Update 13-18: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

"Letter to Jack Carney in Duluth, MN from John Reed in New York City, October 5, 1918."  This short note to the editor of Duluth Truth by revolutionary socialist journalist Jack Reed was scrawled in pencil on a single sheet of paper, now browned and chipping. Reed incorrectly predicts a guilty verdict in the Second Masses Trial, which ended in a mistrial when the jury deadlocked 8 to 4 in favor or acquittal. Despite his grave misgivings, Reed notes that he and his co-defendants "are all happy." Reed compliments Masses editor Max Eastman for a "wonderful revolutionary speech" to the jury, predicting that "it will stick."

"A New Nation in Harlem," by Worth Tuttle [Sept. 1921]  Excellent first-hand journalism from the scene of the 31-day long 2nd Annual Convention of Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association in New York City. Tuttle describes the pageantry and neo-religious trappings consciously employed for the open sessions of the convention held each evening: beginning with a hymn and a prayer, featuring a choir and music from the "official band of the Black Star Line," as the crowd anxiously awaits the dramatic appearance of Garvey, clad in a robe of red silk and green velvet, accompanied by a paramilitary guard snappily attired in blue, red, and gold uniforms. Biblical references are steadily employed by the movement, Tuttle notes. "There is the corps of Black Cross Nurses and the girl and boy scouts. There is the living symbol of a national life, a black Liberty, draped in red and green, carrying a new scepter, crowned with a black pileus. The audience gazes with rapture, thrilled with all the joys of a nationality, without, as yet, any of its responsibilities," Tuttle writes. Part and parcel with the show is the fundraising effort to support the steamship line -- a international commercial freight-shipping venture. Garvey makes his financial appeals cleverly and in a variety of ways: appealing to black pride, appealing to his shipping venture as the embryonic solution of the unemployment problem, and making the appeal on financial grounds, presenting Black Star Line shares as a potentially lucrative investment. However, the shipping business is difficult and highly competitive, Tuttle notes, and the prospects of the company uncertain. Despite this, Tuttle declares, the members of UNIA "look upon the Black Star Line and the African Communities League in the way Mr. Garvey would have them look on it — as agents of racial regeneration rather than as agents of monetary return. It would seem that the wise policy for the directors would be to stop talking about fabulous returns and to admit the impossibility of dividends for a long time to come. Otherwise the clamor of disappointed investors may stifle the voice of an awakening people."

"An Opponent of Garveyism: Letter to the Editor of The World Tomorrow," by W.A. Domingo [Nov. 1921]  Letter to the editor of the Fellowship of Reconciliation-backed monthly edited by Rev. Norman Thomas by a leading activist in the radical African Blood Brotherhood. Wilfred Domingo was the first editor of the Garvey official organ The Negro World until being cashiered in July 1919 for making use of the publication's pages socialist propaganda. Thereafter he joined the staff of The Messenger as a contributing editor. Domingo accuses Garvey of pouring out "bombastic, exaggerated, and misinformed statements" to the press and estimates the actual membership of his Universal Negro Improvement Association is "less than 20,000" based onto an examination of a published financial report -- a pale shadow of the 4.5 million members claimed. Domingo challenges Garvey's intellectual fitness to lead a mass movement representing the Negro race. He foresees a mortal error by failing to separate the ideology and propaganda of Garveyism from its inevitably doomed business enterprises: "When the material foundation is destroyed -- as the ordinary laws of economics and the machinations of those whom he thinks he is fighting surely will destroy it -- the spiritual superstructure will cease to be," he presciently predicts. Domingo gives Garvey the backhanded compliment of possessing great energy and understanding "the art of advertisement and race capitalization to a degree comparable only to Col. [William Joseph] Simmons of the Ku Klux Klan."


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