National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners

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The National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners (NCDPP) was an organization founded in June 1931 as an accompaniment to the International Labor Defense, led by the Communist Party of the United States of America.[1] The NCDPP was originally called the Emergency Committee for Southern Political Prisoners (ECSPP).[2]

Goals[edit]

The Committee aimed to "aid workers [to] organize and defend themselves against terror and suppression",[3] and was described as an "'invading body' whose mission is to enter the Kentucky coal-fields, 'inform the American public of what is going on' and 'persuade officials [...] to a more equitable course of action'."[4]

The organization was influential in defending civil liberties, such as the Scottsboro Boys in Alabama,[2][5] where nine African American teenagers were wrongly accused of raping a white woman, even in the face of medical evidence to the contrary.[6]

A Statement of the Purposes of the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners stated that:[3]

The National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners has been formed to aid workers to organize and to defend themselves against terror and suppression [...] The National Committee recognizes the right of workers to organize, strike and picket, their right to freedom of speech, press and assembly, and it will aid in combating any violation of those rights, through legal means, and above all, by stimulating a wide public interest and protest.[3]

The group was considered one of eleven "subversive organizations",[7] drawn up on 3 April 1947 at the request of Tom C. Clark.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wald, Alan (1987). The New York Intellectuals: The Rise and Decline of the Anti-Stalinist Left from the 1930s to the 1980s (illustrated ed.). UNC Press Books. p. 56. ISBN 9780807841693. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Duke, David (2015). Writers and Miners: Activism and Imagery in America. University Press of Kentucky. p. 29. ISBN 9780813148212. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Members of the National Committee for the Defense; John C. Hennen (2015). Harlan Miners Speak: Report on Terrorism in the Kentucky Coal Fields (revised ed.). University Press of Kentucky. p. 9. ISBN 9780813159843. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Catherine Mary McLoughlin (15 Sep 2007). Martha Gellhorn: The War Writer in the Field and in the Text (illustrated ed.). Manchester University Press. p. 41. ISBN 9780719076367. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Denning, Michael (1998). "1". The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century (illustrated, reprint ed.). Verso. p. 13. ISBN 9781859841709. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Powers, Rachael; Poynton, Holly (eds.). To Kill A Mockingbird, The Text Guide. Coordination Group Publications Ltd. ISBN 978 1 84762 023 1. Even though there was medical evidence that proved the women hadn't been raped, the all-white jury sentenced all the men except the youngest to death. 
  7. ^ M. Stanton Evans, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies (New York: Crown Forum, 2007) ISBN 978-1-4000-8105-9, pp. 55-60, notes).
  8. ^ "Prelude to McCarthyism: The Making of a Blacklist". Goldstein, Robert Justin, Prologue, U.S. National Archives. 2006. Retrieved 3 March 2015.