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
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
Williams broadcasts over Radio Havana every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9
After one year of hell Mae Mallory is still a champion
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
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
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.”
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
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
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Support independent news DONATE