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Black RevolutionaryWilliam Patterson and the Globalization of the African American Freedom Struggle$

Gerald Horne

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037924

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037924.001.0001

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Fighting Back

Fighting Back

(p.173) 12 Fighting Back
Black Revolutionary

Gerald Horne

University of Illinois Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Patterson's struggles in reaching the international community. Thanks to Morris Childs, the FBI reported gleefully that “Party leaders have advised [Patterson] that he is not authorized to represent the CPUSA in discussions abroad.” This was not only a stiff rebuke to one of the CP's leaders with probably the most extensive background in global affairs stretching over decades, it was also a rebuff to an African American leader, who was basically instructed to steer clear of that which had been a most potent ally for his people for centuries—the weight of the international community. This was even more unfortunate because Patterson was still negotiating with Eastern European leaders, seeking to forge business ties with Negro entrepreneurs. Moreover, he had gone further and “asked members of the Czechoslovakian diplomatic corps in the United States for funds for Negro work in the United States.” Thus, blocking Patterson's influence abroad was a real victory for the FBI faction.

Keywords:   international community, Morris Childs, African American leader, Negro entrepreneurs, Negro work

It should have been an unremittingly delightful moment for William Patterson. He departed the United States on March 13, 1960, headed to Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the Soviet Union, and China. In these difficult times, it was a monumental victory to gain a passport. When he applied for this document, the FBI stated the obvious: “In view of the subject’s position and prominence in the Communist Party, this matter should be given preferred attention.”1 The CP leader Elizabeth Gurley Flynn evidently thought that Patterson would not receive a passport because of lingering resentment of the genocide campaign, a prognostication that proved surprisingly faulty.2

However, thanks to Morris Childs and those presumably not part of his FBI faction who were persuaded by him (which were at times indistinguishable), the FBI reported gleefully that “Party leaders have advised [Patterson] that he is not authorized to represent the CPUSA in discussions abroad.” This was not only a stiff rebuke to one of the CP’s leaders with probably the most extensive background in global affairs stretching over decades, it was also a rebuff to an African American leader, who was basically instructed to steer clear of that which had been a most potent ally for his people for centuries—the weight of the international community.3

This was even more unfortunate because Patterson was still negotiating with Eastern European leaders, seeking to forge business ties with Negro entrepreneurs. Moreover, he had gone further—as the FBI knew—and “asked members of the Czechoslovakian diplomatic corps in the United States for funds for Negro work in the United States.”4 As African nations were surging to independence, the possibility for material aid from these forces was also emerging. In late 1958 Patterson was in the process of conferring with a leader of what was soon to be the government of Cameroon, a man who apparently had close ties in China, where Patterson was now scheduled for a visit.5 Thus, blocking Patterson’s influence abroad was a real victory for the FBI faction, made all the more ironic when months before Patterson’s departure, Childs returned from Moscow and, said (p.174) the FBI, “stated that he had the opportunity to speak with many comrades from other countries.”6 Perhaps Patterson should not have taken it personally; even William Weinstone, a comrade with a lengthy record of service to the CP, was blocked by Childs from reaching out to Moscow.7 Interestingly, Childs prevented Weinstone from raising in Moscow concerns about treatment of Soviet Jewry.8

Childs played unsuspecting Communists like a finely wrought bass fiddle. Claude Lightfoot, a leading Negro comrade from Chicago, told him “in strict confidence”—according to the FBI—that Patterson had “given some people the impression that he was going to [Prague] merely for a rest and a vacation, actually he was going with plans and proposals to submit to the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia,” including “how to get money from [Prague] in order to carry on propaganda work among the Negroes in the United States” and “to induce [comrades there] to call a Latin American Congress” on the plight of U.S. Negroes and Africans.9 It seemed that Patterson also had in mind—or so thought the FBI—“plans for an international campaign charging mistreatment of children in the U.S.,” with a focus on school-desegregation confrontations along the lines of Little Rock. The Latin American gathering was a revival of his long held idea of a “Bandung” for the Americas, targeting “racist practices and policy of American imperialism” along with pressing the Eastern Europeans to establish African institutes for study of the continent and placing U.S. Negroes in high-level posts in such organizations as the Women’s International Democratic Federation so that a “program that will attract Negro women of the USA” could be more readily developed. Of course, these revelations buoyed Childs’s preexisting idea to ensure that the brief Patterson carried abroad was exceedingly limited and constricting—though Dennis and Hall agreed to instruct Childs to provide Patterson with six hundred dollars for expenses “from the sums received by the CP … from abroad.”10

Patterson had continued to pursue these proposals with various U.N. agencies, though at one CP meeting, it was decided that the man then known as Hunter Pitts O’Dell—who under the name Jack O’Dell would go on to become a top aide to Dr. King—would replace Patterson as the chief liaison with these Eastern European forces.11 This occurred, according to the FBI, when Patterson was “called in by the top brass” of the CP and “told ‘to lay off the business enterprises.’” As a “result of Patterson’s ‘pushing at the embassies,’” his attorney, Milton Friedman, had “obtained a $15,000 retainer from Hungary,” part of which apparently went to Patterson and part to The Worker. It was agreed that Childs should try to “confer regarding this situation.”12 The FBI reported further that Eugene Dennis “was also heard to tell Patterson that if he had to discuss these matters, he should only discuss them with Morris Childs.” The various deals also involved “importing of motorized scooters from Hungary to the United States,” which—apparently—Patterson thought had an “excellent chance of becoming a (p.175) big business concern.” However, he was “primarily interested in donations to The Worker or the Communist Party.”13

But Patterson was checkmated. Gus Hall nominated Childs as Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the CP, and he was “elected unanimously” to what was deemed to be—quite conveniently—a “committee of one.”14

Pressing on, Patterson counseled extensive foreign exchanges with Negro colleges, artists, entrepreneurs, and the like, along with “travel opportunities” for all, not least since it could allay the nagging suspicion in this community—cultivated in the United States—that “white racism” was not unique to Washington but was a veritable global norm among the melanin deficient, irrespective of nationality. The “Eastern People’s Republics and progressive Asian countries” should employ a “Negro [law] firm,” he urged, and should provide generous “retainers.” He suggested that a firm headed by himself be “established at once.”15 Patterson, said the FBI, was reviving his idea to “determine if a Negro could get an agency for sending parcels to Russia or engage in foreign trade with the Russians”—but inertia and the FBI faction insured that this did not occur.16

