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50 Years Ago: Education and the Southern Negro

Some parts of the Southern States of America have recently been the scenes of intense anti-negro mob violence. This violence was part of resistance to the attempts by the American Government to integrate negro and white school children within the American system of education. One of the reasons given why the negro should be rejected is that he is “biologically inferior” to the white, and that integration of negro and white will ultimately create a general lowering of human standards, both biologically and socially. We of the Socialist Party do not accept these vicious assumptions. The question important to us is this: What is it about the biological make-up of the various branches of the human family that prevent it from living together in a universal harmony of mutual co-operation? The answer is nothing, and this is the principle that is a guide to Socialists on this issue ( . . .)

One thing surely will frustrate the southern integrationist’s hopes, and that is a slump or a margin of unemployed. With little point in taking up the negro labour slack, surely the fervour of the Government’s bent on educational integration will be cooled, and events have taught us that in such a case we should expect an intensification of race hatred. Such events should teach the white worker that he is a victim not of any “black menace,” but a victim of the indiscriminate vicissitudes of a system which is not concerned with his true human needs. The “black menace” problem for the white worker is a myth, just as the hope that educational integration under capitalism will bring the negro worker happiness is also a myth. In fact, with each other‘s help, they have a new world to win Socialism.

(From an article by P. K. L., Socialist Standard, November 1956)