NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire V. 16.1 - Page 49

The Communist Party began the year with a palpable concern about Red-baiting. “The present Red-baiting attack,” a review in The Communist noted, “is apparently directed at Communists alone and in this it differs from the Red-baiting of 1936 and 1937, when reaction sent its blows mainly against the liberal and bourgeois-democratic forces of the progressive camp.” 72 The anxiety accelerated, when Congress created the House Un-American Activities Committee (huac) in the spring of 1938. The Committee’s chairman, Martin Dies, was a reactionary racist from east Texas. Dies promised an even-handed investigation of American Fascist and Communist movements. The Nazi movement reached a peak in 1938. Germany annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland. German anti-Semitism escalated as all Jewish wealth was registered, all Jewish shops and firms were Aryanized, passports for Jews were stamped with a “j,” and major synagogues were destroyed. The year’s oppression culminated in “Crystal Night,” a pogrom in which 20,000 Jews were imprisoned, 74 killed, and a collective fine was imposed, after the Jewish population was eliminated from the economy. 75 In Spain, Franco’s Fascist forces were on the verge of triumph in the Civil War. In Los Angeles, in early August, 6,000 demonstrators marched outside a 3-day Nazi convention. Leo Gallagh er led the pickets in front of the Nazi headquarters, as the Red Squad beat a half dozen of the marchers in an effort to disperse the protest. A week later, 223 delegates from 85 organizations formed a Los Angeles anti-Nazi league and began a boycott of Nazi imports and raised money to aid Jewish refugees. Miller remained a member of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League. The local naacp invited Jewish leaders to speak on the situation of Jewish people worldwide. The Communist Party was active in the anti-Nazi struggle and held a huge rally in New York in which over 30,000 attended. The Party contended that anti-Semitism was a weapon against all progressive programs. As the year ended, James Ford, an African American member of the Central Committee, told an audience that blacks must fight anti-Semitism, which Fascist forces were trying to spread in the black community. Ford said that, “…anti-Semitism and ‘Negrophobia’ spring from the identical sources — reaction — and both must be fought by a common front.” 76 n BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE Pandemonium broke loose. Protests were heard from all corners of the auditorium. Charges of “Communism” came forth from the conservative bloc led by Macbeth, while Atty. Loren Miller, Sentinel editor, and Mrs. Adele Young led a choral accusation of “Fascism” against the Macbeth faction. 71 However, in a short time, it became evident his focus was on the Reds, in an effort to discredit Roosevelt and the New Deal. The Party kept a careful watch on his activities, and in August Earl Browder and William Z. Foster spoke at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles to rebut huac’s allegations of Communist plotting. Pettis Perry introduced the two leaders. 73 huac brought its act to Hollywood and received a hostile reaction from many in the film industry. huac, however, had support among the black elite, especially at the Eagle, which published several cartoons that supported huac’s witch-hunt. 74 47 Meanwhile, in December Hawkins and Miller sought to form a new uplift organization, Community Builders, with moderate forces led by Hugh Macbeth. The meeting to set up the entity resulted in fireworks between the faction led by Hawkins-Miller and that led by Macbeth. Macbeth postponed elections afterwards, according to the Eagle: