because his old foe, the Brooklyn Eagle was gunning for him in a new way.
About two weeks before Election Day the Eagle opened up on Pete because he was supporting a Black Republican, Norman B. Johnson, in the latter's fight for a council seat from Brooklyn. On the surface, it would appear that the Eagle was seeking to ridicule Pete as an unprincipled politician because he, a Communist, was backing a Republican. Pete, as was his wont and policy, would come before Johnson supporters and others to lend his strength to the fight for Black representation. On his part, he simply asked that Johnson backers cast their No. 2 votes next to the name of Cacchione on the PR ballot.
Actually, as Pete knew, the Eagle was not particularly interested in Pete's support of Johnson. The Eagle was seeking to whip up something of a white backlash against him, he believed, because of his consistent fight against racism. Pete was furious. He dashed off a reply to the Eagle which he made public in his column, "It Happened at City Hall." It was pure, plain, indignant Pete talking:
If there is one thing I am proud of concerning my work in the City Council, it is my fight against discrimination and race hatred....
If there is one individual in America that does not enjoy the same rights I do, that is a threat against my rights. As long as there is one group in America that does not enjoy its full democratic rights under the Constitution, that is a threat to all people. It is a dagger at the very vitals of democracy.
My fight against discrimination is guided by these principles. I will never compromise on this question. If there is one inch of compromise to the enemies of democracy, we are lost. On this line I stand and on this line I fight! ( Daily Worker, October 24, 1943.)
This off his chest, one other thing continued to nag Pete. Would the old party machines try any hanky panky at the ballot count U+00EO la 1941? Should he start to warn people publicly? Or should he make discreet inquiries and tell the politicos not to try any funny business or else he would make it an issue well in advance of the count? Pete knew that in the war atmosphere, with so much talk about democratic rights the question of a fair count in an election was a sensitive issue all the way to Washington. He determined on a bold but quiet move -- he would personally see the District Attorney of Kings County (Brooklyn) and put the matter squarely.
Thus it was that Pete, accompanied by this writer, on a sparkling fall afternoon, visited the hideaway penthouse of District Attorney William O'Dwyer at the Hotel Bossert in the Brooklyn Heights section of Brook-