History

The Black Freedom Struggle and the Communist Party USA in the Depression Era

In the late 1920s and 1930s the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) played a significant role in the fight against racial discrimination.  As one of the few organizations willing to undertake mass protest in support of racial equality and black self-determination, it enjoyed some success in recruiting black workers and intellectuals.  This early and robust fight for racial justice subsequently puzzled Cold-War-era liberal historians.  Why, they wondered, would such an undemocratic organization take the lead in one of the great democratic causes of the twentieth century? Early answers to this and related questions ignited debates that continue to the present day. …
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