This idea of one CP seeking support from another, in any case, was quite common and viewed as yet another example of “proletarian solidarity.” At this same time, Cheddi Jagan of what became the nation of Guyana was soliciting Patterson—via Ferdinand Smith of Jamaica—for funds. “I am not against” this, Patterson replied.17

Despite Childs’s energetic efforts, the fact was that in his many sojourns abroad, Patterson had made many friends, and simply because he was barred from conducting business on behalf of the CP did not mean that he was barred from renewing old acquaintances. Thus, while in China he conferred with leading members of the Communist party there, some of whom he had encountered during the height of the genocide campaign in the early 1950s. He arrived at a propitious moment, for PRC-USSR relations had plummeted, in part because of the Stalin devaluation—to which China objected. This tailspin contributed to an encirclement of the Soviets, which ultimately played a crucial role in the crisis in Moscow that decades later was to lead to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Part of the dispute also concerned—ostensibly—Moscow’s promulgation of “peaceful coexistence” with the imperialist camp, to which a number of Chinese leaders took strong exception on the grounds that it glossed over the fundamental concept of class struggle.18 Patterson also thought that China’s absence from the United Nations and its isolation generally contributed to the imbalance in relations between the two socialist giants—the rebel province, Taiwan, was to hold this seat for decades until China’s entente with the United States years later. However, he did detect in his consultations an indication that China was not as convinced as the Soviet Union as to how the core concept of preventing World War III would occur.19

(p.176) But even here Patterson—and the CP—were handicapped. When William Z. Foster, the top party leader, sought to pass on a message to Mao Zedong (Foster said that he knew the Chinese leader was “busy” but “would like him to read it carefully”), it was Childs who was given this important assignment—which was like asking Benedict Arnold to be the intermediary with George Washington.20

Initially, Patterson sought to straddle the emerging differences between Moscow and Peking, perhaps sensing that heightened tensions between the two could spell doom for the entire socialist project. Moreover, Patterson was of the view that “the giant leap of the Chinese people into history under the leadership of Communists and Communism has filled the racists of the world with paroxysms of fear,” an opinion that shaped his overall view of the two nations’ conflict.21

Patterson did not manage to escape controversy during his lengthy sojourn, for his stay in Moscow happened to coincide with a major diplomatic incident when the U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers was placed on trial after his spy plane was brought down. Patterson spoke on television in Moscow, where the FBI recorded him as saying that Powers was lucky, for he might have been the victim of a lynch mob if he were a different color and had landed in certain areas of the United States instead.22 “Patterson stressed that the prosecution had every reason to demand a death penalty,” it was reported, which did not improve this radical’s image in Washington.23 “I have just left the last session in the historic trial of Francis Gary Powers,” Patterson informed readers of the Afro-American in September 1960, as he praised “how magnanimously … the Soviet people dealt with this man”—in stark contrast to the “terrible [in]justice of the Scottsboro case.”24

Earlier, Patterson had smoothed the path for Du Bois’s visit to Moscow, a step toward his joining the CP himself in 1961.25 When Du Bois did make this momentous announcement, Patterson provided the opinion that this “would not invite prosecution by the U.S. government,” for “there is not an African in the United Nations … who would stand for that; and … prosecuting a man of his age would bring down the wrath of the Negro press.”26

This reported Patterson opinion pointed to something else: though it is true that Communists like Patterson were under siege within and without during this period, harassed, subjected to pervasive surveillance, investigated, subpoenaed, and indicted, the reality was that they were not bereft of weapons, since the odious Jim Crow kept Washington on the defensive, not least among African nations coming to independence. As one comrade of Dwight Eisenhower confided, “The single most important development in Soviet Cold War planning for the encirclement of the North American continent is the emergence of the American Negro as an agent of the Kremlin for the conquest of Africa.” It was thought that “Negro Communist agents have been infiltrating existing Negro organizations in this country and setting up other front organizations.” Supposedly, these agents were “achieving a certain amount of success” because of the “current American (p.177) Negro schizophrenia, one part loyal American despite the pushing around he has received but also another part feeling his Negro oats” and a “third part pride in the emergence of black Africa.” It was felt that “stirrings” in Angola were “being financed by U.S. Negro money”—ditto for Mozambique—with South Africa next. “I think that Adam Clayton Powell,” it was reported, “will emerge as an important you-know-what in the woodpile”—all of which was “explosive and Orwellian.”27

During his extensive tour abroad, Patterson did little to dissuade Eisenhower’s comrade of his own “explosive” viewpoint. While in London, he conferred with Claudia Jones, the Trinidad-born former U.S. Communist leader, recently deported and rapidly becoming a leader of that metropolis’s rapidly growing population of African descent. She informed him that her valiant efforts had been subsidized by Robeson, though his pecuniary strength was still ebbing. They met with Egyptian exiles, who were quite concerned that pressure on their homeland had not abated—and perhaps had increased—since London’s (and France’s and Israel’s) spectacular inability to oust its leadership. He conferred with British CP leaders and attorneys about the possibility of bringing the question of U.S. Negroes to the International Court of Justice. While in France he lunched with the Communist leader Jacques Duclos, whose reproach of U.S. comrades in 1944 had led directly to the ouster of Earl Browder. Generously, Duclos assigned a number of French comrades to work with Patterson on his various campaigns, including internationalizing the plight of U.S. Negroes and freedom for the jailed Communist leader Henry Winston. A similar agenda unfolded in Prague and Moscow. In addition, Patterson conferred with a substantial number of Chinese comrades residing in Russia. There—and elsewhere—he also broached the matter of more teaching of Negro history; predictably, this was received favorably, along with the corollary notion of reprinting more material from the Negro press. Naturally, he met with the numerous African students then flocking to Eastern Europe, thirty-two from Guinea in Prague alone.28

Patterson also renewed old acquaintances during this journey—one personal, the other political, with the latter piquing the interest of the U.S. authorities. He met with his two daughters while in the Soviet Union, who he thought had perished during World War II; and while in France he spoke at length and amiably with the former Chicago-based novelist Richard Wright—who died shortly thereafter under mysterious circumstances.29 On a happier note, Patterson was elated to find that his daughters were both happily married with children.30

