Kelley shows that the cultural identities of these people from Alabama's farms, factories, mines, kitchens, and city streets shaped the development of the Party. The result was a remarkably resilient movement forged in a racist world that had little tolerance for radicals.In the South race pervaded virtually every aspect of Communist activity. And because the Party's call for voting rights, racial equality, equal wages for women, and land for landless farmers represented a fundamental challenge to the society and economy of the South, it is not surprising that Party organizers faced a constant wave of violence.
Kelley's analysis ranges broadly, examining such topics as the Party's challenge to black middle-class leadership; the social, ideological, and cultural roots of black working-class radicalism; Communist efforts to build alliances with Southern liberals; and the emergence of a left-wing, interracial youth movement. He closes with a discussion of the Alabama Communist Party's demise and its legacy for future civil rights activism.
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The American economy felt into a slump after the Crash of 1929 and continued at low levesl throughout the next decade. Alabama was part of the territory of the Old Southwest, to which American migration brought increased settlement leading to statehood in 1819. The Communist Party of the United States adhered to the Soviet communist line in world affairs while advocating social justice in America. Before the Great Depression, no accurate records of unemployment were kept, but the high levels of those years were probably unprecedented.