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ACCEPTANCE SPEECH OF James W. Ford VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY COMRADES and friends, it is indeed an honor that the Communist Party has tendered me. But I do not take it as an individual tribute to myself. It is a tribute to the entire Negro people; it is another proof that the Communist Party is the outstanding fighter for their freedom from segregation and oppression of every kind. The other parties lavish sweet words on the Negro people; but it is only the Communist Party which day in and day out fights for every demand and need of the Negroes in the terror- and lynch-ridden South and the poverty-stricken slums of Harlem and South Chicago. In these elections the American people face their greatest crisis since the Civil War. This recalls the heroic part played by Negro regiments in turning the tide towards victory, and the role played by that great Negro liberation leader - Fredrick Douglass. His close associate was John Brown who saved Kansas from slavery and who died that the Negro people might be freed. I am proud to be on the same ticket with a son of Kansas - Earl Browder, friend and fighter for the Negro people, my people. John Brown was an individualist who died in a brave but individualist attempt to free the slaves. Earl Browder symbolizes an invisible international movement dedicated to the liberation, not only for the Negro people, but of all oppressed races and nationalities. Earl Browder and the Communist Party are the inheritors of Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and John Brown. We communists, Negro and white together, will carry out what they dreamed of. 14 The Republican Party has always posed as the friend of the Negro people. It even sent a Negro Congressman to Washington. But Mr. De Priest was part and parcel of the corrupt machine which brutally suppresses the Negroes in Chicago. The Republicans have not fought against segregation, against discrimination on jobs and relief. Today, the Republicans, sponsored by the Liberty Leaguers, are in alliance with the most bitter enemies of the Negro people. It was they who subsidized the infamous Grass Roots-Ku Klux Klan Convention of hate led by Governor Talmadge of Georgia. The Democratic Administration has been a little more favorable to Negroes. But in the South Democratic officials have openly countenanced lynchings and tortures, are responsible for Scottsboro, and are trying to send Herndon to death on the chain gang. Roosevelt makes gestures to win the Negro vote, but he has never opened his mouth to protest the thralldom of an entire people. I urge the Negro people, in their own interests, in the interest of freedom and equal rights, to support the Communist Party which saved the Scottsboro boys, which stands for every Negro demand, which is the Party of the Negro people. I appeal to the white workers, Communists and non-Communists, to remember that the Negro people must not be left to fight alone. The responsibility lies with the white workers to help free their brothers in a black skin. Unless the Negro people are freed there can be no freedom for the white workers. Both must fight shoulder to shoulder against their common enemy, Wall Street, which waxes fat on their misery and suffering. Both must defeat the sinister forces of reaction which plan to enslave, not only the Negro workers, but the white workers as well. Let us unite to defeat this monster of reaction. Let us go forward to freedom and equality for the Negro people in a free, happy, and prosperous America. 15
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