Hal Draper

Draper Hits Jim Crowism in Chamber of Commerce

(March 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 10, 10 March 1947, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Below we publish the text of the speech made to the Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce by Harold Draper, Workers Party candidate for councilman in District 7 of Los Angeles. See page 1 for news story.


In these three minutes allotted to each candidate my remarks shall have to be a bit blunt if what has to be said is to be said.

I want to note first that in this presentation of candidates before the Chamber of Commerce two out of the eight candidates in the district have not been invited. These two are the Negro candidates. You have refused to give your members an opportunity to meet them. I can only conclude that the Chamber of Commerce heads have already made up their minds on no other grounds than the color of their skin – that is, on the basis of open racial prejudice. This is unfair and it is undemocratic. It is your legal privilege, I suppose, but it is an indication of intolerance. I am aware of your reasons.

Your organization is one of the creators of the racial restrictive covenant – the instrument which condemns tens of thousands of Negro people in this city to squeezing into overcrowded ghettos, to the detriment of their health, happiness and their very lives – which puts fictitious property values above real human rights, to the satisfaction of real estate interests and race-baiters.

I speak not as a lily white candidate nor, of course, as a Negro candidate, not as a racial candidate of any kind – but as a working class and socialist candidate. And I must say that what we socialists say about organizations such as this could not have been more clearly affirmed than by this gathering here.

I am sure that there are some decent people here; I urge them to be courageous enough to protest this racism so that they may still be able to use the words freedom and justice without hypocrisy.

Last updated on 6 January 2022