A major purpose of Patterson’s journey was to mobilize support for the freeing of Winston, and the publicity he generated about this heart-rending case ultimately led to Winston’s release. The U.S. legation in Paris forwarded to the FBI an article from the widely circulated French Communist newspaper that welcomed Patterson as “Defender of the Scottsboro Negroes,” who “arrived in Paris to tell us: Winston is in danger!” Winston, it was said, “is a Communist and he is colored. These are two unpardonable crimes in the United States,” a nation (p.178) that even non-Communists viewed with acute skepticism.31 The press in Prague had a similar reaction to Winston’s plight.32 Assuredly, such activism was hardly embraced—or ignored—by the U.S. authorities. According to the FBI, while in France Patterson was told by a member of the cabinet that Paris had been asked to facilitate the seizing of his passport. In turn, Patterson told U.S. representatives there to “go to hell” when they contacted him.33

Then in Moscow, the FBI believed that Patterson met with the Chinese ambassador, who invited him to Peking. Patterson accepted the invitation, staying almost two months. Patterson then, said the agency, “spoke in glowing terms of the situation in Red China,” all of which was in violation of “passport instructions”34 and, perhaps, worthy of indictment and providing further evidence—if any were needed—that the now elderly Communist remained unready to make his peace with Washington. Retaliation was not long in arriving. Upon his return home, he faced yet another hearing with the Subversive Activities Control Board, demanding that he register as a Communist—and suffer the consequences of same.35

Washington had its hands full, in any case, wrestling with an emerging massive anti–Jim Crow movement while Patterson was traipsing across Europe and Asia preaching to all who would listen that it was precisely Jim Crow that discredited the former slaveholders’ republic. Upon his return, Patterson was in touch with various African leaders, seeking to direct their students to the Soviet Union instead of the United States.36 This proposal also included gaining the right of U.S. Negro students to attend university in Moscow and more opportunities for “Negro Marxists” to travel in Europe and Asia.37

Upon his return, Patterson remained in the midst of tumultuous events. When Robert Williams of the NAACP in North Carolina came under fire in 1961 at the behest of the local authorities, causing him to flee to socialist Cuba, the FBI overheard him informing Ben Davis about the “white mobs” who were “shooting into” his house. Patterson “had received the story” from a source on the scene, and Patterson and Davis quickly moved to mobilize forces to “call or send telegrams to the [Department of Justice] demanding he get protection.”38

This charged episode was reflective of the reality that Patterson’s extended time abroad was designed in the first place to generate support for the cause that had animated his existence since the 1920s—the anti–Jim Crow crusade. Often accompanied by Davis, Patterson was continuing to confer on the trajectory of this movement. For example, they met in the spring of 1961 to “discuss”—as the FBI put it—“the coming conventions of three mass organizations,”39 the NAACP, the Negro American Labor Council, and the Negro Baptists, Dr. King’s base of support. Patterson was to be continually disappointed with the NAACP, whose leadership was under enormous pressure, most notably in Dixie, and whose national leadership—particularly Roy Wilkins—had yet to forget the 1930s disputes over Scottsboro. Wilkins once told a national audience about how he had engaged (p.179) in “many a joust” with the man he referred to familiarly as “Ben” (i.e. Davis), “an able and amiable fellow, as he sat in NAACP conventions.”40 He could have said the same about Patterson—except that their relations had become progressively testy. After the NAACP’s 1959 convention, Patterson told CP leaders that this mass organization “did not meet its responsibility and ideologically took a step backward.”41

Repeatedly, Davis and Patterson contemplated what the former referred to as “the stymie by the NAACP … should the Party quarrel with them or try to get around them in another way.”42 Ultimately, the rise of Dr. King’s movement—which was decidedly less anticommunist than the NAACP—effectively answered this question.

The FBI thought that the CP was “extremely influential in the Executive Board” of organized Negro trade unionists in New York, which included the anticommunist labor leader A. Philip Randolph—who refused to respond to Patterson’s entreaties.43 As time passed, Patterson’s opinion of Randolph dropped precipitously; he eventually concluded that the “tragic turning point” for this leader was the 1920s, when he turned decisively against both the CP and Moscow, as the authorities objected strenuously to his own increasingly diluted professed socialist beliefs.44

A clandestinely gathered report of a Communist meeting revealed that Patterson—perhaps thinking of Wilkins and Randolph—felt that the “greatest weakness in the Negro struggle is the weakness of leadership.” He proposed that the CP should confer with “white workers and leaders and give them an idea of how to fight and form a united front,” a reflection of his perception that it was easier for the NAACP to look to the U.S. elite for support than those in the working class of a different ancestry—which weakened the working class as a whole and the Negro struggle.45 The oft-touted “Negro-labor alliance,” which the CP often hailed as the locomotive of progress, was not realizing its full potential, since labor—with a few conspicuous exceptions, such as the stevedores’ union on the West Coast—“had not played a [meaningful] role in the Negro liberation movement.”46 As for the NAACP leadership, Patterson was quoted as objecting to their slogan of “integration” and opting instead for “complete equality.”47

As time passed, Patterson had come to feel ever more strongly that the NAACP had mishandled a rare opportunity to push back against Jim Crow, since the U.S. ruling elite was under tremendous pressure to retreat from this compromising front in the 1950s. By opting for anticommunism, the association had not strengthened the struggle against domestic apartheid. Even during the waning days of the CRC, the NAACP chose—as one leader put it—“to throw down the gauntlet” and attack this weakened organization.48 The attorney Herbert Simmons of Los Angeles, who was friendly with Patterson, was considered by the association as one of a number of “Communist suspects”49 as a result of an organized protest emerging against this skilled lawyer’s candidacy for NAACP leadership.50

(p.180) Even after the CRC disappeared, the NAACP continued its aggressively anti-communist policy, actually physically removing alleged Communists from meetings, including Doxey Wilkerson, one of the most sophisticated intellectuals in the anti–Jim Crow circle.51 A donation from Ben Davis was returned promptly and curtly—and then trumpeted widely.52 “Please get some sense,” one unnamed supporter asserted. “You have outlawed like Uncle Sam the best brains we have like our founder W. E. B. Du Bois, et al.”53 But the NAACP leadership felt that it had little choice.

