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MARTIN DIES FEARS INTEGRATED CAST[E]S, SO THE FEDERAL THEATRE PROJECT MUST DIE! HUUAC VERSUS FTP: A STUDY IN BLACK &am PowerPoint Presentation
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MARTIN DIES FEARS INTEGRATED CAST[E]S, SO THE FEDERAL THEATRE PROJECT MUST DIE! HUUAC VERSUS FTP: A STUDY IN BLACK &am

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MARTIN DIES FEARS INTEGRATED CAST[E]S, SO THE FEDERAL THEATRE PROJECT MUST DIE! HUUAC VERSUS FTP: A STUDY IN BLACK &am - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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MARTIN DIES FEARS INTEGRATED CAST[E]S, SO THE FEDERAL THEATRE PROJECT MUST DIE! HUUAC VERSUS FTP: A STUDY IN BLACK & WHITE. By Clara Palacio. Congressman Martin Dies of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAAC) was a white supremacist and segregationist.

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MARTIN DIES FEARS INTEGRATED CAST[E]S, SO THE FEDERAL THEATRE PROJECT MUST DIE!HUUAC VERSUS FTP: A STUDY IN BLACK & WHITE

By Clara Palacio

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Congressman Martin Dies of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAAC) was a white supremacist and segregationist.
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Hallie Flanagan was a committed Progressive. As head of the Federal Theatre Project (FTP) she would not tolerate racism.
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Hallie Flanagan’s project supported a Negro theatre unit, ensured that Black performers received equal pay for equal work, and insisted that audiences for Federal Theatre performances not be segregated.

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The two clashed when HUAAC investigated the Federal Theatre Project in 1938. Dies feared and fought anything that challenged the status quo in race relations. A fanatical anti-Communist crusader, he assumed that Flanagan must be a dangerous Communist subversive, like those championing the cause of the Scottsboro Boys.
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In 1931, nine Black youths had been accused of raping two white women while riding a train passing through Alabama. This trial reopened the wounds of “Civil War” sectionalism and became a cause for Communist agitation.

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Progressive liberals also championed the cause in two dramatic productions: Stevedore and They Shall Not Die.
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Stevedore is a fictionalized story of a Black dock-worker and union organizer falsely accused of raping a white woman in New Orleans. In the play, the incident stirs up a white lynch mob, but also forges black & white solidarity among the union men.

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They Shall Not Die was loosely based on the transcripts of the actual Scottsboro Trial in Alabama. It focused on the racism and anti-Semitism of the prosecution and jury. It was not a Federal Theatre Production.

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Stevedore, on the other hand, had been produced by the Federal Theatre Project’s Negro unit in Seattle, Washington. HUAAC Chairman Martin Dies cited racially-charged dialogue from this play and testimony by “friendly” witnesses complaining about interracial “mixing” at cast parties and events as proof that the FTP had fallen under the spell of Communists and their sympathizers.

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Hallie Flanagan was later quoted in the New York Times as saying that HUAAC was “afraid of the Project—but not for the reasons they mentioned on the floor of the Congress. They were afraid of the Federal Theatre because it was educating the people of its vast new audience to know more about government and politics and such vital issues of the day as housing, power, agriculture and labor. They were afraid, and rightly so, of thinking people.”