"Let Me Live" tells the remarkable story of Angelo Herndon, an African American coal miner who worked as a labor organizer in Alabama and Georgia in the 1930s. Herndon led a racially integrated march of the unemployed in 1932, and was subsequently arrested when Communist Party literature was found in his bedroom. His trial made only small headlines at first, but eventually an international campaign to free him emerged, thanks to the efforts of the Communist Party and of labor unions interested in protecting the right to organize in the South; Herndon was finally set free by the U.S. Supreme Court, with the help of well-known leaders including C. Vann Wood-ward, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, and Whitney North Seymour, Sr. Written while Herndon was in prison, and originally published in 1937, Let Me Live tells the full story behind his arrest and the struggle through the courts. It also describes his early life as a young boy in poverty; as a laborer in the Kentucky mines and as a construction gang worker; and of the birth and development of his passion for the Communist Party. This book features texts from the Georgia and U.S.
Supreme Court decisions, the text of Herndon's speech, and newspaper editorials from the era, as well as an informative introduction from scholar Marlon Ross. "Let Me Live", likely the first communist African American autobiography, is an essential literary text for students and scholars of American studies, African American studies, and radical literature.
Marlon Ross is Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
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- ID: 9780472031993
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