Blacks and Reds: Race and Class in Conflict, 1919-1990


In this important new study, Earl Ofari Hutchinson examines in detail the American Communist Party's efforts to win the allegiance of black Americans and the various responses to this from the black community. Beginning with events of the 1920s, Hutchinson discusses at length the historical forces that encouraged alliances between African Americans and the predominately white American Communist Party. He also takes an indepth look at why, and how, issues of class, party ideology, and racial identity stood in the way of a partnership of black leaders and communists in the United States. Blacks and Reds addresses landmark events surrounding associations between communists and black activists. Hutchinson examines, among other things, how Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois's support of party activities affected their lives and how the Communist Party used the trial of Angela Davis to promote its own interests. His scope ranges from oft forgotten signs of misdirection, such as how communists' efforts to express racial sympathy in the early 1950s contributed to their own near destruction during the McCarthy era, to a thorough discussion of how the Party's effort to gain a foothold in Stokely Carmichael's SNCC, Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam, Martin Luther King's SCLC, and Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver's Black Panthers shook up the civil rights movement by triggering the FBI's secret war against King, Malcolmi X, and others considered to be black radicals.


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