NAACP leaders were under tremendous pressure from the right wing, who were threatening to impose a CRC-style liquidation upon them unless they complied. The glaring spotlight was on the affluent and prominent attorney-businessman Earl Dickerson,54 who had personal ties to Patterson55 and political ties with the NAACP, making him an attractive target. The FBI thought that Dickerson was actually a member of the party,56 while subsequently it was charged that he was all too close to the similarly affluent Dr. Carleton Goodlett,57 who was also a leading publisher and also close to Patterson. The NAACP could hardly afford to shun the few affluent Negroes who had managed to survive, simply because they were scorned as friends of Patterson, but that is precisely the direction in which they were moving.

Despite the strenuous efforts of detractors, there remained an informal CP caucus within the NAACP, and they met in March 1963—and were monitored by the FBI. They thought that they had evaded the authorities by convening at the Henry Hudson Hotel in Manhattan—not CP headquarters—but this proved to be wishful thinking. Patterson was present, along with Ben Davis, Claude Lightfoot, Ted Bassett, and others. Patterson set the tone when he argued that just as Moscow in the United Nations had pushed an anticolonial resolution—“unanimously adopted”—domestic Communists should follow in these footsteps. At the United Nations there was a “time limit after which there would be no colonialism,” and Jim Crow should be subjected to a similar time constraint—and a “possible suit against these [Jim Crow] states under Article 4, Section 4, and under the 14th Amendment … drafted in such a way as to have international significance.” Patterson also stated that he would “like to bring the genocide issue up to date, reintroduce it, and use this issue as a possible solution to the plight of the Negro in America.”58 But like so many initiatives during this era, this one failed to gain the support of the NAACP leadership.

With his mass base in the CRC forced out of existence, Patterson operated mostly as an “out-of-the-closet” Communist, which increased pressure on figures like Dickerson and Goodlett—and in response, the NAACP—to have no dealings with him. This was not easy, since those subjected to Jim Crow were not necessarily in a mood to accommodate those who were the guardians of this system of hatred. Still, the anti–Jim Crow movement, propelled—though often unacknowledged by participants—by global currents, often deluded itself (p.181) into thinking that its herculean efforts alone accounted for its recent good fortune. When the Soviet leadership arrived in the United States in the fall of 1959, Patterson reprimanded Negro leaders “when they failed to insist that the State Department arrange a special meeting for them.” The “Negro people have lost much as a result,” he proclaimed. Patterson realized that support from U.S. elites—as reflected in the 1954 high-court decision that inaugurated this new era of struggle—was neither a sturdy nor reliable base of support. Strikingly, at the same time as the Negro newspaper in Arkansas operated by the heroic Daisy Bates was undergoing far-reaching financial difficulties,59 so was the CP’s own organ—a reflection of a U.S. movement that was enduring searching difficulties at a time when headlines seemed to suggest otherwise.60

What to do? Linking the U.S. movement to anticolonialism seemed to offer a way out.61 After returning from his journey to Europe and China. Patterson began spending more time at the United Nations—1960 was the “year of Africa,” as previously colonized nations surged to independence, and he sought to have this struggle take advantage of the Negro movement’s successes, and vice versa.62

He joined the issue on the promising ground of linked opposition to Jim Crow and colonialism’s troubled legacy. Returning from his journey abroad and energized and at a time when the United Nations was convening at a propitiously fortuitous moment, Patterson informed Davis, Lightfoot, and other Negro Communist leaders that these were “the most important weeks in the history of our time.” The CP and its allies should “protest the treatment of the Negro delegates to the United Nations, in their hotels and other eating places.” The route from Washington to New York was infamously pockmarked with Jim Crow, and as merchants often had difficulty distinguishing between African potentates and African Americans, it provided a confluence of circumstance for a victory against Jim Crow, as U.S. rulers were reluctant to alienate Africans further by barring them as they would domestic Negroes. If this bias did not cease, Patterson insisted, then the United Nations—and its millions in spending poured into Gotham—should be moved to another country.63 By early 1961, Patterson and Davis were exulting after Davis joined many others at an unruly demonstration at the United Nations after the murder of Congo’s Patrice Lumumba; it led to Harlemites congratulating his gumption, said Davis, while Patterson rushed to discuss following up on this development.64 This portentous development emerged in the wake of another—the heralded journey of the newly installed Cuban leader Fidel Castro to Harlem, leading to further exultation by Ben Davis about this notorious event.65

Thus, at a secretly recorded CP gathering, Patterson was heard to say that they should seek to link the struggles of the United States and Africa in an “all-class struggle”: “I … believe there is nobody more fit in [the] Party for this work than myself. I can make my greatest contribution to the Party, not as Party leader, but moving around to such cities as Baltimore, Chicago, and Pittsburgh,”66 akin to the role he played during his—and the CP’s—greatest successes, the Scottsboro, (p.182) Willie McGee, and similar campaigns. The record does not reveal if the FBI faction blocked this proposal too, though it did not seem to meet with enthusiasm.

With the momentum brought by anticolonialism and a growing spate of anti–Jim Crow demonstrations, Patterson had good reason to believe that the racism that undergirded the right wing was eroding—providing momentum for the CP. In late 1963, Ben Davis brought back heartening news from Detroit—news that the FBI, which was monitoring him relentlessly, did not find encouraging. Dr. King was in Detroit too, and there the Rev. C. L. Franklin, a prominent pastor and father of the increasingly popular chanteuse Aretha Franklin, told one and all, “We must consult with all groups politically, including the Muslims and Communists.” Franklin punctuated his controversial remarks by adding that “he had the greatest respect for Ben Davis.” Davis said that King’s top aide, the Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, “said the same thing,” and when they spoke at this heavily monitored gathering, “he threw his arm around me and said Reverend King often mentioned me.” With understatement, Patterson said in response that “Ben’s report … poses a number of complex problems”—not the least of which was how to aid the anti–Jim Crow cause without compromising its most progressive figures.67

J. Edgar Hoover was not as impressed, charging that the “Negro situation is being exploited fully and continuously by Communists on a national scale,” with the finger pointed not only at Dr. King and his ties to Jack O’ Dell but to Du Bois as well.68 It is unclear if Hoover was aware of Patterson’s facilitation of O’Dell’s contemporaneous journey to Moscow, but surely the FBI would have been keenly interested in receiving the former CRC leader’s letter to the Soviet Union introducing his friend as “a figure of great importance as an ideologist of the Negro liberation movement” and requesting that he be extended every courtesy during his sojourn.69

