The American Peace Mobilization was determined to keep conscription from becoming Law. Blaring ceaselessly, ?Peace! Peace! Peace!?indeed a laudable objective in a world without Hitlerhundreds of demonstrations were sparked. Using such fancy
descriptions as ?People?s Rally for Peace? and the ?Emergency Peace Mobilization Rally,? Congressman Vito Marcantonio and Paul Robeson cried, ?Keep America out of war? ?Defend America by protecting civil liberties,? and ?Mobilize for peace.?
From these rallies the American Peace Mobilization drew supporters and headlines. But the real enemy, the Communists yelled, was Congress. Gathering in the corridors of the Capitol on September 3 and 4, 1940, the ?peace? lobbyists angrily protested against conscription in any manner. . .
( pages 74-5 )
Paul Robeson . . . shouted at the Communist-inspired World Congress of the Partisans of Peace in Paris on April 20, 1949, ?It is unthinkable that American Negroes, or Negroes anywhere, would go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against a country which in one generation has raised our people to the full dignity of mankind.?
When Robeson returned to the United States, he followed this exhortation up with further gibes, all intended to make crystal-clear that the Negroes? loyalty belonged to the Kremlin, and it alone. On
June 19 a ?Welcome Home? rally was held in his honor at Rockland Palace, One Hundred Fifty-fifth Street and Eighth Avenue, in New York City. He and several other speakers chose this occasion to berate the colored people for lacking ?rebellious spirit.? He reiterated the statement he had made in Paris two months previously. Robensonism was becoming the blood brother of Communism; his voice was no longer that of a great singer but rather that of the Kremlin.
Fortunately, Robeson did not wear the mantle of leadership of the colored people in America or anywhere else. Yet his statements inflicted cruel blows upon the fifteen million Negroes in this country whom he publicly disgraced. So shocking was his performance that loyal American Negroes, including the renowned Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers, rushed to exonerate their race by repudiating Robeson in no uncertain terms.
A reputable survey made to test the impact of the Robeson outbursts, however, showed that irreparable damage had been done. Tests in seven large cities revealed that no fewer than half of the persons queried were under the impression that the Negro population of the United States was inclined towards Communism, and that it would be disloyal in the event of a future war involving this country.
Robeson?s romance with Communist Russia dates from 1936. On many occasions, he had mouthed Communist words with the same enthusiasm as at Paris. For example, Thomas W. Young, manager of the guide Publishing Company testified before the Committee on Un-American Activities that Robeson had made the following statement at a smoker in his honor on October 10, 1947; ?If this country ever went to war against Russia and my son took up arms to fight against Russia, he would no longer be my son.?
Against this incendiary background Robeson announced a concert to be given on Saturday, August 27, 1949, at a Peekskill picnic grove.
( pages 203-4 )