C. L. R. James on the 'Negro Question' by Cyril Lionel Robert James, Scott McLemee (editor and

By Cyril Lionel Robert James, Scott McLemee (editor and introduction)

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The high water mark . . "8 This was a period of curious intensity, and calls to mind a remark by W E. B. " 9 The contours of this chapter in James's biography can be sketched quickly. In March 1939, he was granted a six-month extension on his visa. During Page xv the final week of 1940 he registered as an alien with the Immigration and Naturalization Servicewhich, it seems, promptly lost track of him. " His comrades tended to think of him as "J. R. " When he lectured, it was to internal meetings of various radical organizations.

47 But James's relationship with Wright was more than professional, and throughout the mid-1940s the men were frequent guests in each other's homes. ) When Constance Webb joined them, James had a sharp reminder that he was not an American: [S]oon they would begin to talk animatedly. One of them had read some statement about Negroes in some newspaper or some book. We had been to eat somewhere and the waiter had been either offensive or had gone out of his way to show that he was on our side. Matters of this kind occupied them unceasingly, and I found myself left out.

25 He returned north by bus, with his trip through the South providing a deeper immersion in the realities of Jim Crow. Once settled back in New York, James "wouldn't talk to anyone from the party for several days," as a fellow Trotskyist recalled. ) Upon recovering from the trip, James worked to prepare for the national convention of the Socialist Workers Party in early July 1939. On the basis of the discussions with Trotsky, James drafted two resolutions that the convention accepted. 27 Without raising a call for a separate black state, the party would affirm the right of the African-American people to national self-determination, if they so chose, in the course of the revolutionary process.

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