White Violence and Black Response: From Reconstruction to Montgomery

By Herbert Shapiro | Go to book overview

PART V
World War II and the First Postwar Years: The Racial Struggle at Home

Here in Detroit, many patriotic and forward-looking citizens are asking, "why not start practicing the Four Freedoms in our own back yard?" They are right.

Vice-President Henry A. Wallace, Detroit speech, July 1943

Ellenville, Georgia: A Negro farm mother and two of her youthful sons are awaiting death by electrocution at Reidsville State Prison as a result of their conviction last week for the November, 1947, slaying of a white farmer.

The slain man is accused of attacking Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram, the doomed woman, with rifle in hand, when she sought to stop him from shooting her farm animals. Judge W. M. Harper sentenced 45 year old Mrs. Ingram and her two sons, Wallace, 17 and Sammy, 14, to death in the electric chair on February 27 in the slaying of John Ed Stratford, a white farmer. . . . The all-white jury disregarded the testimony of the Ingrams that Stratford advanced on the mother with a rifle, and engaged in a tussle with her, whereupon the sons intervened and death blows resulted in their self-defense.

Atlanta Daily World, February 3, 1948

We Americans must recognize that the seeds of fascism have taken root on our native soil and race riots make the field fertile for their future growth. Until we recognize the implications of the current wave of violence against the Negro minority, we Americans will have gained nothing from the experiences of the conquered peoples of Europe. Those who profess a love for a better world, a world of plenty and of peace, can start building that better world now by digging up in our own backyard those wild weeds of fascism and racial hate.

Michigan Chronicle, July 31, 1943

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