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Sonali Shah

Mr. OHalloran
US History
March 13th, 2015
Paul Robesons Unread Statement before the House Committee
on Un-American Activities (June 12, 1956)
1. Do you think the reasons provided by the State Department
lawyers were sufficient to prohibit giving Robeson a passport,
free movement, and access to public exposure? Why, or why
I do not think the reasons provided by the State Department lawyers
were sufficient enough to prohibit giving Roberson a passport. The
State Department didnt give a passport to Roberson on the basis that
he had a recognized status as a spokesman for large sections of Negro
Americans and because he had been extremely active in the fight for
independence for the colonial people in America. The only reason why
he wasnt given a passport is because the lawyers did not agree with
Robersons views on colonial liberation, his resistance to oppression of
the Negro Americans, and a desire for peace with all nations. Not
giving someone a passport just because your views differ is not a valid
reason, in my opinion. Despite the lawyers also not wanting him to
speak out about his views, Robeson stated that he intended to
continue to speak out against injustices to the Negro people.
2. How do you think the white American public would have
responded if this speech had been given? The black American
public? Do you think Robeson should have been allowed to
present his speech? Why, or why not?
If this speech would have been given, I think the White American public
would have either sided with the mentality of Dulles and Walter or
would have acted as if what Robeson was saying was wrong. The Black
American public would have been pleased with his speech and how he
directly calls out the fact that people of color are often denied basic
rights just because the color of their skin and their beliefs. The speech
would have shown that Robeson was being questioned for crimes he
never committed just because he had been an activist regarding the
rights of Black Americans. I think Robeson should have been allowed to
present his speech because not only did it talk about Black American
rights, but the fact that the United States is the only country that does
not allow Robeson to perform or speak. The speech would have raised
awareness on the topic as a whole and how it could possibly be solved.
3. Why do you think Robesons speeches and songs were welcomed
throughout the rest of the world but not in the United States?

I think Robesons speeches and songs were welcomed everywhere in

the world expect the United States because the US government was
afraid of what he would sing or talk about. Robeson was welcomed in
the rest of the world because all of the other nations had no
precautions as to what Robeson would do and not do. The government
did not want Robeson speaking about the downfalls of America and
how people were being targeted for no good reason. This could portray
the country as divided and weak to the rest of the world. The rest of
the world agreed with Robesons views and ideas, but only in the US
was he restricted freedom.
Pete Seeger, Thou Shall Not Sing (1989)
1. What do you think accounted for the anti-Communist hysteria that
occurred at Peekskill? Why didn't the police intervene in the violence?
I think the anti-Communist hysteria that occurred at Peekskill
was caused by the Soviet Unions outlawing of racial discrimination.
The Ku Klux Klan was strongly outraged by this decision, since they
were strongly opposed to the Black members of society. As a result of
this, they started to riot. There were no authoritative figures who took
any control or action against the behaviors because many members of
the Ku Klux Klan were also in the police department. If the police had
actually punished these actions, they would have been punishing
2. Why did some people think that Peekskill "was the beginning of
fascism in America"?
Some people thought that Peekskill "was the beginning of
fascism in America" because the police decided to do nothing and
watch people lynch and murder people. People saw this and compared
it to how the authorities in Germany didnt do anything either. They
said that this was the same way Hitler and the spread of Nazism
started in Germany, which means that this same path would probably
lead to fascism in America.
3. Why didn't Pete Seeger see the actions at Peekskill as fascist? Do
you think his beliefs about ordinary Americans were realistic or
unrealistic? Explain.
Seeger didnt see the actions at Peekskill as fascist because he
knew people were actually not participating in the attacks and
aggressions. He talks about how he knew people who were leaving the
country and going to England or Canada. He mentions he knew some
people who were leaving the country going to Mexico or England or
Canada ... [and] some people who were burning their books" This was
proof that the actions at Peekskill were not actually fascist. Pete Seeger

was basing all of his beliefs off of the people he actually knew rather
than those he didnt. All of the people who werent fascist made up the
entire population for Seeger. His opinion about ordinary Americans
were unrealistic because it applied to only a few Americans that he
personally knew.
I.F. Stone, But Its Not Just Joe McCarthy (March 15, 1954)
1. Why do you think so many people - Senators, the President, famous
Americans, and ordinary folks - were afraid to challenge Joseph
I think many people were afraid to challenge McCarthy because they
were afraid of his Texas backers. This was able to keep away the
Democratic party in Texas, which was led by Lyndon Johnson. I think a
big reason as to why people were afraid of challenging McCarthy was
because there was a fear that they would be wrongly accused of
supporting or even taking part in anything having to do with
Communism. For the very important figures such as the President
among others, this would be detrimental to their position of power, and
even their entire lives. Because of this, Senators, famous Americans,
and even the President remained silent and did not question McCarthy
just to ensure their own safety.
2. Support or refute Stones question, If there is indeed a monstrous
and diabolic conspiracy against world peace and stability, then isnt
McCarthy right?
No, McCarthy was not right, no matter if there was indeed a monstrous
and diabolic conspiracy against world peace or not. Even if there were
a diabolic conspiracy against world peace, it would not justify
McCarthys campaign. Saying yes to this question means that anything
is okay and supported if world peace and stability is not maintained.
This is clearly not a fair reason to base an entire campaign off of using
untrue or unfair allegations against innocent citizens of the United
3. What is the Bogeyman Theory of History? Does the McCarthy
era qualify? Can you think of other times in our history that
would also qualify for this description?
According to the Bogeyman Theory of History, The premises of free
society and of liberalism find no one to voice them. You have to
reduce something complicated and turn it into something everyone
can understand. The McCarthy era qualifies because there was no one
actually there to speak out against McCarthy and his ideals. In the
article it says, Nowhere in American politics is there evidence of any
important figure (even Stevenson) prepared to talk in sober, mature,
and realistic terms of the real problems which arise in a real world...

This quote is talking about how there was no one to speak up against
McCarthyism. Another historical event that could qualify this
description might be the Holocaust and the events preceding it.
Because everyone was afraid of what might happen to them if they did
speak out, many important leaders and the general public kept silent
about their opposition of Nazism. They also didnt want Hitler
spreading Nazism any more than how much it had actually spread.