chapter  7
22 Pages

Productive Fiction and Propaganda: The Development and Uses of Communist Party Pamphlet Literature

ByTrevor Joy Sangrey

On March 25, 1931 nine young black men, ages 13 to 20, were pulled from a train and arrested for fighting with white men (and winning). The young white men, having jumped the train after the fight and walked to the nearest town, told the authorities an exaggerated story of black men armed with guns and knives. This account quickly led to a crowd gathering at the next train stop, Paint Rock, Alabama, where the authorities and the crowd pulled many young people off the train, youths who were “hoboing” along the rails looking for work. Two young white women, dressed in overalls, were also taken from the train and tried to run, but were caught and brought back to the commotion at the platform. Either at the behest of their arrestors or on their own volition, the young women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, accused the young black men pulled from the train of gang rape.1