This chapter analyzes Patterson's remark that “today the oppressed Negro people is seeking integration,” and that “the Negro people are an oppressed nation.” These remarks reflect a bitter internal party struggle that stretched from mid-1944 to mid-1945, leaving in its wake a momentous shift on the much discussed Negro Question, involving a retreat from the Black Belt line of self-determination, presumably since the Negroes were “seeking integration.” This complex and painful debate in mid-1945 was to result in the reinstatement of the old line—then another shift in 1956 in the aftermath of the conniptions caused by the invasion of Hungary and the revelations about Stalin's crimes. All the while, Patterson and his comrades continued grinding away against Jim Crow, though it was understandable that some thought their efforts had been sidetracked by abstruse polemics.
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