Red, Black, White

The Alabama Communist Party, 1930–1950

Title Details

Pages: 248

Illustrations: 19 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 11/15/2019

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5617-4

List Price: $29.95


Pub Date: 11/15/2019

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5616-7

List Price: $99.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published with the generous support of Bradley Hale Fund for Southern Studies

Red, Black, White

The Alabama Communist Party, 1930–1950

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Red, Black, White is the first narrative history of the American communist movement in the South since Robin D. G. Kelley's groundbreaking Hammer and Hoe and the first to explore its key figures and actions beyond the 1930s. Written from the perspective of the district 17 (CPUSA) Reds who worked primarily in Alabama, it acquaints a new generation with the impact of the Great Depression on postwar black and white, young and old, urban and rural Americans.

After the Scottsboro story broke on March 25, 1931, it was open season for old-fashioned lynchings, legal (courtroom) lynchings, and mob murder. In Alabama alone, twenty black men were known to have been murdered, and countless others, women included, were beaten, disabled, jailed, “disappeared,” or had their lives otherwise ruined between March 1931 and September 1935. In this collective biography, Mary Stanton—a noted chronicler of the left and of social justice movements in the South—explores the resources available to Depression-era Reds before the advent of the New Deal or the modern civil rights movement. What emerges from this narrative is a meaningful criterion by which to evaluate the Reds’ accomplishments.

Through seven cases of the CPUSA (district 17) activity in the South, Stanton covers tortured notions of loyalty and betrayal, the cult of white southern womanhood, Christianity in all its iterations, and the scapegoating of African Americans, Jews, and communists. Yet this still is a story of how these groups fought back, and fought together, for social justice and change in a fractured region.

Stanton illuminates how Communists in Alabama and elsewhere in the United States used the law not only to bring international attention to the worst of Jim Crow segregation but also to build solidarity across race and class lines.

—Robert Greene II, The Nation

Stanton has done a masterful job of presenting a highly important and largely forgotten history.

—Tony Pecinovsky, People’s World

Among some especially fine efforts in race-linked struggles, Red, Black and White is a gem.

—Paul Buhle, The Labor and Working-Class History Association

[T]his book is well worth the time of anyone interested in southern history, the history of racism, labor organizing, religion, and communism in Alabama and the US South.

—Jordan P. Brasher, Historical Geography 48

Red, Black, White is an important contribution to our understanding of the role of Communists, especially Black Communists, in thearc of radicalism in the South. It makes the stories of these radicals live inways that resonate among current-day activists — as seen in the enthusiasticreception and reviews of the book in places that do not often deal with booksfrom relatively small academic presses.

—James Smethurst, Science and Society

About the Author/Editor

MARY STANTON is the author of From Selma to Sorrow: The Life and Death of Viola Liuzzo and Journey toward Justice: Juliette Hampton Morgan and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (both Georgia); and Freedom Walk: Mississippi or Bust. She has taught at the University of Idaho, the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey, and Rutgers University.