Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vile Rarities From the Archives of the American Right-Wing

by Stephen J. Gertz

WARNING: This post contains highly disturbing images containing commensurate text. 

Once upon a time (for this truly seems like a fairy tale), the Right and Left wings in the United States had homes in both the main political parties. While the Republican Party teemed with rabid, ugly, and bigoted anti-Communists, the Democratic Party was host to rabid, ugly, bigoted segregationists. And then there were the Right-Wingers who'd flown so far to the Right that they flew out of the mainstream and into fringe parties of particular nastiness.

The campaign brochure above heralds the contentious 1930 Alabama elections, in which a number of Ku Klux Klan-funded Democrats broke away from the party to run as Independents. The Independents lost, and the event marked a pivotal moment in the consolidation of old-line Democratic power in the state, which would go unchallenged until the Civil Rights conflicts of the Sixties.

This illustrated brochure, produced by  main-line Democrats, was intended to show that, despite rejection of KKK backing, the Party remained staunch in its support of the principle of White Supremacy. Page one provides brief text and lists members of the Party’s Executive Committee and Honorary Vice Chairmen (among whom was future Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black). The remaining three pages reproduce ten captioned political caricatures lampooning the campaign tactics of the apostate Democrats and the Republicans. An unusual item; not located in OCLC.

The Democratic Party Is Calling You! [Birmingham]: Democratic State Campaign Committee, [1930]. Quarto (28cm). Single sheet, folded to four newsprint pages. 

Marilyn R. Allen's Caucasian quo vadis, White Man! What of the Night? (1959) is an anti-integration tract by the author best-known for her 1949 inspirational, spiritually uplifting  opus, Alien Races and Mongrelization: “...since the Warren Court’s communistic race-mixing decision was admittedly NOT based in and on the Constitution (nor on precedent), but on alien socialistic doctrine and Organized Minority pressure, it is therefore null and void.” Not located in OCLC.

ALLEN, Marilyn R. White Man! What of the Night? Salt Lake City: By the author, [1959]. Gate-fold leaflet, 15cm x 14cm. Single sheet folded to six newsprint pages.

It wouldn't be a party without the American Nazi Party spiking the punch with their  brand of poison. Here, the National Socialist White People’s Party,  successor to George Lincoln Rockwell’s American Nazi Party, descries Special Rights for Black Savages. Insert homosexual, feminist, Jewish, etc. for the full Party platform. This recruiting broadside for the NSWPP states its headquarters address as 2507 North Franklin Road, Arlington, VA, where the group moved following the assassination of Rockwell.

Special Rights For Black Savages? Arlington, VA: National Socialist White People’s Party, N.d. [post- 1968]. Broadside, 11” x 8.5”, printed recto only on newsprint. 

This broadside from the good ol' folks of the Fighting American Nationalists simulates a typical “Wanted” poster, depicting an African-American in caricature; the subject here is identified as “Levi Coon.” Alias “Jigaboo, Baboon, Ape....he has been known to be led by communist Jews in a conspiracy to destroy America and the White race. He is believed to be armed with a razor, a gas bomb, a Star of David, and a bottle of Sweet Lucy wine.” The Manischevitz winery was surely relieved by their exclusion from this arsenal imagined by the malignantly asinine.

This is one of the more horrific pieces of racist propaganda you'll ever encounter. The “Fighting American Nationalists” was a  hate group reputedly established by George Lincoln Rockwell in the mid-1960s as a front for the American Nazi Party.

WHITE, C. Wanted Dead Or Alive. Hendersonville, NC: Fighting American Nationalists, 1975. Broadside, 11” x 8-1/2” (ca. 28 x 22cm). Printed recto-only on a single sheet of standard xerographic paper.

If the recto headline above doesn't get you right here, the verso headline will: “Scientists Say Negro Still In Ape Stage - Races Positively Not Equal.”

Edward R. Fields' scurrilous junk science screed was issued by The Thunderbolt, the official organ of the National States Rights Party, a neo-Nazi group active in the mid-1960s. This organ desperately needs a transplant; it is diseased, a thunderbolt that Zeus rejected and speared into the garbage can, only to be retrieved by ignorant, bottom-feeding mortals and thrust into the soul of America.

Here, the standard pseudo-scientific tropes are proffered regarding Negro inferiority (reduced brain size; prognathous jaw; prehensile toes, etc). It concludes: “As the black genes of the Negro are more powerful than white genes - the Negro has thereby destroyed every white civilization that he has come in contact with or has left that civilization stagnant and rotting and dependent upon the last drop of white blood from outside to keep it going. Mongrelization of the Races Would Destroy White Christian Civilization.” It also includes a brief discourse on the “Two-toed Vadoma Tribe,” whose members can “run like the wind, scale trees.” Not located in OCLC (this screed, not the Vadoma tribe, which lives in the western region of Zimbabwe and whose members, indeed, have a congenital foot disfigurement).

There's a silver lining to this toxic cloud.  Black-Americans can take cold comfort in knowing that, by its own statement, the National States Rights Party believed that Negroes were biologically superior to Whites, with super-duper DNA that overwhelms all others. Curiously, the National States Right Party appears to have accepted evolution and Darwin's The Descent of Man. At the time, however, anti-science had yet to be added to the far-Right's anti-everything list.

