Black Radicalism, 1919-1950 (Episode 1 of 14); Black power origins
Afro-American militancy. This series is predicated on the belief that the situation facing the Negroni ghetto today is very similar to what has confronted him since World War 1 the time when most of the present urban ghettos were formed with the problems having been similar for the past 40 years it can be assumed that many of the radical programs of the past had similarities to the possible programs of today and tomorrow. Questions to be answered here are what have been the strong and weak points of the past black nationalism and what difficulties have there been in co-operation between blacks and whites of the left. And how did the previous generation deal with issues of integration and separation. There are many ways to handle such question. Here they will be dealt with biographically. It is hoped that an exposition of the lives of individual militants will prove via that type of understanding of black radicalism which will transcend the constitution and bylaws of various movements and provide instead a picture of how individuals related
to their political groups using the personal approach leads to the discovery that black nationalist and integrationist have been far more interconnected than one would ever imagine from reading official pronouncements. It seems that the more I nationalist or integration ist opted for radical solutions the more they had in common and the less it has been their division the wiping away of the division line can be seen today in the nationalistic turn of Snick which is becoming more nationalistic while it becomes more radical in opposing American imperialism abroad as a lay down as Malcolm X became increasingly revolutionary he was driven to seek cooperation with certain radical whites and even say a kind word for the area of struggle carried on by Martin Luther King nationalist to dabble in integration and integration list to dabble in nationalistic programs are a common recurrence in past black radicalism. This series emphasizes the individual radical and a few introductory words are in order to
describe the major movements of past radicalism. It must be kept in mind that it is radical movements which are here treated not liberal ones. The end of an Urban League or now establishment history. WORLD WAR ONE SAW A quarter million blacks come north to seek employment in defense industries and many thousands more go abroad to save the world for democracy. The black troops saw a non-racist France and returned after the war determined to make America a safer democracy. The tension of returning troops and the anger of black people who had come north seeking freedom only to find a somewhat more subtle last sort of just more subtle racism led to a fervent militancy in 1998. The single most important outgrowth of this militancy was the universal Negra Improvement Association of Marcus Garvey. This nationalistic back to Africa Crusade had anywhere from a hundred few hundred thousand to a few million members at its height in the early post-World War One hears general histories treat gobby
ites as if they were horrid of an educated enthusiastic than raptured by nationalistic demagogy given out by the eloquent garbage. A study of individual lives of leading Garvey acts over and Garvey supporters shows a degree of educational impractical sophistication quite normal for a movement drawing from the masses and overall for a decade. Garvey IEDs were the dominant group in the American political scene and all other radical groups existed in either positive or negative relation to the U.N. I am political as I hear used in its broad sense not just in terms of political parties. The garbage program proposed an international citizen ship of color whereby any negro anywhere was to become a citizen of a powerful home nation in Africa and a percentage of American Negroes were to migrate to Africa to help the genocides the ties between the continents. Once the plan was in Operation American negroes
could leave whites to run this country. But if any Georgia redneck cracker laid a hand on a Georgia Nigro that negro could complain to his ambassador in Washington that he is a citizen of a foreign country had been manhandled by this American racist so ran the theory the less academic appeal of Garvey was that he provided a psychological escape from America and through his many community centers social services and cooperative businesses the follower of the U.N. I got to feel a part of a separate world within the world. Around the Garvey ites were many splinter groups and small vocal contingents of black socialist most of whom had had at one time or another worked with Garvey. There was the African blood brotherhood a Marxist group which considered garbage too conservative and called for revolution in both America and Africa. The Brotherhood envisioned a world wide Federation of radical Negroes which would work clandestinely to sweep aside colonialism. It sought to establish ties in
the African hinterland with comparatively unreached Africans who would be made a revolutionary vanguard for sweeping down upon the colonialists plantations centered in Harlem. The Brotherhood had branches in a number of American cities and in some islands of the Caribbean a Philip Randolph who in 1999 shared the speaking platform with Garvey came to lead the integration is left in a war on the Garvey ites in the US. The integration force was a coalition of socialists and the liberals in 1925 Randolph himself would be labeled a nationalist. Many liberals felt his organizing of the black only brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was a sign of negative reverse segregation. In the early thirties the beginning of the Great Depression there was brought alive a radical Islam which had been waning during the late 20s. One of the more popular movements would be known or should be known to all snicked and course it enters.