Nevertheless, by early 1962, Patterson, the aging Communist, perhaps because of the strain induced by travel and stress-filled hearings, acknowledged that he was too ill to continue his full responsibilities as Communist cadre but took only a minor step back by relinquishing some of his duties but continuing as leader of the CP’s largest and most influential district, that of New York State.70 Certainly, the continuing travails he had to endure were not conducive to good health. That same year, 1962, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and the Subversive Activities Control Board continued to pursue him vigorously.71 At this late date, he was still being pursued about the CRC, too.72 In 1963, Patterson and Davis were among fourteen CP leaders being hounded by the federal authorities.73

Firing back, Patterson took to the pages of the Afro-American to denounce those same authorities for their failure to protect civil rights protesters in the Deep South from attacks by racists,74 while energetically pursuing senior citizens like himself. Yet, the fact remained that at a time of intense activism, as Jim Crow’s steady decline was accelerating, the membership of the CP was dwindling. This was a “profoundly alarming weakness,” said Patterson, speaking of the “weakness (p.183) of our position among the Negro masses”—but why would Negroes rush to join an organization under siege, riddled by a FBI faction? Thus, in the early 1960s he recalled a time when “we could count more than a thousand Negroes in our party, today the number is less than a hundred” in the state of New York. “In Harlem we have been reduced to half that number,” while “movements such as the Muslims have sprung up out of the frustrations of black men and women at the failure of white men and women.” He knew that the ruling elite could not “save American capitalism from itself except by making concessions to the Negro people seeking thereby to make them a force upon which American imperialism can depend for support in the decisive battles which it confronts.” In other words, the ruling class could now make more attractive offers to Negroes than Communists could, and the forces that had driven the promising attorney William Patterson into the embrace of the CP in the 1920s had been eroded.75

Unsurprisingly, Patterson was still sparring with Morris Childs: at a meeting in early 1963, the leader of the FBI faction returned from Communist congresses in Sofia, Rome, and Prague with the news that the recently concluded showdown over Cuba in the fall of 1962—when the planet came close to nuclear destruction—featured the United States coordinating with China, as the latter seized the opportunity to wage war on Moscow’s closest non-Communist ally, India.76 Stirring the pot of controversy, Childs reported with seeming enthusiasm on conflicts between Moscow and Peking, exacerbated by the Soviet Union reportedly blinking during the showdown over Cuba. At this meeting, where Patterson was present, the informant noted that the leadership “formally and unanimously approved the thesis which had been presented by [Gus] Hall and Childs. Yet, the discussions that followed thereafter were full of contradictions.”77

The CP felt compelled to opine—if not intervene—on such fraught international matters because, as Ben Davis put it, “other parties look upon the opinion of the CPUSA second only to those of the CPSU because the CPUSA is from the land of imperialism and is therefore closer to most of the facts.”78 Yet, once again, with Childs in the driver’s seat of their international operations, the CP allowed a domestic infestation to spread worldwide, as Childs had succeeded in muddying the waters of a complex issue.

In the meantime, Patterson had passed the landmark age of seventy, headed toward his twilight. His birthday was marked by Communists worldwide,79 while at home “Langston” saluted him.80 Internal foes carped that he was “getting old and could not get around to organize things as in the past.”81

Still, the hosanna from Hughes was emblematic of Patterson’s dilemma at a time when the Jim Crow and colonialism that had defined most of his life were under severe strain. For shortly thereafter, Langston Hughes was being discussed at the White House, with concern expressed about some of his radical ties. A congressman had questioned why he was present at a luncheon hosted by President John F. Kennedy for the visiting Senegalese leader Leopold Senghor. “He (p.184) was invited at President Senghor’s request,” it was said, since he “was responsible for translating the works” of this founding father of the philosophy of Negritude “into English.”82 This also reflected Washington’s dilemma, now forced to curry favor with African leaders in the throes of decolonization, where once they might have been ignored, which often brought U.S. rulers into uncomfortable contact with those on the domestic scene they too would have preferred to ignore—if not indict.

Though it was reported in 1965 that the CP had “only 10,000 members,” a downfall “from perhaps 100,000 in the 1930s,”83 the authorities had not initiated a ceasefire. Indeed, in a report circulated in the White House, the FBI concluded that the “racial unrest” then buffeting the nation was the outcome of a “determined concentration of communist efforts.” Singled out was Dr. King, who—it was reported—“has used the Communists and in turn has been used by them in an alliance that could have serious consequences both for the Negro movement and this nation.” “In King’s rise to national prominence [he] has been closely allied with Communists,” particularly Jack O’ Dell. There was “reluctance” on Dr. King’s part, it was said, “to discontinue his association with O’Dell.”84

One New York daily journal argued that “rarely in its checkered history has the party been so bold” as it was in the period leading up to this report’s drafting.85 The Los Angeles Times editorialized that there was “no doubt that in the last quarter-century the Communist approach to the Negro has grown in sophistication.”86 It was in this context that the New York Times speculated that Patterson was on the verge of becoming party chairman.87

It was also in this context that the leading Negro journal in New York City asked, “Does the Negro owe the Communist Party a debt of loyalty simply because the Communist Party … decided that it would be advantageous to support the Negro’s fight against segregation and discrimination?” Patterson replied simply that the Negro did not necessarily owe the CP in the way the query was framed—but the Negro owed it to herself and himself and the nation to ally with the party.88

Now past seventy and with his best days behind him, Patterson still had to confront virtually perpetual surveillance of his every move and a meddling state apparatus that would not hesitate to place him behind bars—or worse—until he expired. Because his spouse was able to find work, his personal financial situation was not desperate, though it was constrained. Then there was the matter of their daughter, Mary Lou. Writing from prison in late 1954, Patterson fretted about his offspring: “I hope she doesn’t begin to draw away from you and me,” he informed her mother. “It is not easy for a child. She seems very solid but you can’t tell what goes on in a young one’s mind when the problems are so abstract. For her the ideals for which we struggle have not yet crystallized in concrete form. … [N]o one is there to answer the questions which loom large at an early age and truly are large.”89 For her part, his daughter admitted that during this turbulent era, (p.185) she felt conflicted—at once proud of her parents, yet dreading being “found out” by schoolmates who would wish to inflict “public denunciation” and “rejection” upon her because of her parents’ beliefs. Her high-school teacher did not help matters by calling her “Little Stalin.” Along with her parents, she always marched in May Day and Labor Day manifestations, and she would “avoid looking at the faces of angry bystanders,” while “trying to dodge the rotten eggs and tomatoes and epithets.” Like her father, she too faced surveillance—the cook at her summer camp in Vermont was an informer for the FBI. Her situation was not improved when her father’s family, which was “god fearing … excommunicated him.” (She “irregularly” attended a Baptist church.) Her father, she said, “knew of my fears and respected my dilemma”; in any case, her plight was not as awful as others, since Patterson was “widely known outside the [CP] because of his involvement in mass protest.” Thus, “perhaps because of this broad base, he wasn’t as viciously or publicly hounded” as other CP leaders. She recalled “fun” at CP headquarters on Twenty-sixth Street, a “solid and impressive red brick townhouse” with a “rickety old self-service elevator, big enough for two, with a folding wrought-iron gate. The winding marble stairway had a highly polished dark wooden banister.”90

