Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression

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Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression is a surviving branch of the old Communist Party USA front National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. It is connected also to the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

New leadership

A memorial was held, Nov. 11 2017, where friends, family, and comrades of Josephine Wyatt gathered to remember her 95 years of life and struggle.

Among the speeches about her life was a video from Angela Davis. Josephine had been tireless in the campaign to free Angela Davis and all political prisoners in the early 1970s. She was at the founding convention of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, which grew out of the struggle for Davis’ freedom in 1973. Josephine continued until her death to be a leader in the Chicago chapter, which became the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression when the national organization ended.

Josephine Wyatt was born in Georgia, and moved to Chicago in the 1940s, where she and her husband joined the Communist Party USA. A number of the speakers, including her son, spoke about the CP and her dedication to it. One of those speakers was Mark Durham, whose 98-year-old mother, Clarice Durham, also spoke about Josephine, her friend of many years. Clarice continues on the leadership body of the Chicago Alliance.

Josephine was so dedicated to the struggle for Black freedom that when the CP leadership under Gus Hall greatly de-emphasized the Black National Question in the late 1980s, she left the party and carried on the work in the Chicago Alliance. Years later, she recruited Frank Chapman to become active again in Chicago when he left the CP.

The emotional highpoint of the evening was an unexpected speak out from the new activists leading the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Called upon to share their thoughts about one of the founding revolutionary mothers of the movement, the result was spontaneous reflections and self-assessments by the new generation of leadership about the meaning of their work with the Alliance.

Each of them spoke of their convictions; each shared with the room the passion they have for this struggle, and for an end to the system of oppression. The measure of the success of the memorial was expressed in the depths of their feelings and thoughtful remarks.

Nataki Rhodes, an Alliance co-chair talked about her activist history, and the experience of police brutality aimed at her family, and how she got involved in the Alliance and became a leader. She said she “didn’t realize that she was walking in the footsteps of giants” until she learned of the legacy of strong, Black women like Josephine Wyatt, Charlene Mitchell, and Angela Davis that had gone before her.

Jeff Baker, also an Alliance co-chair spoke out. With his son present in the room, having himself become an active member of the Alliance in recent months, Jeff compared leading the Alliance with the sense of accomplishment and pride he feels about his relationship with his son. He said he considers himself to be part of the living legacy of Josephine Wyatt.

Brian Ragsdale, the Alliance treasurer, told those assembled, that having been an academic, battling against institutional racism, he decided to put his beliefs and his desire to fight for Black people into practice. Joining the Alliance was finding the purpose that he was seeking, and a fulfillment that he didn’t think was possible.

Jazmine Salas, co-chair of the Stop Police Crimes organizing committee said her dedication to the work of the Alliance comes from knowing that her Puerto Rican people suffer at the hands of the police just like the Black community. Organizing the movement against police crimes is in the interests of both peoples.

Finally, Jeffrey Baker, son of Jeff Baker, was moved to read excerpts from the poem, What Will Your Legacy Be? by Margaret Burroughs, a lifelong comrade of Josephine. The poem was a favorite of Jose-phine’s, and over the decades, she often posed the question to her descendants.[1]

Leaders

As of December 2014;

Executive Committee

Steering Committee

Organizing Committee to Stop Police Crimes (includes Steering Committee)

"Salute to Outstanding Women of Struggle" Oct. 24, 1981

The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression CAARPR, an affiliate of the CPUSA front, NAARPR, held a "Salute to Outstanding Women of Struggle" at a banquet on October 24, 1981 (PDW, Oct. 29, 1981, 'Women of struggle' honored, by Charles Wilson.

"Over 200 supporters attended the salute, held here (i.e. Chicago) Saturday, October 24, at the Americana Congress Hotel."

  • Dr. Sandra E. Lowe - was mistress of ceremonies. "A leading Chicago psychologist, Dr. Lowe is chairperson of the {CAARPR) and an executive board member for the National Alliance (NAARPR)."
  • Toni Morrison - featured on the program was Toni Morrison, author of four novels, including "Tar Baby" and {Song of Solomon), and winner of the 1978 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Ms. Morrison is currently senior editor at [{Random House]] publishers and served as editor of Angela Davis's autobiography. "Ms. Morrison spoke about the decision by some 3,000 writers at the recent [{Writers Congress]] (i.e. probably the soon-to-be American Writers Congress) to form a writers union in response to 'finding the situation in this country so awful, so terrible, so destructive of the future, and so destructive of the past.'"

"The awards presentations to the Board of Outstanding Women were made by:

The recipients were:

Committees of Correspondence Connection

In 1994 NAARPR, Chicago was listed on a "Membership, Subscription and Mailing List" for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence, an offshoot of the Communist Party USA.[3].

Most Chicago National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression activists are also members of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

2008 awards

The National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression's Human Rights Awards Dinner was held on Saturday, October 13, 2008, at the Lutheran School of Theology, 1100 E. 55th St, Chicago. The keynote speaker was Cynthia McKinney. Howard Morgan and Rosalind Morgan, Gloria Johnson-Ester, Virginia Clements, Dr. Connie Mennella, and Mary Muse were recipients of the Alliance's Human Rights Award.[4]

2009 awards

On April 18 2009 the Chicago branch of National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, a front first for the Communist Party USA, latterly for the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, awarded several local activists its highest honour.

According to a report from the Communist Party USA's People's Weekly World[5].

Human Rights awards were granted to honorees at the event whose work includes ending the death penalty, overturning wrongful convictions, the fight against racism and efforts to help victims of the prison industrial complex.

The honorees included;

Patricia Hill, executive director of the African American Police League; Jane Raley, senior staff attorney with the Northwestern Law School; Judith Stuart, an anti-prison activist, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, retired Pastor with the Trinity United Church of Christ; and Karen Yarbrough, Illinois state representative.

Dr. Barbara Ransby, a professor in the African American Studies Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, emceed the award ceremony.

2010 awards

Democratic Socialists of America member Timuel Black received the Human Rights Award from the Chicago branch of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at their annual Dinner. The organization also honored Charlene Mitchell, Mark Clements, and Bernardine Dohrn. Professor Gerald Horne was the keynote speaker.[6]

Personnel

NAARPR Chicago Branch Steering Committee, as of 2009:[7]

Volunteers:

Practicum Students:

External links

References