Red Scare Racism and Cold War Black Radicalism
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Describing the ways anticommunism impaired the struggle for civil rights, James Zeigler reconstructs how Red Scare rhetoric during the Cold War assisted the black freedom struggle's demands for equal rights but labeled ""un-American"" calls for reparations. To track the power of this volatile discourse, Zeigler investigates how radical black artists and intellectuals managed to answer anticommunism with critiques of Cold War culture. Stubbornly addressed to an American public schooled in Red Scare hyperbole, black radicalism insisted that antiracist politics require a leftist critique of capitalism.
Zeigler examines publicity campaigns against Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s alleged Communist Party loyalties and the import of the Cold War in his oratory. He documents a Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored anthology of ex-Communist testimonials. He takes on the protest essays of Richard Wright and C. L. R. James, as well as Frank Marshall Davis's leftist journalism. The uncanny return of Red Scare invective in reaction to President Obama's election further substantiates anticommunism's lasting rhetorical power as Zeigler discusses conspiracy theories that claim Davis groomed President Obama to become a secret Communist. Long after playing a role in the demise of Jim Crow, the Cold War Red Scare still contributes to the persistence of racism in America.