At the end of the day, she may have gained an advantage in being the daughter of a controversial father when Patterson arranged for Mary Lou—she “made wonderful grades,”91 said the proud father—to matriculate in Moscow, a step on her way to becoming a pediatrician. She was the “first Black medical graduate from a Soviet Union university,” said the beaming papa, a breakthrough made all the more resonant since the school was “named for a great African leader,” Patrice Lumumba of Congo.92 Soon thereafter, the elated father announced that she was wedding a Cuban national, Roberto Camacho, in Moscow.93

The maturation and marriage of his daughter was enthralling, but Patterson had little time to savor this heartwarming episode, given the press of events. Jim Crow was under assault, along with colonialism, while Moscow-Washington relations had become ever more complicated. Though CP membership had declined, it was still viewed by the FBI as a combative antagonist; thus, in 1964, the FBI sought to destabilize Patterson via a “counterintelligence action exposing Patterson’s one-sided approach to discrimination”—reference was made to his condemnation of “racist and discriminatory practices in the United States” and his alleged reticence concerning bias in the Soviet Union. “Consider circulation of anonymous documents within the Communist Party” to indict him was the recommendation, a maneuver that the FBI faction led by Childs would no doubt have enjoyed.94 Evidently not cowed, Patterson continued his rhetorical barrage against the right wing, dismissing acidulously the GOP standard bearer for president, Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, in 1964 with the words, “in essence, Goldwaterism is a brand of Nazism or fascism.”95

As if this enhanced campaign of discrediting were insufficient to shake Patterson’s usually rock-solid demeanor, another blow was struck when his closest (p.186) comrade at the highest level of the CP—Ben Davis—died prematurely in his early sixties. What Harlem’s leading Negro newspaper said of Davis could have been said of Patterson: “[He] carved a place for himself in the hearts of Harlem’s ordinary folk.” Throngs stood quietly and respectfully outside of Unity Funeral Home in Harlem. Some sat atop parked cars, resting their chins on their hands, listening in silence, while others cascaded into the streets, overflowing the sidewalks, arms folded stolidly across their chests. Masses surged at the door to enter the chapel to view Davis’s remains but were blocked by a detail of police. Then, when the crowds espied Paul Robeson—along with Patterson, the remaining giant of these men trained in the nation’s best law schools (Columbia for Robeson, Harvard for Davis) who tossed away the possibility of accumulating fortune in pursuit of socialist revolution—they surged toward him, as if he were now the living embodiment of their hopes and dreams. They expended their unspent emotions on the now graying Robeson—and Patterson, as ever, was nearby. It was left to Patterson to handle the arrangements for the funeral, which was not simple, since political considerations led to the service being switched at the last minute from a Harlem church.96

Not long after joining Robeson in the burial of their comrade, Patterson planned to jet to West Africa. Decades earlier he had vowed to expatriate there, driven by disgust with Jim Crow, but a timely conversation in London obviated this. Now he was arriving in Ghana in more providential circumstances. Nkrumah, whose ties to the U.S. left congealed during his college days a few decades ago, was now ruling independent Ghana and had helped to bring W. E. B. Du Bois, now a Communist, and his spouse, Shirley Graham Du Bois, who had been and probably was still a member, to the country. It now seemed that another front had been opened in the battle against Jim Crow, this time in the ancestral homeland of U.S. Negroes. The trend did not escape the irked attention of the pugnacious J. Edgar Hoover: his view was that the CP “is of the opinion that Patterson, who has many contacts with African leaders, including Kwame Nkrumah … might be able to have these African leaders exert influence on the Americans in Africa and prevent them from forming a pro-Chinese core.”97

This was a reflection of the deepening Sino-Soviet split that was to eventuate in a world-shaking U.S.-China entente a few years later, but Hoover no doubt knew that in journeying to the motherland, Patterson was more intent on rallying forces against Jim Crow and colonialism than anything else.

Health and related considerations forced Patterson to change his plans. The airline on which he departed advised the FBI that at 8:00 P.M. on November 4, 1964, he left New York for London with plans to go from there to Moscow,98 where he spent a month hospitalized. He was given examinations and treatment, and, like his analogous medical journey there in the 1930s, the impecunious Patterson (he was then on the CP payroll to the tune of a meager $22.50 per week) was fortunate to be able to take advantage of this proletarian largesse.99 (“Being in a (p.187) poor man’s business,” he once said, “where you are paid only if the revolution is successful, I must await the final victory before settling my bills.”)100 The medics also recommended that he postpone his visit to Ghana.101 Though spending a considerable amount of time with the faculty at the University of Leningrad and students and faculty at Moscow University, Patterson reported upon his return that he felt “physically stronger.”102 However, Patterson’s weight was felt nonetheless in Accra as he began writing for newspapers there; this “famed U.S. jurist,” as he was termed, praised “socialism in Romania.”103

By the mid-1960s, Patterson had far surpassed the life expectancy of the typical African American man, though he had lived a life that was hardly stress-free. When the Australian Bert Klesing encountered him at a hotel in Moscow in May 1965, he was fooled: “I had summed you up. About 55, I thought, or maybe even 60.”104 The saying was that the “movement keeps you young,” and Patterson, with his sprightly stride and still fiery oratory, was a walking advertisement for this slogan.

