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Tue, 09.30.1919

The African Blood Brotherhood is formed

*The African Blood Brotherhood (ABB) is celebrated on this date in 1919. Sometimes referred to as the African Liberation and Redemption, this was a U.S. black liberation organization established in 1919 in New York City by journalist Cyril Briggs

The summer of 1919 in America was a time of racial rioting and violence, remembered retrospectively by historians as the "Red Summer." Returning soldiers from European battlefields, including blacks, had heightened expectations of freedom and equality. And whites seeking a return to civilian employment and the status quo ante Bellum and new immigrant black workers from the rural South formed a volatile mixture that erupted in mob violence in Chicago, Omaha, and cities throughout the Midwest and South. 

Politically, Briggs drew comparisons between government attacks on white and black radicals. He identified capitalism as the underlying cause of the oppression of poor people of all races. In response to these attacks, The Crusader magazine advocated armed self-defense. While endorsing a Marxist analysis, The Crusader supported a separate organization of African Americans to defend against racist attacks in the United States and likened this to Africans' combating colonialism abroad.

In September 1919, The Crusader announced the formation of a new organization called the African Blood Brotherhood (ABB) to serve as a self-defense organization for blacks threatened by race riots and lynching. Briggs began connecting with pioneer black American Communists such as Otto Huiswoud and writer Claude McKay.  These, in turn, connected Briggs and his publication with native-born white Communists, including Robert Minor and Rose Pastor Stokes, who took a strong interest in the so-called "Negro Question."

They were established as a propaganda organization built on the model of the secret society. The ABB soon evolved into a propaganda arm of the Communist Party of America. The group was terminated in the early 1920s. 

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