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build Communist Party groups and cells within the basic industries, the big unions and the organizations of the people, and we also at this school, the State school had the leaders of the State committee. The State executive committee of California were some of the lecturers, William Schneiderman; Oleta O'Conner Yates lectured; Matt Crawford lectured on the Negro question.
By the way, Matt Crawford is ranking Negro Communist who in 1932 went to Russia under the pretext of making a motion picture. At that time the Communists in America rounded
up a group of topflight young Negro intellectuals and convinced them to go to Russia to make a motion picture of the conditions of Negroes here in America.
Mr. TAVENNER. Just a moment. I desire to offer in evidence and have marked as Exhibit Rosser No. 4 a photostatic copy of an issue of the New York Herald Tribune of June 14, 1932, describing the sailing of 22 Negroes to work on Soviet films.
Mr. VELDE. Without objection it will be admitted at this point.
(Photostat of pages of New York Herald Tribune of June 14, 1932, was received in evidence as Rosser Exhibit No. 4.)
ROSSER EXHIBIT NO. 4
[New York Herald Tribune, June 14, 1932, p. 16]
22 NEGROES SAIL TODAY TO WORK ON SOVIET FILM
Some of the Scenes Will be Made in Cotton District of Russian Turkestan
United States History is Subject
Several Have Had No Previous Stage Experience A group of 22 American Negroes will start out from Brooklyn tonight aboard the Bremen on their way to Moscow, where during the next 5 months they will be employed as actors in a motion-picture drama which will interpret the historical development of the Negro in the United States from the time of the Civil War. According to the group's contract, the Negroes will pay their way to Moscow but while they are on "the lot" they will each receive 400 to 600 rubles a month; then they will receive a free passage home.
The Negroes will be employed by the Meschrahpom Film Corp. of Moscow, which produced The Diary of a Revolutionist, now being shown here at the Cameo.
COMMITTEE SELECTED At the suggestion of the company, a committee of Negroes and other Americans interested in the theater and in writing was formed to select the personnel of the cast. This committee called itself the cooperative committee for the production of a Soviet film on the Negro in America. A number of the Negroes named by this body have never had stage experience, but the Moscow company has informed them that did not matter. Moscow, it reported, did not put the same sort of qualifications on its star as Hollywood. The Russians wanted “representative Negroes.”
Henry Lee Moon, à reporter on the Amsterdam News who will be one of the players, said the group had been selected from a cultural and not a political standpoint. "So far as I know," Moon said yesterday, “there is only one Communist in the party."
Moon said “realistic picturization of the Negro at work and play was the aim of the film. The scenario will avoid the sentimentality and buffoonery with which the usual Hollywood production on the Negro is burdened. I do not know what the plot will be, but I have heard that the scenario has been finished. It has been written by a German, a Russian and by Lovett Whiteman, an American Negro now in Russia.” Whiteman, a teacher of mathematics and chemistry in the new Little Red School for sons of American engineers in Moscow, is a graduate of Columbia University. He studied the drama here and went to Russia about 5 years ago.
THOSE MAKING THE TRIP
The following will make the trip :
Garner, Sylvia, of 250 West 136th Street, singer and actress, who appeared with Ethel Barrymore in Scarlet Sister Mary.
Hill, Leonard, of 1461 W Street NW., Washington, social worker.
Lewis, Juanita, of 247 West 143d Street, singer and dramatic reader and member of Hall Johnson Negro Choir.
Lewis, Mollie, of 43 West 66th Street, student at Teachers' College, Columbia.
Lewis, Thurston McNairy, of 1851 Seventh Avenue, actor, member of cast of “Ham's Daughters."
McKenzie, Allen, of 112 38th Avenue, Corona, Queens, salesman.
Miller, Loren, of 837 East 24th Street, Los Angeles, city editor of The California Eagle.
Montero, Frank C., of 287 East 55th Street, Brooklyn, student at Howard University, Washington.
Moon, Henry Lee, reporter, the Amsterdam News.
Rudd, Wayland, of 205 West 115th Street, actor, member of the casts of the Emperor Jones, Othello, Porgy and in Abraham's Bosom.
Sample, George, Binghamton, N. Y., student at Fordham.
West, Dorothy, of 43 West 66th Street, short-story writer and member of cast of Porgy.
White, Constance, of Hoburn, Mass., student and social worker.
The group will proceed from Bremen to Stettin, where they will board a Finnish steamer for Helsingfors. From there they will board another ship bound for Leningrad, where they are due June 24. Work on the film will begin on July 1. Some of the scenes will be made in the cotton-growing districts in Russian Turkestan.
MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE On the committee which selected the group were W. A. Domingo, Miss Thompson, Bessye Bearden, Prof. George S. Counts of Columbia, Malcolm Cowley, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana, William H. Davis, Floyd Dell, Romeo L. Dougherty, Waldo Frank, Roland Gallin, Cecil Hope, Langston Hughes, Rose McClendon, Edna Thomas, Alan Max, Loren Miller, Charles Rumford Walker, John H. Hammond, Jr., Harry Allen Potamkin, Will Vodery, Harold Williams, Hugo Gellert and Doone Young. The Negroes expect to return to the United States about January 1.
Mr. TAVENNER. What was the ostensible or the represented purpose of the Communist Party in taking these Communist Party members to the Soviet Union for the filming of a picture?
Mr. ROSSER. Well, the main purpose of the Communist Party at that time was to use them to show them the workers' paradise over there, the way minorities were treated, and then to use them as propaganda material when they arrived back into America, but most of these people who went over there became disillusioned, and today some of the outstanding anti-Communists in America are these Negroes that they took over there.
One of them works for the National Urban League, and he is one of the outstanding anti-Communists we have.
Mr. JACKSON. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. JACKSON. I think it would be very well if Mr. Rosser would give us the names of those who have been active in the anti-Communist
fight. Too often I think that our hearings reflect only the names of those who have been active on behalf of the Communist Party, and I think that the name of the gentleman whom you have mentioned, together with the others, should be in the record.
Mr. VELDE. The chair concurs with the member. If the witness can remember the names of those who are active in the anti-Communist fight at the present time, we would appreciate it if you would give them to us.
Mr. ROSSER. Well, for reasons, I can only give one name. The one name that I said was the top active anti-Communist is Lee Moon, L-e-e M-0-0-n. He is on the national executive committee of the National Urban League. That is an organization that works for better relationships between all races here in America and the opening up of job opportunities.
Mr. SCHERER. Do you know if any pictures were actually produced by this
group that went to Russia ? Mr. ROSSER. No, they didn't make any pictures. My understanding is it broke up in squabbles, and they had to bring them home, and today there are only about 3 who are active who went: Matt Crawford, as I said, on the State committee here in California, and Louise Thompson, a Negro woman who is the secretary or executive secretary of the International Workers' Order of America.
Mr. SCHERER. Where were these films to be used, in Russia or here?
Mr. ROSSER. All over the world, especially in Africa, Asia, and the Far East, China.
Mr. SCHERER. Did you know what those films were to depict ?
Mr. ROSSER. The life of the Negroes in America. At that time the Communist Party slogan was national liberation of the Negroes in America, and in discussing this slogan and program the Communist Party said that the Negroes, when they were freed by the Civil War, were introduced to a new kind of slavery, legal slavery, sharecropping, and that the Negroes were denied the ownership of the land, although they farmed the land, and therefore, in order for the Negro in America to be free, he had to organize and mobilize and fight against the southern landlords and smash the plantation system, set up the dictatorship of the proletariat, Negro Soviet.
Mr. SCHERER. There wasn't any question in your mind that those pictures were to exaggerate the discriminations that do exist in this country; was there?
Mr. ROSSER. Well, I would put it in another way: They weren't so much interested in the question of the Negroes in America at that time, but they were using America, heralded throughout the world as a land of democracy and freedom, and they were going to use these pictures to show the people in the Far East, the darker races, in India, on how the Negroes in America are treated and how can you trust America when they treat their own colored brothers this way.
It was to be a propaganda deal used throughout the world.
Mr. VELDE. Do you think by any stretch of the imagination that Soviet Russia was interested actually in liberating the Negroes or eliminating discrimination for the races in this country?
Mr. RossER. Would you say that again?
Mr. VELDE. Do you think that Soviet Russia's leaders were actually interested in liberating the Negro, as you mentioned a while ago, in the United States, or what was their chief interest?
Mr. ROSSER. Well, I will say this: In my teachings and understanding the Communist Party slogan of self-determination of the Negro in the Black Belt at the 1938 world congress of the Communist International, where they discussed thoroughly the American scene, they gave to the American people this slogan-it is a slogan of rebellion, à slogan to arouse the Negroes and confuse the Negroes and to try to use them to help, and they say it is a tactic during that period, a tactic of the Communist Party to create confusion and disunity so as to weaken America and to help bring about the real aim of the Communist
Party, and that is the proletarian revolution. Mr. SCHERER. In other words, the Communist Party wasn't sincerely interested in the problems in the Negro as such?
