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In terms of political radicalism one can see either movements for reforms or movements for forthright action to bring about some sort of cataclysmic sweeping obliteration of the old society and replace it with a new one. Harry Haywood has a long and distinguished career as a theorist and activist for the latter view of radicalism. Born in Omaha Nebraska just before the turn of the century it was his mother born in slavery who first taught Harry Heywood to fight for freedom. Short of height. Young Harry was powerfully built and carried himself with an air of determination and fast clip of a walk which honored his dark African features. He was a soldier in France during World War 1 but has ventured to Europe at this time was not so much to fight for democracy as to escape from America. After the war he settled in Chicago where he joined the African blood brotherhood of Cyril Briggs. This was a Marxist nationalist splinter group drawing largely from dissidents of the garbage.
And it was all black and Haywood saw nothing wrong with working in a self segregated all black organization as long as it was revolutionary. It was the reformist band to the Garvey ites which kept Haywood out of the popular Garvey movement. While working in what was a rather clandestine Brotherhood there were all kinds of trades secrets and. Penalties. For giving away the secrets. Working in the Brotherhood Haywood added to his Christian name Heywood hall the better known pseudonym Harry Haywood. The Brotherhood was active in labor struggles around Chicago where they would live and came to work closely with the communist sponsored trade union educationally. In the mid 20s. Hayward left the Brotherhood to join the Communist giving as is grounds the view that Negroes were too few among the total American population to undertake revolution on their own.
In 1925 Haywood went to the Soviet Union for schooling having only completed the eighth grade in American schools. He remained some four years in Russia traveling widely and taking an Armenian wife. Heywood had an important role in the fourth World Congress of the Communist International held in Moscow in the fall of one thousand twenty eight. His travels in Russia had taken him to outlining Soviet republics where he studied first hand the Leninist approach to national minorities. In the summer of 1988 there was a special Moscow meeting on the Negro Question resolutions were to be prepared for the forthcoming World Congress. Heywood and the Russian and the sign off presented a self-determination policy for the Negro in America. Heywood had become convinced that an independent negro Republican America could be created much as ethnic ethnic groups in the Soviet Union had regional autonomy and political control. Prior to Heywood and the sophs proposal there is no known record of the Communist
International even discussing a separate negro state as a solution to the negro question. In the early twenties the African blood brotherhood had often debated the feasibility of a self-determination programme but it was Heywood who according to her blood brotherhood leader Cyril Briggs. Quote deserves exclusive credit among American communist for raising the question of self-determination in Moscow in one thousand twenty eight and cook at the summer meeting. Heywood was opposed by the other Nigro delegates would whip him and Heywood's own brother hall. The programme was nonetheless carried to the convention and endorsed by the common term. Returning to the United States in 1929 Haywood became a leading theorist for the planned black belt Republic. Through speeches and articles he elaborated on the negro's national identity a need for a nation state.
And in addition to his theoretical work he would had has had a notable career. Active participation in struggles. You know some very dangerous ones at that. Through his knowledge of Slavic languages learned Russia Heywood was sent to western Pennsylvania and 1031 to organize immigrant coal miners. The party made a point of sending some Negroes to work in non negro areas. Perhaps this forced integration here of sending Heywood to Pennsylvania was meant to balance the implied black nationalism in the proposed negro Republic. The Pennsylvania miners nicknamed Haywood the black slob. And as there are guys are he had the honor of leading the charge of three hundred workers are into machine gun positions at the Battle of Bentley ville. This was a Bentley builds a typical mining town which strikes in the style of the day by importing scabs and then protecting them with a small army of armed
thugs. In this case two machine gunners posted at the entrance to the mine. At the big battle. He would announce that the strikers were going to go to the mines and oust the scabs if they had to walk right over those machine guns. The virtually unarmed strikers were but 50 feet from the Gunners when the thugs without firing ducked from their positions and RAM. When the Communists took over or the defense of the Scottsboro case the Scottsboro boys in Alabama. It was the cue for the party organizers to move into the Deep South. Heywood was assigned to organize a workers and unemployed Council in Memphis. At the time one thousand thirty two Memphis was one of the more corrupt towns in the United States under the machine of boss Crump the police were killing negroes in Memphis on an average of nearly Want a week. Haywood and his two fellow organizers had just arrived when the police arbitrarily shot and killed a young negro in full view of a negro woman witness. The