Unfortunately it has been ignored in the histories. This was the spontaneous grass roots based movement for jobs in ghettos stores and industries known as the don't buy where you can work campaigns virtually every northern city had a campaign of its own. The tactics were the boycott the picket line and physical intimidation. These campaigns lack national direction or the expression of long simmering frustration in the ghetto and they were thoroughly nationalistic in very few cities where there are any white participants. The white leftist in general saw these activities as divisive of the labor movement. The jobs campaigns brought about a confusion of leftists who wish to help the Negrito but yet could not see the particular peculiar problems of negroes in the ghetto during the Depression most significantly the fact that. Despite all the unemployment negroes remained twice the
percentage on relief and on the dole. Unemployed and suffering in general from the depression. Aside from the jobs campaigns the early thirties was the heyday of Communist party involvement in Negril life. While many an ex Garvey I was running off to Father Divine or Daddy Grace another large percentage was joining the Communist and the Communists were proud of having stolen the nationalist program and membership. Indeed the communist had a thoroughly nationalistic program during the Depression years. They proposed the Negril Republic to be created in the black belt of the South and run by a resident black majority while winning over a nationalist. The communists also led battles against slum lords with their anti eviction militia and fought for relief payments through Workers Councils. On the black vote Republic. It is noteworthy that the design of the plan was largely the work of a former member of the African blood brotherhood who joined the communist in one thousand twenty
five and was in Moscow in 1928 at the meeting of the red International and they're successfully argued the point of a separate republic. Our Harry Haywood this long time communist theorists still around no longer with the party but he is active today in black power circles. So go the connections here between nationalistic programs and integration ist or leftist programs. The broad class consciousness of the New Deal era swept aside nationalism and black radicals came over you. Well mainly commit themselves to solving racism by exposing its economic foundation in capitalism. The efforts of CIO Unionists to conscientiously fight for integration made nationalism seem irrelevant. Still there was the phenomenon of the March on Washington movement of 1941 the CIO was fine but other unions and industry it's still segregated to combat the racism of both labor and management. Thousands of negroes gathered in
Chicago in Newton in New York to threaten a march on Washington of a hundred thousand black peoples unless the growing defense armaments industries were open to new growth workers. Now to summarize this little introduction. Certainly more needs to be done in the way of background of the movements. There will be two installments in the series specifically on the Garvey movement. But for the most part the background will have to be worked again with the biographies and today's biography. Grover Cleveland reading. It turned out to be a nice Sunday for the parade. Grover Cleveland Redding led the small procession through the streets of Chicago's south side. He rode a white stallion to enhance the Regal appearance of his multicolored toga behind him came followers of the star order of Ethiopia and Ethiopian missionaries to Abyssinia otherwise known as the
Abyssinians. The parade ended in front of a cafe on East Thirty fifth Street and after a brief ceremony reading produced an American flag poured gasoline over it and set it afire. He and associate each took a corner and they walked up and down the street with the blazing Old Glory flapping in the wind getting somewhat carried away reading produced a pistol and put a few bullet holes in the charred remains. Two white policeman tried to restrain the man but were intimidated with threats and the brandishing of revolvers. They left to seek reinforcements from the station house but a negro policeman remained and when reading started to ignite a second flag he tried to take it away from him only to be shot and wounded. I white sailor also protest of the destruction of the flag and was also shot. One of the Abyssinian shouted to the onlookers join us brothers. We are forty million strong. A number of high powered rifles were then obtained from a limousine that had accompanied the parade. Police arrived. There was further shooting and all told two were killed and a half dozen wounded. For the moment the