Mr. ROSSER. Oh, no.
Mr. DOYLE. Do you know whether or not that policy of the Communist Party has changed as far as the American Negro is concerned, or do they still use them for purposes of encouraging rebellion?
Mr. ROSSER. Well, the Communist Party policy on the Negro is tied up with the whole strategy of the Communist Party. It is just a part of it, and the policy of the Communist Party changes as conditions change.
On the Negro question, for example, during the 1930's when they said national liberation, and they called upon the Negroes to revolt, and they tried to organize and help them to revolt, during that stage the Communist Party position was that war was imminent. It would either be a war against the Soviet nion or a war between the capitalist nations, and in mobilizing and organizing the American people to fight against the war, the Negro population in America, the Negro Americans, were an important part, but they set them apart in order to try to create division, disunity, in order to weaken this country.
Their policy changes as the world situation changes. They fight for Negro rights, and the policy of the Communist Party of America is tied up with the defense of the Soviet Union. If things are running all right, the Communist Party makes partial demands for the Negroes; they take it easy. If things are going rough, and they think the Soviet Union is in danger, the Communist Party raises this slogan again of rebellion, trying to organize the Negroes to rebel.
Mr. DOYLE. That then is their present policy, the same as it was before?
Mr. RossER. They today are back to the slogan of national liberation of the Negro people, that they are an oppressed nation in America, and that they have a right to govern themselves, and that the only way they can do it is to smash the landlords, smash the plantation system, and set up in the South the Negro Soviet republic.
Mr. DOYLE. Did I understand your answer just then? You said the Communist Party to your knowledge plans to set up a Soviet republic in the South of Negroes?
Mr. ROSSER. That is what they told them. Of course they put a “but” there in the discussion in classes and groups of the top level of the Communist Party, and that is that the Negroes have a right to secede. That is the plan worked out by Stalin for the minorities in the Soviet Union, and they applied it to the American scene. They have a right to secede from the American nation once they had established a Soviet America. But this right is based on how the Communists feel—what is the situation in the world toward the Soviet Union. If seceding would weaken America, then the Communist Party members, Negro and white in the South, would vote against secession. If they thought it would strengthen America, then they would go along and secede.
But I will say this: In the ranks of the Communist Party there have been big discussions on this question, and the majority of the Negro Communists have opposed this and have accused the party of attempting to segregate the Negroes once the revolution is had and they have also accused them—said that if the Negroes would rebel in the South, the rest of this country, they would shoot them down like a bunch of dogs, so you can see it is a tactic of the party.
Mr. JACKSON. Mr. Rosser, to what extent do you believe that the doctrine of secession and rebellion was successful at that time among the great majority of American Negroes?
Mr. Rosser. Well, it was repudiated by the top leadership of the Negro community. The Negro community, the Negro press, came out and repudiated the whole deal, and the Negroes themselves during that time, they did not recruit too many Negroes into the Communist Party, and the Negroes saw through the whole deal. They saw that it was a maneuver of the Communist Party to infiltrate down into the Negro community to recruit and build the Communist Party.
Mr. JACKSON. About the use of the word “rebellion," what was your understanding as a functionary of the Communist Party? Did the term connote actual armed rebellion in your opinion? Was that what was taught?
Mr. ROSSER. Yes.
Mr. DOYLE. Apropos of that pertinent question by Mr. Jackson, I think you said that you taught from a book entitled “State and Revolution.” Did that book, published by the Communist Party, advocate revolution by force and violence ?
Mr. ROSSER. That is right. That is Lenin's development of the dictatorship of the proletariat, of the state.
Mr. DOYLE. Then part of your function was to teach that book by Mr. Lenin, that the time would come when it would be appropriate as part of the Soviet Communist scheme to have the American Negro use force and violence to help overthrow the constitutional government in this country; is that correct!
Mr. ROSSER. Well I wouldn't put it that way.
Mr. ROSSER. I would put it that the basic aim of the Communist Party in America during that period that I studied that was to prepare and organize-prepare the American working class and the American people to fight against the war and that the struggle of the Communist Party for Negro rights and for liberation of the Negro people was part of this overall program of the Communist Party at that time to foment a revolution and to create the situation where, if America went to war, they would carry out Lenin's teaching and turn the war into civil war and smash, if they could, the Government of the United States. This whole program that they presented to