Introduction
RECOVERING THE RADICAL
BLACK FEMALE SUBJECT
Anti-Imperialism, Feminism, and Activism
Your Honor, there are a few things I wish to say! . . .
I say these things not with any idea that what I say will influence your
sentence of me. For even with all the power your Honor holds, how can
you decide to mete out justice for the only act [to] which I proudly plead
guilty, and one, moreover, which by your own rulings constitutes no
crime—that of holding Communist ideas; of being a member and officer
of the Communist Party of the United States?
—CLAUDIA JONES, FROM ‘‘SPEECH TO THE COURT, FEBRUARY 2, 1953’’
TStates,
he only black woman among communists tried in the United
sentenced for crimes against the state, incarcerated,
and then deported, Claudia Jones seems to have simply disap-
peared from major consideration in a range of histories. The
motivating questions for my study have arisen principally from
this situation. How could someone who had lived in the United
States from the age of eight, who had been so central to black and
communist political organizing throughout the 1930s and 1940s,
up to the mid-1950s, simply disappear? How could such a popu-
lar public figure, an active journalist and public speaker, a close
friend of Paul and Eslanda Goode Robeson, a housemate of
Lorraine Hansberry, mentored by W. E. B. Du Bois, remain
outside of major consideration? How could someone who was so
central to Caribbean diaspora community organizing abroad, the
Previous Page Next Page