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Albert Parker

The Negro Struggle

Save the Ingram Family

(15 March 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. XII No. 11, 15 March 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram and her two young children are Georgia sharecroppers who have been sentenced to the electric chair because they defended them selves against a murderous attack. The blood-stained system, oppressing the Negro people has marked them down as its next victims and can be expected to fight to the last ditch to see that they do not get away.

Read the article about the Ingram family on Page 1 of this issue, and you will have. most of the essential information about the case. Then ask yourself these questions:

Suppose the Ingrams had been white and the dead man had been a Negro – do you think the Georgia sheriff would have arrested the Ingrams? Do you think they would have been thrown into jail and denied the services of a lawyer until the day of their so-called trial? Do you think there would have even been a trial, or that anybody outside of Georgia would ever have heard about the case?

The answer to all these questions is, of course, No. There never would have been any arrests, there would have been no trial and no conviction, and the whole thing would have been written off as a case of self-defense. But everything happens differently in the South when a Negro is accused.

Why? Are the rulers of Georgia and their servants on the judge’s bench and in the sheriff’s office afraid of Mrs. Ingram? Do they think that this poverty-stricken widow is going to threaten their power if she is set free? Of course not. They know very well that if she is let alone, they will never see her again.

Nevertheless, they want her blood, because they regard her as a symbol. She and her sons dared to lift their hands in self-defense, they committed the unpardonable sin of fighting back when they were assaulted by a white man. The rulers of Georgia want to burn the Ingrams to death in order to “teach a lesson” to the Negro people as a whole, to terrorize them so that they will be afraid to resist, so that they will “stay in their place,” so that they will never on any occasion attempt to fight for their rights – whether in a dispute on a farm, or in a controversy over wages, or in a struggle at the ballot.

And that is why the Ingram case has an importance even greater than the ordinary individual instance of tragic injustice. Mrs. Ingram and her sons are a symbol to us too – to all of us who want to smash the oppressive Jim Crow system. That’s why we have a double reason for snatching them out of the hands of their would-be executioners – first of all, because they’re not guilty, and secondly, because saving them will help to undermine Jim Crow rule. Do everything you can to stop these murders!

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