California for health reasons.
Her biographical entry in the 1928-29 edition of Who's Who in Colored America likewise
contains no mention of date and place of birth but does mention that she was educated
at Brown University, Pembroke Hall; Columbia University; and the University of California ( Joseph J. Boris, Who's Who in Colored America:A Biographical Dictionary of
Notable Living Persons of African Descent in America, 1928-1929, 2d ed. [ New York: Who's
Who in Colored America Corporation, 1929], 23). Her profile was not included in the
editions for 1930-32, 1943-44, and 1950.
During her 1952 campaign for the vice-presidency, Bass indicated that she was born in
Little Compton, Rhode Island, and was sixty-two years old. Federal Bureau of Investigation reports on Bass, maintained from 1944 until her death in 1969, cited the records of
the registrar of voters for the city of Los Angeles, which indicated that she was approximately ten to twelve years older than she professed. However, FBI agents were never able
to ascertain her place of birth as the Rhode Island Public Health Department had "no
birth data" concerning Bass (FBI Reports, 5 April 1944, 100-20874, 21 May 1953, 100-
20874; reports in author's possession). Her obituary in the Los Angeles Sentinel, 17 April
1969, gave only fleeting reference to a Rhode Island place of birth and gave her age at
death as ninety-four, suggesting an 1874 or 1875 date of birth. In their profile of Bass,
Andrew Buni and Carol Hurd Green write that Bass was born in Sumter, South Carolina,
and suggest an October 1880 birth date; although they write that Bass moved to Rhode
Island before 1900, they provide no more information about her schooling ( Notable
American Women:The Modern Period, s.v. "Bass").
See the biographies of Bethune,
Gaines in Notable American Women:The Modern Period.
Delilah L. Beasley, The Negro Trailblazers of California ( 1919; rpt., New York: Negro
Universities Press, 1969), chap. 18.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: African American Women and the Vote, 1837-1965.
Contributors: Ann D. Gordon - Author, Bettye Collier-Thomas - Author.
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press.
Place of publication: Amherst, MA.
Publication year: 1997.
Page number: 169.
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