Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in History

First Advisor

Rebecca K. Marchiel

Second Advisor

Ted Ownby

Third Advisor

Darren Grem


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



This thesis examines the methods and means by which the Communist Party of theUnited States organized in the US South during the 1930s. With a focus on the “Negro Question”, I hope to show that local, rather than national or international, concerns animated CPUSA organizing. To that end, the records of James S. Allen, a key CPUSA theoretician, are used to explore the relationships between local Southern sub-organizations and the CPUSA leadership. His organizing in the South is crucial to the avenues that Communists organized and utilized his writings to shape Party policy and engagement with African Americans of the South. This thesis also plays close attention to the Scottsboro Trial as a key moment of mass mobilization and party reception as the American Communist Party organized demonstrations and support to the International Labor Defense with Allen’s influence and expertise within the Party. With the ILD’s support of the Scottsboro Trial, the inroads and organization of the CPUSA in the South were greatly aided and served as an example of Southern organization of the Communist party and Allen’s impact as a scholar and promoter of a Communist Answer to the “Negro Question.”



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