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>Albert Parker

The Negro Struggle

A New Spirit

(21 June 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 25, 21 June 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

One of the most dramatic stories in last week’s news was the case of Leroy Hutson, Negro radio engineer who had just bought and moved into a home in Wall Township, N.J., a small, all-white community which used to be the Eastern regional headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Hutson got some anonymous phone calls asking if he intended to stay in his new home; he naturally answered that he did. Two days after he moved in, a 12-foot fiery cross was burned in front of his home.

t was a “terrifying experience” for the Hutson family, but the interesting thing is what Mr. Hutson did about it. He immediately phoned a friend in nearby Asbury Park, who came as quickly as he could with a shotgun. Then he called the state police and reported what had happened. But he did not rely on the police alone. A phone call was sent to another friend, and this friend got in touch with the Asbury Park branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

n short order, nine cars arrived with about 25 Negroes, who, according to the N.Y. Times, were “armed with shotguns, pistols, knives, pitchforks and other weapons.” They searched the area and kept a guard around the Hutson home for several hours “until they were persuaded to leave by the state police, who took over.”

The Negro people are learning more and more that to protect themselves, they must rely first of all on their own organized strength. The defense guard organized in the Hutson case should serve as an example to be followed by the Negro and labor movements, and should serve as a warning to the vigilante groups that 'the Negro people are ready to protect themselves vigorously against mob action and terror.

* * *

The reason that Negroes have such little confidence in protection from the police is that the police are notorious for their brutality against Negroes. Take, for instance, the recent cold-blooded murder by Detroit cops of a 15-year old Negro youth, Leon Mosley.

Cops had stopped him while he was in a car which had been allegedly stolen, and dragged him from it. Four cops proceeded to beat the boy mercilessly till his face was streaming blood, and when he staggered off a few yards, shot him in the back. As he lay on the ground, dying, one of the cops hit him in the head with a gun butt, breaking his neck.

That happened in Detroit, and the same kind of brutality is duplicated by the police in most of the other Negro communities, in the North just as in the South. Organized action by the Negro and labor movements is needed not only against the vigilantes operating outside the law, but also against the police who commit atrocities in the name of the law.

* * *

Another name in the news last week was Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram, Georgia sharecropper framed-up with her two teen-age sons for the self-defense slaying of a white man who had attacked her. Mrs. Ingram and her children were saved from execution by the mass protest in their behalf, and their sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Now, lawyers representing the Ingrams and the NAACP have filed arguments with the Georgia Supreme Court, asking for a new trial. Continued mass pressure by Negro and labor groups can win freedom for the Ingrams just as it saved them from death.

* * *

Last week’s Militant mentioned a questionnaire sent by the NAACP to 13,000 Negro male students to determine their reactions to the Randolph-Reynolds proposals for a civil disobedience campaign against military Jim Crow. But the short report printed in this paper dealt only with one aspect of the poll. Actually, the NAACP reported, 71% of the 2,280 answers received were sympathetic to the proposed civil disobedience campaign.

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