Black Radicalism and the Trial of Claudia Jones

By Denise Lynn | Black Perspectives

Claudia Jones believed that her 1950 article “International Women’s Day and the Struggle for Peace” prompted her arrest and indictment under the Smith Act in 1951. The Smith Act prohibited Americans from advocating the violent overthrow of the US government. Jones’ article made no such argument. Instead, it advocated women’s unity and organization against atomic weaponry. Jones warned that if women did not organize, it would be their children that would be sacrificed in the next imperialist war. She believed that it had to be women that organized against what she described as President Truman’s “cold-blooded order” to start a “suicidal atomic and hydrogen weapon race,” because women were invested in peace for the sake of their children. She argued that “monopolist rulers” were trying to “deceive the people” and to compromise the peace movement by counseling women to stay at home.

Jones’ primary concern was to organize women against demands that they adhere to what she called the “Fascist Triple-K,” Kinder, Küche Kirche, or “children, kitchen, church,” a Nazi slogan that prescribed housework and parenting as women’s only role. At the end of World War II, Jones was actively trying to secure some of the meager wartime gains women and minorities gained, including higher wages, and access to better jobs.

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