Nonetheless, bedeviled by external foes and internal ones, too (though, like most, he could not confirm that Morris Childs and his followers were actually in the pay of the FBI, only that they acted like it), and beset by a small income, he was still able to wield influence, not least because he was buoyed by the reality that the balance of forces had shifted decisively in favor of his twin causes: anti–Jim Crow and anticolonialism. Both had enjoyed major victories with the passage of civil-rights legislation and the independence of African states too numerous to mention. Still, in a sense, the years to follow, which marked the rise of the Black Panther party and the campaign to free Angela Davis, could well be considered the highlight of his political career. (p.188)


(1.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 13 August 1958, 100-39-331, 100-84275, 100-39, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(2.) FBI Report, 5 January 1959, 100-123825-6807, 100-80641, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(3.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 15 April 1960, 100-133884, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(4.) SAC-Chicago to FBI Director, 27 February 1960, 100-23825-8749; FBI Report, 27 January 1960, 100-23825-8546, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(5.) FBI Report, 2 February 1959, 100-23825-6816, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(6.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 24 April 1959, 100-23825-7313, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(7.) SAC-Chicago to FBI Director, 25 May 1959, 100-23825-7496, 100-33729, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(8.) SAC-Chicago to FBI Director, 1 June 1959, 100-23825-7539, 100-3-81, 100-33729, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(9.) SAC-Chicago to FBI Director, 21 January 1960, 100-84275, 100-39, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File. (p.269)

(10.) FBI Report, 29 April 1960, 100-39-276, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(11.) SAC-Chicago to FBI Director, 15 June 1959, 100-3-102, 100-23825-7624, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(12.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 8 June 1959, 100-23825-7575, 100-3-102, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(13.) FBI Report, 24 June 1959, 100-39-352, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(14.) SAC-New York to FBI Director, 17 May 1960, 100-23825-9156, 100-80641, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(15.) Memorandum by William Patterson, ca. 1957, box 16, folder 28, William Patterson Papers.

(16.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 2 October 1957, 100-84275-2999, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(17.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 18 February 1960, 100-39-364 (includes letter from Smith to Patterson, 19 January 1960 and Patterson’s reply); FBI Report, 28 November 1958, 100-39-338, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File. On July 14, 1958, an informant asserted that Patterson told Moscow that payment for three thousand copies of the CPUSA newspaper would amount to $13,250.

(18.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 23 September 1960, 100-23825-9554, 100-3-69-8004, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(19.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 22 September 1960, 100-23825-9544, 100-3-69, 100-80641, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(20.) SAC–New York to SAC-Chicago, 16 October 1959, 100-23825-8067, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(21.) William Patterson, “A Raisin in the Sun: A Critique,” n.d. [ca. 1960], box 12, folder 18, William Patterson Papers.

(22.) SAC-Chicago to FBI Director, 20 September 1960, 105-87346, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(23.) FBI Report, Tass [Moscow], 19 August 1960, 100-39-3835, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File. See also William Patterson to “Dear Friends,” January 1961, box 2, folder 18, William Patterson Papers: “We attended the spy trial of the pilot shot down in American U-2 plane over Soviet territory. …”

(24.) Baltimore Afro-American, 10 September 1960.

(25.) “Top Secret” Report, 22 September 1958, 100-1203, 100-39, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(26.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 20 November 1961, 100-20789 (“original copy filed in 100-99729-188”), Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(27.) C. D. Jackson to “Dear Harry,” 16 February 1962, box 69, C. D. Jackson Papers, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, Kans.

(28.) FBI Report, 7 November 1960, 100-23825-9680, 100-12485, Ben Davis FBI/FOIA File.

(29.) FBI Report, 10 October 1960, 100-23825-9663, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(30.) FBI Report, 12 October 1960, 100-23825-9627, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(31.) L’Humanite, 21 March 1960, FBI Report, 24 March 1960, 100-39-373, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(32.) Article by William Patterson from Prague press, 18 May 1960, box 10, folder 19, William Patterson Papers. Patterson had long served as chairman of the committee to free Winston and his comrade, Gil Green. See Letter, November 1957, box 245, J. B. Matthews Papers, Duke University.

(33.) J. Edgar Hoover to Office of Security, Department of State, 20 July 1961, 100-39-400, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File. (p.270)

(34.) SAC-Albany to FBI Director, 11 July 1961, 100-18478, 100-39-394, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(35.) SAC–New York to J. Edgar Hoover, 9 October 1962, 100-372598, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(36.) SAC to FBI Director, 21 February 1961, 100-39-394, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(37.) FBI Report, 4 October 1960, 100-23825-9589, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(38.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 2 August 1961, 100-23825-10491, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(39.) FBI Report, 25 April 1961, 101-23825-10174, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(40.) Roy Wilkins, “Stalin’s Greatest Defeat,” American Magazine 152.6 (December 1951): 21, 107–10, 108, box II A68, Folder 6, NAACP Papers.

(41.) SAC–New York to SAC–Los Angeles, 26 August 1959, 100-23825-7868, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(42.) FBI Report, 10 April 1959, 100-23825-7328, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(43.) SAC-Chicago to FBI Director, 19 August 1962, 100-23825-11927, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(44.) Daily World, 26 May 1973.

(45.) SAC–New York to SAC-Baltimore, 7 November 1960, 100-23825-9680, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(46.) SAC-Albany to FBI Director, 28–29 August 1959, 100-28825-8004, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(47.) FBI Report, 8 December 1959, 100-23825-8261, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(48.) Lester Bailey to Roy Wilkins, Gloster Current, and Franklin Williams, 21 November 1956, carton 71, folder 31, NAACP Papers, University of California, Berkeley.

(49.) File on “Communist Suspects,” 1960, carton 71, folder 31, NAACP Papers, University of California, Berkeley.

(50.) Report, n.d., carton 71, folder 31: “We the undersigned protest your candidacy [because] you either are or were one of the attorneys for the Civil Rights Congress.”

(51.) Walter Kirschenbaum, director of public relations, Jewish Labor Committee, to Roy Wilkins, 7 March 1956, Group III, box A74, NAACP Papers. On Capitol Hill, in a session addressed by Senator Herbert Lehman, “The one and only person to approach us at the door without a badge was a reporter for Jewish Life, a magazine officially connected with the Communist Party. … [O]n Sunday afternoon at the Willard, I spotted Howard Johnson of the Communist Party Negro Commission. … [H]e was escorted from the hall. … [H]e later approached me in the lobby, as I told several of the union people later on, and threatened me in front of other people with political reprisals (which I took as the funniest thing I have heard in a long time) for keeping ‘progressives from attending this great liberation movement of the Negro people.’ We stopped a few other people, as you probably know, including Doxey Wilkerson, from entering the main hall on Monday and the church on Sunday.” Ultimately, Wilkerson joined Patterson and others in helping Cheddi Jagan establish the University of Guyana. See William Patterson to George Murphy, 21 February 1963, box 53, George Murphy Papers, Howard University.