organizers employed tactics now popularized by Saul Alinsky by organizing around mediate community issues in this case murder. A mock trial was staged with the prosecutor judge and jury and in the Negro church the police were found guilty. Memphis city officials were about to call a hearing on the case when the eye witness mysteriously disappeared. Heywood was all for pressing the case anyway but at a crucial meeting of the local NWA Sepi a motion to support the quote communist and growth campaign failed of passing by one vote. Heywood interpreted the end of life to be action as an Uncle Tom sellout by black bourgeoisie which control the local branch. He didn't get to stay around and argue the point. He received a telephone tip that police were looking for him to dish out the same treatment. Given the eyewitness. They Woods experiences in the south left him extremely bitter toward the black middle classes. In a report to the 1934 Communist Party convention he
expounded at length on the race misleaders of the end of the ACP urban The Negro press gallery ites and other petty bourgeois nationalist. General Heywood's right IGS during the 30s earned him a title of party hatchet man for denunciations of black nationalist. It should be noted that his stride criticisms of nationalist were not so much integration just criticisms as revolutionary criticisms of reformist. His stock phrase for the nationalists was that they were petty bourgeois. And distractors from the central fight for revolution. He had his own national solution to the Black Belt Republic which he felt ought to have been acceptable to any nationalist who was not a mere opportunist out for his own monetary gain. Criticism such as those of pay would have helped create among Nationalists a longstanding belief that communist and communism is the enemy of black nationalism.
The Spanish Civil War found Haywood trudging across the Pyrenees as part of the American Lincoln Brigade bringing aid to the Loyalists and fighting Franco and Hitler. The tour of duty in Spain kept him away from home during the major party policy shift to a united front with the New Deal. Co-operation with liberalism caused a go slow approach to many of the party's radical programs. The proposed black belt Republic was made a secondary goal to that of integration. Upon his return to America Haywood found himself in strained relations with the party hierarchy during the war. He watched as the party liquidated many of its activities in the south. Then in one thousand forty six he eagerly joined in the purge of Earl Browder and others who had directed the party down the path of social democracy and reformism. Hey would doing the Warriors have been working as a seaman shipping out of Los Angeles. And the purge of reformist Browder cleared the way for a new interest in the
black belt Republican Haywood used his spare time at sea. To write a lengthy treatise on Negro liberation. Designed as a justification of the black republic negro liberation was heavy on theory and light on practical solutions. The basic thesis was not supported in detail on how political control was to be achieved nor was there much treatment of the actual mechanics of how whites would fit or not fit in the Republic. The black belt would be controlled by black workers and their white worker allies. According to the theory about how the two groups were going to work together was not explained. He would left these problems to the course of the revolution to come. When he wrote his book in the nineteen forty six forty seven. Haywood believed the revolution of the republic would be carried out through the American Communist Party. However in one thousand fifty seven he quit the party in a bitter hour for what he considered to be a turn toward moderation. The
Harry Haywood and the African Blood Brotherhood (Episode 7 of 14)
Black power origins
Producing Organization
KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)
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Ted Vincent explores the work of Harry Haywood (born Haywood Hall), who, in addition to being a member of the African Blood Brotherhood, also initiated the Black Belt Republic scheme into the Communist Party, and continued as a Black Nationalist theorist.
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Race and Ethnicity
Haywood, Harry, 1898-1985; African Blood Brotherhood; African Americans--Civil rights--History
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Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
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Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: 15712_D01 (Pacifica Radio Archives)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: PRA_AAPP_BB2246_07_Harry_Haywood_and_the_African_Blood_Brotherhood (Filename)
Format: audio/vnd.wave
Generation: Master
Duration: 0:11:12
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Chicago: “Harry Haywood and the African Blood Brotherhood (Episode 7 of 14); Black power origins,” 1967-09-27, Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 20, 2020,
MLA: “Harry Haywood and the African Blood Brotherhood (Episode 7 of 14); Black power origins.” 1967-09-27. Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 20, 2020. <>.
APA: Harry Haywood and the African Blood Brotherhood (Episode 7 of 14); Black power origins. Boston, MA: Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from