Beulah Richardson Charges Genocide

By Denise Lynn | Black Perspectives

In 1951, William Patterson, the national secretary of the Civil Rights Congress (CRC), a communist affiliated legal organization, presented the United Nations with a petition charging the United States government, and state and local governments, with committing genocide against Black Americans. The petition, at over 200-pages long, accused legal and government authorities of blatantly ignoring, and in some cases actively encouraging, systematic violence, often leading to murder, of Black Americans. In 1946, the National Negro Congress (NNC), another communist affiliate, presented a similar petition to the UN Secretary-General, but it did not receive much attention. A year later, encouraged by W.E.B. Du Bois, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) offered its own petition. This one captured the attention of the press and several countries. But Du Bois’ growing radicalism and disagreements with NAACP leader Walter White led to a confrontation and his expulsion from the NAACP. Under White’s leadership, the NAACP began to support American Foreign policy and anti-communism, effectively neutralizing the petition. The CRC’s document, titled We Charge Genocide was accompanied by a media blitz that guaranteed it would get the media’s attention, and as the CRC hoped, support from Black Americans at a time when the organization was under attack from anti-communists.

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