Abyssinians got away. Many believed reading to be insane. And if he was it was the insanity of the overly logical mind. If logic dictated a revolutionary solution for Negroes and there should be guns and shooting there was and reading was eventually hanged for murder. The flag burning incident took place on June 20th one thousand twenty and was the most extreme expression of post-World War on black radicalism the Abyssinians were formed in the spring of 1919 as a militant offshoot of the Garvey ites whereas the Garvey movement asked for money for ships to return to Africa. Reading sought funds for an arm trained to ride into Dixie and begin the revolution in place of the Darby I'd return to Africa reading proposed black Americans take out citizenship immediately under the Ethiopian flag. His organization raised funds by selling Abyssinian flags and certificates of citizenship. Reading told his followers that he was a native of Ethiopia but in fact he was born in
Georgia in his home state the readings were known as a family that had difficulty relating properly to the realities of life. Either they didn't take well or acquiesce to American racism. Some members of the clan had been put in the mill to fill George's insane asylum at the time of Grover's hanging in June of 1990. He had come north sometime prior to World War One. His political activities began to friendship developed with a radical white family which shared the same apartment house renting was out of work and would drop in to get a free meal now and then and the Misses of the house suggested to her husband that rent had their neighbors seemed a bright young fellow and a fitting aid for the community work engaged in by her husband. This white man the bearded doctor JD Jonas was a freelance militant of sorts who worked in negro ghettos agitating at street corners and attempting to organize poor Nigro around a variety of economic schemes. For a while he ran a co-operative store in the Chicago ghetto and tried to sell shares to his
customers. In 1917 he was active in raising supplies of food and clothing for relief of black victims of the St. Louis race riot. The Togo worn by reading at the flag burning had originally belonged to Jonas. It was just us who formed the city in order but it was rid of who became its leader. The black bag was far more effective in street corner organizing that was the white Also the order drew a bunch of its membership from dissidents of the Garvey ites. These newcomers looked on Jonas as somewhat out of place in a black organization. Redding stole Jonas thunder and finally was given the toga. Other regalia at the leadership. There was an attempt to four branches outside of Chicago but other cities seemed far less interested in reading the brand of militancy in the hotbed of Chicago. You could sell the city of flags for a dollar a piece. But it Detroit. They went for eight to fifty cents. The
headway was made sense applications for membership contained mailing addresses in Washington D.C. and New York. The actual size of the bill but it was bowed to secrecy as well as the plaid train a scheme which only became known during Reg's trial for murder. After the flag burning and shooting. Redding and seven of his followers including two women barricaded themselves inside a hideaway. However a tip off to the police led to their quick arrest reading and Oscar McGavick were tried for murder. The latter man was secretary of the proposed arm train readings disdain for American society shown in the flag burning was carried over into his trial. He pleaded guilty to murder and refused to sit politely during the proceedings throwing books at prosecution witnesses and calling them names. He took the witness stand for an opportunity to defend his movement and its objectives. Upon hearing the verdict he stood up and said I do not want a new trial judge. If they are
- Black power origins
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- KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
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- Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)
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- Ted Vincent, writer and educator, presents the first in a series on Black radicals of the past. This first episode provides a summary of Black radicalism from 1919-1950, and a brief biography of Grover Cleveland Redding, leader of the Abyssinians.
- Talk Show
- Radicalism--United States--History--20th century; Redding, Grover Cleveland, -1921; African Americans--Civil rights--History
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Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
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Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: 15706_D01 (Pacifica Radio Archives)
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- Chicago: “Black Radicalism, 1919-1950 (Episode 1 of 14); Black power origins,” 1967-08-26, Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 20, 2020, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-28-p843r0qb0p.
- MLA: “Black Radicalism, 1919-1950 (Episode 1 of 14); Black power origins.” 1967-08-26. Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 20, 2020. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-28-p843r0qb0p>.
- APA: Black Radicalism, 1919-1950 (Episode 1 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 http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-28-p843r0qb0p