Breitman Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Albert Parker

The Negro Struggle

An American Story

(26 January 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. XII No. 4, 26 January 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

This week we are going to devote our column to a story reported in the Jan. 16 issue of the Gary American, a Negro paper published in the Calumet steel mill region of Indiana, we are not going to draw any moral from this story, because we think most of our readers will be able to draw it for themselves. All we want to do is repeat that this is a story about Indiana, and not Georgia.

On New Year’s Eve a man was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Catalpa and Guthrie Streets in Chicago. The victim’s name was Paul Rybinski of 3637 Block Ave. Nobody knows who the driver was except the occupants of the car.

“Because the gas station on that corner had no phone, an unidentified man who saw Rybinski struck was directed next door, 3612 Guthrie Street, to call for help," the Gary American story reports.

“Mrs. Katy Mason, who operates a beauty shop at that address, immediately called the police headquarters and informed them of the location and urgency of the accident.

“The intersection of Guthrie and Catalpa Streets is in a section of town which is heavily populated by colored people.

“‘Just a moment,’ the desk man answered Mrs. Mason, ‘I’ll give you the sergeant.’ She repeated the facts to the sergeant on duty.

“‘Is the man white or colored?’ the sergeant inquired bluntly.

“‘What difference does that make, he’s lying on the wet pavement, probably dying,’ Mrs. Mason snapped and hung up the receiver.

“Several minutes later a patrol wagon drew up alongside the knot of spectators who stood about the injured man debating whether to risk their own unskilled efforts to aid him or await professional attendants.

“’The patrol wagon driver shouldered through them, glanced briefly at the victim, and satisfied that the inert figure was not a Negro’s, inquired for the nearest available phone.

“‘They sent me,’ he remarked casually to the spectators, most of whom were colored, ‘to find out whether or not he’s a white man.’

“Then he went to the beauty shop phone and called for an ambulance to take the injured man to the hospital.”

Rybinski lay in the street “for more than 20 minutes after the accident was first reported by telephone.” When the ambulance arrived, he was “conveyed to St. Catherine’s Hospital and admitted at 5:35 p.m. He died at 10:40 p.m.”

The Gary American’s story concludes: “Paul Rybinski, age 57, is survived by his widow, and two daughters and a son.”

Breitman Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 2 October 2020