(52.) Press Release, 14 November 1957, Group III, box A76a, NAACP Papers.

(53.) Letter from unidentified correspondent, 7 November 1957, Group III, box A76a, NAACP Papers.

(54.) Testimony of J. B. Matthews on “Communism and the NAACP,” 10 February 1958, Group III, Box A 76a, NAACP Papers. (p.271)

(55.) William Patterson to Earl Dickerson, 25 March 1955, box 16, folder 25, William Patterson Papers. Dickerson also served on the board of the CRC in Illinois. See List of Board of Directors, 10 July 1946, box 8, folder 12, Matt Crawford Papers, Emory University.

(56.) SAC-Chicago to FBI Director, 5 May 1955, 100-3299, box 154, National Lawyers Guild Papers, New York University.

(57.) FBI Report, 20 July 1965, 100-45805-87, box 154, National Lawyers Guild Papers, New York University.

(58.) FBI Report, 16 March 1963, 100-23825-12520, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(59.) The Worker, 3 January 1960.

(60.) The Worker, 25 October 1959. See also Report by William Patterson, 28 March 1959, 100-123825-7338, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(61.) William Patterson to P. L. Prattis, 9 January 1958, box 11, folder 9, P. L. Prattis Papers, Howard University.

(62.) FBI Report, 28 November 1960, 100-23825-9746, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(63.) FBI Report, 12 October 1960, 100-23825-9627, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(64.) FBI Report, 23 February 1961, 100-23825-5, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(65.) FBI Report, 25 September 1960, 100-23825-5, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(66.) FBI Report, 4 November 1960, 100-23825-9693, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(67.) FBI Report, 18 November 1963, 100-23825-13236, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(68.) “A Documented Exposé of … Communist Agitation and Racial Turmoil: What Is Behind the ‘Civil Rights’ Revolution?” 1963, University of Kansas, Lawrence. For more on the ties between O’Dell, Davis, and King, see Let’s Quit Kidding Ourselves about “Civil Rights”! The “Civil Rights” Movement Is Basically a Communist-Inspired Program for Communizing the United States (Anderson, Ind.: American Opinion Library, n.d.), University of Kansas, Lawrence.

(69.) William Patterson to Nina Popova, Friendship House, Moscow, n.d., box 3, folder 14, William Patterson Papers.

(70.) SAC–New York to J. Edgar Hoover, 9 October 1962, 100-102320, 100-372598. See also Frank S. Meyer, The Moulding of Communists: The Training of the Communist Cadre (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1961); W. Cleon Skousen, The Politics of Struggle: The Communist Front and Political Warfare (Chicago: Regnery, 1966).

(71.) Robert F. Kennedy and SACB v. William Patterson, 1962, Docket No. I-4-62, box 4, folder 18, William Patterson Papers.

(72.) Testimony of William Patterson, 25 January and 14 February 1962, Part II, Reel 27, Records of the Subversive Activities Control Board, NARA-CP.

(73.) Report of the Attorney General to the President and the Congress of the United States with respect to the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950, as amended, 1 June 1963, box 5, Robert F. Kennedy Senate Papers, 1964 Campaign, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

(74.) Baltimore Afro-American, 30 December 1961.

(75.) Statement by William Patterson, ca. 1963, box 20, folder 1, William Patterson Papers.

(76.) FBI Report, 15 January 1963, 100-23825-12403, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(77.) FBI Report, 17 January 1963, 100-23825-12298, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(78.) FBI Report, 9 December 1962, 100-23825-12236, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(79.) Messages on seventieth birthday, August 1961, box 1, folder 1, William Patterson Papers. (p.272)

(80.) “Langston” to “Pat,” n.d., box 1, folder 1, William Patterson Papers. In the same folder, see also William Patterson to “Dear Lang,” 28 September 1961.

(81.) FBI Report, 22 January 1963, 100-23825-12290, Ben Davis/FBI/FOIA File.

(82.) Lawrence F. O’Brien to Congressman James A. Haley, 22 February 19, box 695, Subject File, White House Central Files, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

(83.) Philadelphia Bulletin, 16 November 1965.

(84.) FBI Report, “Communism and the Negro Movement—A Critical Analysis,” 27 November 1965, Office Files of Mildred Stegall, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, Austin, Tex.

(85.) New York Journal American, 18 June 1964.

(86.) Los Angeles Times, 1 September 1964.

(87.) New York Times, 26 September 1964.

(88.) New York Amsterdam News, 2 March 1964.

(89.) William Patterson to Louise Patterson, 4 December 1954, box 5, folder 3, William Patterson Papers.

(90.) Mary Lou Patterson, “Black and Red All Over,” in Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left, ed. Judy Kaplan and Linn Shapiro (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 110–15, 111–13. See also Kim Chernin, In My Mother’s House: A Daughter’s Story (New York: Harper and Row, 1984).

(91.) William Patterson to “Dear Rockwell,” 5 September 1961, box 2, folder 18, William Patterson Papers.

(92.) William Patterson to George Murphy, 25 November 1969, box 53, George Murphy Papers, Howard University.

(93.) Wedding announcement, 12 October 1961, box 53, George Murphy Papers, Howard University.

(94.) SAC–New York to FBI Director, 16 April 1964 (“Original filed in 100-3-104-34-688,” Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(95.) Baltimore Afro-American, 17 October 1964.

(96.) New York Amsterdam News, 5 September 1964.

(97.) FBI Report, 20 October 1964, 100-3-81-101-6, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(98.) FBI Report, 5 November 1964, 100-39, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(99.) FBI Report, 11 February 1965, 100-84275, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(100.) William Patterson to George Murphy, 3 February 1967, box 53, George Murphy Papers, Howard University.

(101.) FBI Report, 13 August 1965, 100-39-480, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(102.) FBI Report, 13 August 1965, 100-84275, 100-39, Patterson/FBI/FOIA File.

(103.) Gerald Horne, Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 187; Ghanaian Times, 30 December 1964.

(104.) Bert Klesing to William Patterson, 5 May 1967, box 1, folder 2, William Patterson Papers.