Communist Party USA and African Americans

The Communist Party USA, ideologically committed to foster a socialist revolution in the United States, played a significant role in defending the civil rights of African Americans during its most influential years of the 1930s and 1940s. In that period, the African-American population was still concentrated in the South, where it was largely disenfranchised, excluded from the political system, and oppressed under Jim Crow laws.

By 1940, nearly 1.5 million African Americans had migrated out of the South to northern and midwestern cities and become urbanized, but they were often met with discrimination, especially among working-class ethnic whites with whom they competed for jobs and housing. The labor struggle continued, and many unions discriminated against black people. Additional migration of another 5 million African Americans out of the South continued during and after World War II, with many going to West Coast cities, where the defense industry had expanded dramatically and offered jobs.


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