angelo herndon

Angelo Herndon. Black communist charged with ‘insurrection’ for leading a march of thousands of unemployed people at the steps of the court house in Atlanta, GA July 1932. He served two years before being released, facing charges again by the U.S. Supreme Court, which were dropped.

Know the origin of the 'insurrection’ law in GA?

That’s right. Slave rebellions.

Kids Who Die

This is for the kids who die,
Black and white,
For kids will die certainly.
The old and rich will live on awhile,
As always,
Eating blood and gold,
Letting kids die.

Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi
Organizing sharecroppers.
Kids will die in the streets of Chicago
Organizing workers.
Kids will die in the orange groves of California
Telling others to get together.
Whites and Filipinos,
Negroes and Mexicans,
All kinds of kids will die
Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment,
And a lousy peace.

Of course, the wise and the learned
Who pen editorials in the papers,
And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names,
White and black,
Who make surveys and write books,
Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die,
And the sleazy courts,
And the bribe-reaching police,
And the blood-loving generals,
And the money-loving preachers
Will all raise their hands against the kids who die,
Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets
To frighten the people —
For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people-

And the old and rich don’t want the people
To taste the iron of the kids who die,
Don’t want the people to get wise to their own power,
To believe an Angelo Herndon, or ever get together.

Listen, kids who die —
Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you
Except in our hearts.
Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp,
Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field,
Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Liebknecht,
But the day will come —
You are sure yourselves that it is coming—
When the marching feet of the masses
Will raise for you a living monument of love,
And joy, and laughter,
And black hands and white hands clasped as one,
And a song that reaches the sky—
The song of the new life triumphant
Through the kids who die.

–Langston Hughes

I said: “You may do what you will with Angelo Herndon. You may indict him. You may put him in jail. But there will come thousands of Angelo Hemdons. If you really want to do anything about the case, you must go out and indict the social system. But this you will not do; for your role is to defend the system under which the toiling masses are robbed and oppressed.

"You may succeed in killing one, two, even a score of working-class organizers. But you cannot kill the working class.”

—  You Cannot Kill the Working Class, by Angelo Herndon (1937)

This is for the kids who die,
Black and white,
For kids will die certainly.
The old and rich will live on awhile,
As always,
Eating blood and gold,
Letting kids die.

Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi
Organizing sharecroppers
Kids will die in the streets of Chicago
Organizing workers
Kids will die in the orange groves of California
Telling others to get together
Whites and Filipinos,
Negroes and Mexicans,
All kinds of kids will die
Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment
And a lousy peace.

Of course, the wise and the learned
Who pen editorials in the papers,
And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names
White and black,
Who make surveys and write books
Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die,
And the sleazy courts,
And the bribe-reaching police,
And the blood-loving generals,
And the money-loving preachers
Will all raise their hands against the kids who die,
Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets
To frighten the people—
For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people—
And the old and rich don’t want the people
To taste the iron of the kids who die,
Don’t want the people to get wise to their own power,
To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together

Listen, kids who die—
Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you
Except in our hearts
Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp
Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field,
Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht

But the day will come—
You are sure yourselves that it is coming—
When the marching feet of the masses
Will raise for you a living monument of love,
And joy, and laughter,
And black hands and white hands clasped as one,
And a song that reaches the sky—
The song of the life triumphant
Through the kids who die.

~Langston Hughes

From the cradle onward, the Southern white boy and girl are told that they are better than Negroes, Their birth certificates are tagged “white”; they sit in white schools, play in white parks and live on white streets. They pray in white churches, and when they die they are buried in white cemeteries. Everywhere before them are signs: “For White.” “For Colored.” They are taught that Negroes are thieves, and murderers, and rapists.

I remember especially one white worker, a carpenter, who was one of the first people I talked to in Atlanta. He was very friendly to me. He came to me one day and said that he agreed with the program, but something was holding him back from joining the Unemployment Council.

“What’s that, Jim?” I asked. Really, though, I didn’t have to ask. I knew the South, and I could guess.

“Well, I just don’t figure that white folks and Negroes should mix together,” he said. “It won’t never do to organize them in one body.”

I said: “Look here, Jim. You know that the carpenters and all the other workers get a darn sight less pay for the same work ini the South than they do in other parts. Did you ever figure out why?”

He hadn’t.

—  You Cannot Kill the Working Class, by Angelo Herndon (1937)