J.R. Johnson

Marshall Field, Negro-Hater, Turns “Friend”

(19 May 1941)

The Negro’s Fight, Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 20, 19 May 1941, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Negroes and friends, just watch what is being done to the public by the people who are rushing us into war.

Everybody in this country, from Roosevelt to the latest European refugee who has managed to get into this country, knows that Negroes are forcibly deprived of their rights here – not one, but some 13,000,000, 26 times the number of Jews there were in Germany when Hitler came to power.

The warmongers, however, are pushing the country into the war as fast as they can, under the slogan of preserving democracy. They have, therefore, to fool the people, to fool the Negroes, and to fool the whites who are saying “What kind of democracy can we fight for abroad, when we have no democracy here for millions and millions.”

One way is for Franklin Roosevelt to give a Negro general a job (one year before he is to retire), to appoint some what-collar Negroes into fat (and not too fat) jobs in Washington. Meanwhile, Eleanor Roosevelt goes from meeting to meeting uttering the most pious sentiments how she hopes some day (please God) to see discrimination ended. She is photographed with Negroes. She helps Marion Anderson to sing in public in Washington. She makes personal gestures. But, of course, Negroes are left out of war industries, lynched in the South and Congress pushes the anti-lynching bill into a corner. For, in the serious life of the country, nobody cares about the sermons Eleanor Roosevelt preaches all over the country.

But as Roosevelt pushes the country closer to war, the tricks become more lousy. One of Roosevelt’s most powerful supporters is Marshall Field, the Chicago multi-millionaire. He is the chief shareholder in a New York paper, PM, which publishes about 16 pages every day – all saying one thing: Go to war now, “to save democracy.” But the people don’t want to go to war, least of all the Negroes. What does Marshall Field do? He signs a document in Chicago in which he and some other notables call upon the American public to stop discrimination against Negroes in industry, etc. Obviously these impudent donkeys believe that the Negroes are so foolish that they will be ready to rush off to buy war bonds and support the war because some few people wrote on a piece of paper that it is a shame Negroes are treated so badly.

He Offers ... A Piece of Paper

However, that is only the old gag Eleanor Roosevelt is always trying to put over. What makes this one smell so high is that Marshall Field himself is one of the most vicious anti-Negro employers in the country. He won’t employ Negroes in his stores, he even tries to keep them out of the store as customers. Worse still, he is an anti-union man and is in fact one of the worst enemies of the democratic rights of workers that you can find anywhere.

This man wants the country in the war for the sake of safeguarding profits and investments. So, in order to fool the people, and the Negroes in particular, he signs this worthless piece of paper.

That is all they have to give the Negroes: promises, jobs for a few white-collar workers who are given these salaries as bribes to help fool the workers, and now petitions signed by Negro-hating and anti-labor warmongers intent only on fooling the people.

The Negroes and organized labor will know what to do with these pieces of paper today. They must plan and prepare what to do with Marshall Field and his friends tomorrow.

Last updated on 27.12.2012