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Black Communists Class Participation Project. B. D. Amis B. D. (B. DeWayne) Amis, 1896-1993, was an African-American Communist Party USA and labor union.

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Presentation on theme: "Black Communists Class Participation Project. B. D. Amis B. D. (B. DeWayne) Amis, 1896-1993, was an African-American Communist Party USA and labor union."— Presentation transcript:

1 Black Communists Class Participation Project

2 B. D. Amis B. D. (B. DeWayne) Amis, 1896-1993, was an African-American Communist Party USA and labor union organizer. Amis was born in Chicago and by 1928 was president of the NAACP branch in Peoria, IL, when the Communist Party invited him to come to New York. Amis became a member of the National Committee of the Communist-inspired American Negro Labor Congress, and also wrote articles for the Daily Worker, the party newspaper. In 1930, Amis became general secretary of the Communist-inspired League of Struggle for Negro Rights (LSNR) and an editor of its publication, The Liberator. During this period Amis wrote the pamphlets Lynch Justice at Work (1930) and They shall not die!: The story of Scottsboro in pictures (1932). Amis went on to become the District Organizer for the Communist Party in Cleveland and traveled to the Soviet Union on two occasions, the second time for about a year and a half. While there, he took courses in Marxism and wrote articles for the Negro Worker, the newspaper of the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers.

3 B. D. Amis Upon his return to the United States, Amis settled in Philadelphia where he joined the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) as a field organizer. He was also the head of the Philadelphia committee of the National Negro Congress, and the chairman of the Philadelphia Committee for the Defense of Ethiopia. He ran as the Communist candidate for Auditor General of Pennsylvania in 1936. He went on to organize Catering Industry Employees Union, Local 758, an African-American local of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union (AFL), serving as Secretary-Treasurer of both organizations, ca. 1939-1942. Amis died in 1993.

4 Harry Haywood Harry Haywood (1898–1985) was a leading figure in both the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). He contributed major theory to Marxist thinking on the national question of African Americans in the United States. He was also a founder of the Maoist New Communist Movement.

5 James W. Ford James W. Ford was Special Organizer of the Communist Party's Harlem section and the most prominent black Communist in the nation during the 1930s and early 1940s. Perhaps more than any other figure, Ford symbolized the Party's efforts to build a united front between African Americans and the white working class. Ford was born into a middle-class home in Chicago in 1903. He attended Fisk University, where he was a star athlete and active in the campus politics. After graduation, he served in France during World War I. In many ways an unlikely candidate for future leadership in the Communist Party, Ford's radicalization began after the war when his efforts to find a job commensurate with his education were frustrated by racial discrimination. He settled for a position at the Chicago Post Office, joined the Postal Workers Union, and shortly thereafter the Communist Party.

6 James W. Ford Ford rose quickly in Party ranks during a period when the CP was placing increased emphasis on promoting black leaders. He joined the American Negro Labor Congress in 1926 and sojourned in the Soviet Union in the late 1920s. In 1929, he was chosen to head the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers and a year later became head of the Negro Department of the Trade Union Unity League. In 1932 he joined William Z. Foster on the CP's presidential ticket, becoming the first African American to be nominated for Vice President of the United States. He would run alongside CP presidential nominee Earl Browder in 1936 and again in 1940.

7 Benjamin W. Davis, Jr. Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., was chairman of the New York State district of the Communist Party and an acquaintance of Martin Luther King, Jr., King and Davis were both from prominent Atlanta families, and despite their ideological differences, their relationship was characterized by a great degree of mutual respect.

8 Benjamin W. Davis, Jr. A graduate of Amherst College, Davis, Jr. earned a degree from Harvard Law School in 1929 and began practicing law three years later in Atlanta. The young attorney gained international attention when he was hired in 1932 by the International Labor Defense to represent Angelo Herndon, a young African American Communist. Defending Herndon not only brought Davis great renown, but also intensified his own Communist sensibilities.

9 Benjamin W. Davis, Jr. In 1935, he left the legal profession in Atlanta for New York City where he become the editor of the American Communist Party’s periodicals the Negro Liberator and, later, the Daily Worker. In New York he became active in municipal politics, succeeding Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., as Harlem’s representative on the New York City Council in 1943. Davis encountered legal problems of his own surrounding his involvement with the Communist Party and, in 1949, lost his bid for a third term on the City Council. He was convicted later that year for violating the Smith Act, a 1940 law that criminalized any act that was seen as advocating an overthrow of the United States government, and spent five years in a federal penitentiary.

10 William L. Patterson William L. Patterson (1891 –1980) was a leader in the Communist Party USA and head of the International Labor Defense, a group that offered legal representation to communists, trade unionists, and African- Americans in cases involving issues of political or racial persecution. On August 22, 1927, he was among the 156 arrestees protesting the execution of immigrant anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Patterson was later active in the Civil Rights Congress, and in 1951 presented a document, We Charge Genocide, to the United Nations, charging the U.S. federal government with complicity in genocide for failing to take action against lynching in the United States.

11 Claudia Jones Claudia Jones was a Communist for her entire adult life and a leader in several major movements that marked the twentieth century. These included: the African American liberation movement in the United States, the international Communist movement, the struggle for the rights of women, the battle for world peace, and the Caribbean fight for independence and unity.

12 Claudia Jones Jones’s consistent stand against exploitation and oppression and her advocacy of socialism and world peace did not go unnoticed by the United States Government during the McCarthy era. Jones was arrested in 1948 and incarcerated for six months. She was arrested again in 1955 and subsequently sent to federal prison.

13 Claudia Jones Since she never gained U.S. citizenship, Jones was deported from the United States to England where she immediately became involved in the various struggles of the West Indian community and other nationally oppressed groups. Claudia Jones died on Christmas Day, 1964.

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