Skip to main content

Who Were The Scottsboro Nine?

Alice George Smithsonian Magazine
The young black men served a combined total of 130 years for a crime they never committed. Through Scottsboro we find America’s tortured racial past is not so past. We can find the seeds of inspiration, and strategies for liberation or racial justice

Left History - Gil Green: Mensch and Mentor

Michael Myerson Monthly Review
The politics Gil fought for in 1934 informed his entire life. For the thirty years following his release from prison, Gil argued against the sectarianism of the Communist Party. Countless times he said, “You can’t have a united front with yourself..

books

Whitewashing the Great Depression

Sarah Boxes The Atlantic
The preeminent photographic record of the period excluded people of color from the nation’s self-image. This collective portrait contributed to the misbegotten idea, still current, that the soul of America, the real American type, is rural and white

books

More Americans Supported Hitler Than You May Think

Lily Rothman Time
Here is a review of a new history of the pro-Nazi movement in the United States in the years before World War II. That movement was far more popular than many people know.

theater

Lillian Hellman’s Days to Come

Jane LaTour ZNet
The great mystery to me, is why the play was a failure. Originally it ran for only 3 days, and then closed. Hellman was responding to an all-too-common ethical dilemma that persists down to today. Her own sympathies lay with the striking workers.

A Subversive Bull: Robert Lawson and The Story of Ferdinand

Philip Kennedy Illustration Chronicles
Published by Viking Press in 1936, the release of Ferdinand came during the era of the Great Depression. That year also saw the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. In light of these events, Ferdinand started to take on a much greater significance. Ferdinand, the bull presented a Spanish character who stood out from society and refused to fight. Those who supported the violent uprising that was led by Francisco Franco viewed it as pacifist propaganda and they banned its publication.

John Steinbeck, The Dust Bowl, and Farm-Worker Organizing

Harry Targ Portside
John Steinbeck was one of the most prolific and, in my view, significant American novelists of the twentieth century. He was influenced by and synthesized his own politics and personal experience with the political culture and movements of the 1930s.

books

A Novelist Revisits a Deadly Textile Union Strike From 1929

Amy Rowland New York Times
A novel set in the context of the historic Gastonia strike of textile workers in 1929 and featuring labor songwriter and indigenous strike leader Ella May Wiggins, the book, based as it is on an actual struggle uniting black and white workers, speaks to contemporary concerns through a vivid portrayal of struggle against historical injustice.

How Paul Robeson Found His Political Voice in the Welsh Valleys

Jeff Sparrow The Guardian
Paul Robeson - African American singer, movie star, Broadway actor, freedom fighter and socialist -built his singing career in the teeth of racism in the early 1900s. But his radicalism was spurred on in Britain - by a chance meeting with a group of Welsh miners.
Subscribe to 1930s