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50 years of Workers World

Published Feb 1, 2008 11:36 PM

Editor’s note: Workers World is in its 50th year of publication. Throughout the year, we intend to share with our readers some of the paper’s content over the past half century. The two articles below about Rob Williams, Mae Mallory and the struggle of Black people for self-determination were originally published in 1962, in Volume 4. The first article appeared in the issue dated Jan. 29, the second on Oct. 26.

Robert F. Williams organizes for self-defense

Workers World
Jan. 29, 1962

Robert F. Williams was given a rousing, thunderous ovation at the People’s Conference which opened in Havana on Jan. 22. He was introduced by Nicolás Guillén, the prominent Cuban Revolutionary poet. Guillén warmly embraced Williams. It was a demonstration of solidarity between the Cuban people and the aspirations of the 20 million black people of North America, who are struggling for freedom.

The People’s Conference in Havana opened almost at the same time as the OAS meeting in Punta del Este. Washington seemed to have its ears attuned to the goings on at the Havana conference. The sight of the most prominent fighter for the liberation of the black people in this country receiving such wholehearted support at this important gathering in Cuba must have made State Department officials squirm.

Robert Williams, editor and publisher of the Monroe, N.C., weekly The Crusader, is in exile in Cuba.

He was forced to flee with his family for his life. The FBI—instead of coming to his rescue from the lynch mob—conducted a nationwide search to hunt him down and frame him on a phony kidnapping charge.

Rob Williams’ only crime was his determination and courage to organize Afro-Americans against racist oppression in this country. In Monroe, N.C., he built an armed defense guard of his people that had the Klan on the run.

That is the real reason he was framed and forced to seek asylum in Cuba, temporarily. His followers in Monroe—also harassed, hounded and framed by federal authorities as well as local—have maintained their organization, their militancy and their defense guards.

In the first article which Williams wrote for The Crusader since his exile, following the mob attack on the black people of Monroe last August, he vowed to return to the land where he was born “but which never has been home.”

Williams broadcasts over Radio Havana every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 p.m.

After one year of hell Mae Mallory is still a champion

Workers World
Oct. 26, 1962

By A.T. Simpson

Black Freedom Fighter Mae Mallory, temporarily deserting her desolate and dingy jail cell—which has been the only home she has had for the past seven months and will be until no one can say how long—came over to the visiting screen as the matron called her up and thus began her weekly talks with her many visitors, myself included.

Her visitors that day consisted of an assortment of Black and white individuals from many walks of life—as I was told, “This has been a common occurrence on her visiting days.” Among the visitors were a college student, a nurse, a steelworker, a common laborer, an unemployed college graduate; most of them members of the Monroe Defense Committee—the committee which is dramatically leading her fight against extradition.

She did not merely listen to what they had to say. She talked enthusiastically to all of them, discussing her situation in jail, the problems of the day and of the committee and the practical matters it had in fighting on her behalf.

Travesty of justice

Not one of them could recall a greater Black woman of our time in this epoch of capitalist degeneration who has endured so much hell in these United States and who still manages a gay smile and a lively conversation with all of those who came to see her. Nor could they even recall another present-day woman fighter who has been caught up in such a glaring travesty of justice as she.

Mae Mallory continued to talk with her visitors and answered their questions about the plight of the Black man in the United States and she put the point of view of self-determination for her people directly before them—a point of view that many are finding out about today.

“We are colonials in the country which colonized us,” she commented to me when it came my turn at the visiting screen. “We were originally brought here as a labor force. Now we are no longer needed as laborers. ... Something’s got to happen to us. Perhaps they are going to suggest extermination next.”

Won’t be intimidated

“Certainly America should have gained from the many lessons of the world that the Black man will no longer be intimidated by the presence of ‘white skin,’ and we are going to work towards the solving of our own problems without any paternalism whatsoever.”

All of this is strikingly consistent with this courageous Black woman; a woman who, since her confinement in a country which has given her few privileges, has had the opportunity of being a careful observer of many things relating to the plight of her people, a victim of the land of discrimination and segregation, where, as she very correctly puts it:

“A Black man has never been acquitted when accused of a crime against a white man, and a white man has never been convicted when accused of a crime against a Black man.”

Bogus charge

It has been more than a year now since the struggle broke out in Monroe, N.C., where Mrs. Mallory is falsely charged of a bogus kidnap issue and she has been militantly holding off extradition from Ohio there to face this phony indictment. But as a fighting Black woman, Mae Mallory has been in the struggle for freedom all of her life.

This 35-year-old factory worker, once a dressmaker, hospital worker, housewife, maid and mother of two children has been gallantly commanding a mighty fortress, courageously defending the honor of Black womanhood and taking a firm stand against the racist terrorists of both the North and the South. And this is being done even in spite of the fact that when this fugitive from Southern so-called “justice” fled to Ohio last October seeking protection in the state, the governor of the state abruptly ordered her arrest and he along with the Ohio courts said that the woman has to go back to the Klan country to stand trial.

Fighting Black woman in hell

Truly, it can be said that revolt and rebellion against the racist status quo are quick in the blood of the “fighting Black woman in hell,” and it is no wonder, then, that she answered the clarion call for help from the dynamic Robert Williams and rushed down to assist him in his valiant fight against the lynch-hungry terrorist cut-throats of Monroe, N.C.

In New York City, which is Mrs. Mallory’s home, she fought militantly for desegregated schools and opposed the welfare authorities when they mistreated relief recipients. She took an active part in the historic U.N. protest demonstration which was organized into a dramatic world-shaking event by Afro-Americans after the brutal murder of Patrice Lumumba.

And even while in jail, Mae Mallory is leading a significant battle against the treatment of herself and her fellow inmates.

Mae still champ

As one of her visitors puts it: “Yes, Mae is still our champion and a bold and militant fighter even while she is catching hell in a dingy jailhouse cell.” And hell it is.

For it is significant to point out that at this very moment when hundreds of federal troops have been placed in Mississippi to protect one single Black student (tokenism at its best), this Black mother awaits her fate alone—unprotected by Governor DiSalle, or his boss Jack [Kennedy], or Jack’s middle brother Bobby, who could alone give her all the protection she needs.