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EARLY BLACK RADICAL ACTIVIST (SOCIALISM.) WOODBEY, REV. GEORGE WASHINGTON. What to Do and How to Do It. Socialism vs Capitalism. Published as No. 40 of Wayland's Monthly. [1-5], 6-44 pages. Small 8vo, original pictorial wrappers with a portrait of the author on the front cover; light wear. Girard, KS: J.A. Wayland, 1903
The Rev. George Washington Woodbey (1854-1937) was born into slavery in Tennessee. In 1902 he became fascinated with the writings of Edward Bellamy, author of Looking Backward (1888), renounced the pulpit and began lecturing on socialism as the answer to the race problems of America. He was the earliest African American to do so, and the first to write a socialist tract specifically aimed at the African American working man. Anticipating the struggles of the 1970's Woodbey was repeatedly jailed and beaten by California police. Following a particularly nasty encounter and beating, Woodbey brought charges against a particular San Diego policeman, but an all-white jury of local businessmen dismissed the case. He packed a huge Los Angeles hall to refute Booker T. Washington as a tool of Capitalism, and said of Washington that he was a 'gentleman and an educator,' but that 'he [has] all the ability to make a good servant of Capitalism by educating other servants of Capitalism." quite scarce, oclc locates only five copies.
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