New York: [Communist Party USA], 1947. First Edition, First Printing.
Single-page typed letter and two-page mimeographed petition, printed on rectos only. Each page 8 1/2 x 11 inches (215 x 280 mm).
A rare typed letter, SIGNED in ink, by Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Roscoe Dungee, asking recipients to sign a petition against banning the Communist Party USA. The three African-American leaders sprang into action after President Truman's Labor Secretary, Lewis B. Schwellenbach, told Congress that the Communist Party should be outlawed. Schwellenbach was concerned about Communist control and infiltration of labor unions and thought no Communist should be allowed to lead a union.
The letter is dated March 22, 1947, and carries the address of 23 West 26th Street, New York (the Communist Party's headquarters at the time). The letter is aimed at African-American recipients: "This invitation [to sign the petition] is also being sent to several hundred other Negro leaders throughout the country."
According to the letter, "It is clear that Labor Secretary Schwellenbach's proposal to suppress the Communist Party involves a flagrant negation of our constitutional Bill of Rights. It represents, therefore, a serious threat to the civil liberties of all minority groups." The authors urge recipients to mail back a postal reply card confirming they would sign the petition. The card is not present, probably because it was mailed back to the Communist Party.
The petition, addressed to the President and Congress, urges them to reject Schwellenbach's "fascist-like proposal" to ban the Communist Party. Although the Party was not banned, the U.S. government regularly harassed and imprisoned its leaders in the 1940s and '50s.
No other copies in commerce as of November 2020. Nor do we locate any institutional holdings in OCLC. RARE. Item #1474
CONDITION: Pages lightly creased for mailing, staple on petition badly rusted. A Very Good set.