Given the caliber of white people addressed here Black-Americans would surely prefer to be related to apes. I'm white and proud to be descended from apes; they have more dignity. I'll take King Kong over King Cotton's DNA anytime.

FIELDS, Edward R. The Negro Is Related to Apes -- Not White People. Marietta, GA: The Thunderbolt, Inc., N.d. [ca 1964-5]. Quarto broadside (36cm), printed in black ink on both sides of a standard ledger-sized sheet. With four illustrations.

The National States Rights Party's Most Important Program  planned for the deportation of American Blacks to the African continent, noting that “...African nations could receive the entire Negro population of the United States within twenty years, without disproportionate strain on any one nation...” Also includes a draft “Back To Africa Law,” calling for stripping all Negroes of American citizenship; cash bonuses for those volunteering to emigrate; and forcible deportation of those unwilling to volunteer. The National States Rights Party was a neo-Nazi group founded in 1958 and active through the early Seventies. Theirs  was a very short-sighted scheme. Who'd they think was going to perform all the low-class menial labor that poor white trash felt was beneath them?  C'mon, people! Geesh!

SMITH, Drew L. How To Ship Negroes Back To Africa. Marietta, GA: National States Rights Party, N.d. [ca 1964-65].  Printed folio circular (ca 36cm x 22cm). Single sheet folded to four pages.

When racism and rabid anti-Communism get together the results are always a joyful expression of self-realization for the zealously righteous, revealing a breathtaking psychopathology usually associated with  the anti-Christ in Jesus' robe. The above graphic reproduces a photograph of Martin Luther King, Abner W. Berry, Aubrey Williams, and Myles Horton in a classroom of the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee. The text identifies these subjects, calling them the “four horsemen of racial agitation...[who] have brought tension, disturbance, strife and violence in the advancement of the Communist doctrine of ‘racial nationalism.’”

The Highlander Folk School was founded by Don West and Myles Horton in 1953 as a training facility for southern civil rights workers; it was the frequent and favorite subject of attacks from anti-integrationists. The present broadside, issued under the auspices of the Georgia Commission on Education, is similar to another, larger broadside of the same ilk print-signed by Georgia Governor Marvin Griffin. OCLC notes only two locations (CSU Sacramento & Historic New Orleans Collection).

Martin Luther King...At Communist Training School. [Athens, GA]: Georgia Commission on Education. N.d. (ca 1957). Broadside, printed recto-only on a single legal-size sheet (ca 36cm x 22cm). Thirteen lines of text and central graphic.
• • •

A funny thing happened to Right-wing Democrats on their way to the lynching. Before the ink was dry on President Johnson's signature to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, they mentally bolted from the Party and, in 1968, with Presidential candidate Richard M.. Nixon taking advantage of their profound discontent, ran into the Republican Party's open arms and warm embrace where they and their heirs have remained  cozy and  happy ever after though perpetually disgruntled; chronic lip-service, from  wiser Party leaders who seduce for the Presidential nomination, abandon for the election  and then pragmatically lead the country from only center-right, has been their bitter reward for loyalty. Now, fed-up and having driven traditional mainstream Republicans out of the Party to become the new Republican base, they, along with what was once the Republican far-Right fringe, are the true RINOs,  Republicans In Name Only.  It's a another great, albeit strange and deeply ironic, Only in America story.

All images courtesy of Lorne Bair Rare Books, with our thanks. Mr. Bair is a specialist in the history, literature, and art of American social movements including the radical politics of both poles; the Left-wing falls under his purview, as well. Bair is one of the go-to rare booksellers for students, collectors, and curators interested in this subject.

Has the American Left-wing  published odious agitprop? Of course. But though stinky, it is rarely, if ever, as blatantly and shamelessly hateful. And it is almost always designed better.


  1. Nice post, but political history is a little fuzzy. In fact, Segregationist Democrats as represented by Georgia Governor Lester Maddox (1967-1971) and Alabama Governor George Wallace (1963-1967, 1971-1979, 1983-1987) did NOT run arms wide open into the embrace of the GOP. Maddox, for instance, ran as a Dem and was elected Georgia's Lt. Governor -- after having served as Guv -- during the same election cycle that brought Jimmy Carter to office in Atlanta. (Can't imagine they had lot in common.) Eventually Both Maddox and Wallace quit the Dems and ran under the banner of the populist and segregationist American Independent Party (founded 1967). Discontented "right-wing" Dems finally crossed over to the GOP beginning with Reagan in the early '80s, as Wallace & Maddox both continued as standard-bearers of the AIP in Presidential campaigns during the 1970s.
    -John Waite

  2. there was a whole slew of lower level elected officials across the south who switched from dem to gop starting in 1964, the first election after passage of the civil rights act of 1964. there also were numerous u.s. house members who switched parties or were elected for the first time as gops in 1964.

    of course, relying on party labels alone to explain this period can be very misleading. meanwhile, in 1960 Georgia voted 62.6 percent for dem jfk. but in 1964 it voted 54.1 percent for gop goldwater. that sudden, dramatic shift was attributable to nothing more than southern anger at civil rights legislation. and that pattern was reflected across the south.


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