Ethiopia Pacific Movement: Black Separatists, Seditionists, & How “White Supremacists” Stymied Back-to-Africa Part IIKerry Bolton
The sedition trials of Gordon and others began in 1943. What communications there were with the Japanese prior to Pearl Harbor reflected an interest among blacks for Japan as a rising “colored” nation. The defeat of Russia in 1905 had been observed by restive colored races, and then the fratricide of World War I. In 1912, Booker T. Washington wrote to a Japanese correspondent:
Speaking for the masses of my own race in this country I think I am safe in saying that there is no other race outside of America whose fortunes the Negro peoples of this country have followed with greater interest or admiration. . . in no other part of the world have the Japanese people a larger number of admirers and well-wishers than among the black people of the United States. 
Garvey stated that there would be a war between whites and Negroes unless demands were met, and that the blacks will be aided by Japan.  During the Russo-Japanese War, members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (the church in which Mrs. Gordon’s father had been a minister) had been particularly sympathetic toward Japan.  In 1921, General Sato Kojiro envisioned in his book Japanese-American War an attack on Hawaii and the possibilities of 10,000,000 blacks, led by Garvey, taking up arms in support of a Japanese invasion of the USA.  Although few Blacks evaded the draft, a significant number considered they would be treated better under a Japanese regime. 
Few of the blacks indicted for sedition were convicted. Those who had been rounded up were mostly found guilty of draft evasion. The exceptions were “Harlem Fuhrer” Robert Jordan and four members of his Ethiopian Pacific Movement.  Seven followers of the House of Israel in Newark and 21 members of the International Reassembly for the Church of Freedom League in New Orleans were jailed for draft evasion.  In general, charges of sedition collapsed, while there was no evidence shown for espionage, and the substitute charges were for draft evasion. Mittie received a two-year suspended sentence and suspended sentences were handed down to the other EPM co-defendants. The sedition charges had not held up.
In 1939, Senator Bilbo read a bill before Congress to send blacks to Liberia. According to Seon Jones’ statement to the FBI, 500 EPM members attended the reading of the bill in Washington by Bilbo, the EPM having gathered 400,000 Negro signatures for a petition in support, with nearly 2,000,000 more that were eventually collated by the PME and others.
Jones stated to the FBI that EPM Chaplain D. J. Logan had gone to Liberia in 1938 to discuss the resettlement of blacks from the USA. The idea was to obtain tracts of land where settlers could be self-sustaining. The Liberian government’s position was that this could be done if the US government furnished the transport and a stipulated sum for each migrant. Logan confirmed in his FBI statement that he had traveled to Liberia with Joseph Rockmore. The EPM had been accumulating funds for such a delegation since its founding, largely through the sale of scrap metal, and gave the delegates $700. Here they met with the President and his council. They also met with a Senate committee to investigate the emigration proposal. The President gave a written undertaking that land would be granted for resettlement. A copy of the Liberian President’s undertaking had been sent to Bilbo.
Earnest S. Cox, a Methodist minister, and author of White America, Let My People Go, The South’s Part in Mongrelizing the Nation, Three Million Negroes Thank the State of Virginia, and Lincoln’s Negro Policy, remained a prominent supporter of the EPM. As a regular correspondent with Gordon, he was among those interviewed by the FBI. A graduate in ethnology, race sociology, and political science from the University of Chicago, he traveled the world observing race relations from 1910 to 1916, returning to the USA convinced that race separatism was essential. He wrote White America as the result of his world travels. Marcus Garvey became a close friend. The FBI noted that Cox described Mrs. Gordon in Lincoln’s Negro Policy (1938) as “an indomitable spirit . . . instilling a rugged enthusiasm for the cause of Negro repatriation”; “a nervous, fractious idealist with unbounded energy,” and a “tireless worker,” assisted by “capable advisers.”  Cox stated that if a white woman had submitted a “memorial” to the President as large as that of the repatriation petition, she would be accorded national publicity, but that Mrs. Gordon remained largely unknown, despite the immensity of the petition. Cox stated that Gordon asked for white support, as repatriation would benefit in particular “white laborers.” 
Cox had written Lincoln’s Negro Policy as a history of the Back-to-Africa ideal dating back to the USA’s founding. Of the “memorial” signed by 400,000 blacks, Cox stated that Roosevelt replied that the time was not yet practical. PME next appealed to the State of Virginia, which had originally acquired the land for Liberia for emigration purposes. The State House and Senate responded with support, and appealed to the President to back voluntary emigration.  Despite the jeers of the media and others, the PME was a movement of significance.
Bilbo’s Repatriation Bill had been diverted to the State Department, then to the Division of Western European Affairs, where it lay dormant.
The PME and the New York-based Universal African National Movement appealed to Senators Storm Thurmond of South Carolina, John C. Stennis of Mississippi, and Richard Russell of Georgia to reintroduce the bill. However, these champions of segregation did not want to offend the interests of the Southern oligarchy that relied on black labor. Further, the bill went against the concept of “state’s rights,” as it required Federal backing. 
In 1953, the bill was reintroduced to the Senate by William Langer (who had introduced a repatriation bill in 1949). It was heard before a subcommittee on foreign relations presided over by Langer. First to testify was Theodore R. Martin, Vice President of the Universal African National Movement. Martin referred to the skilled and educated blacks who, while having no jobs in the USA, could be building up West Africa. He believed that black emigrants would be readily able to assimilate in Liberia. Solomon Estell emphasized the mineral wealth that might be extracted by skilled migrants, and the level of life raised. Samuel Barnett, a 93-year-old Baptist minister, acknowledged the USA as having provided the means by which blacks had been upraised and stated that this knowledge could be brought to develop a homeland in West Africa. 
Cox testified that he was authorized to speak on behalf of the EPM. He quoted Senator Bilbo’s 1939 speech introducing the bill, which he said had two and a half million signatures. Cox’s statement clarifies the figures of the petition. While the petition delivered to Washington by the PME had comprised 400,000 figures, Cox had seen the petitions stacked up, 50 names per sheet, amounting to 2,3000,000 signatures provided by the PME, and further petitions provided by several other organizations. Cox, with his focus on history, referred to the colonization measures that had been supported by Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln. He traced the Back-to-Africa movement to Paul Cuffe of Massachusetts, who had become a successful sea captain and shipowner during the early 19th century. In 1811, he had sailed to Sierra Leone with a Negro crew and made arrangements for the resettling of blacks there. In 1817, he took a shipload of Negroes to Sierre Leone, but died that year, after which the American Colonization Society was formed to support the efforts, resulting in the creation of Liberia.
Cox stated that except for Bishop Turner, he had known all the Black colonization leaders. He spoke particularly highly of Garvey. He next referred to the PME, which he had represented in the Virginia Assembly in 1936, when the Assembly urged Washington to support repatriation. It was then that Bilbo read the entirety of Cox’s book White America before the Senate. This prompted the PME and other Black Nationalist organizations to contact Bilbo, who drafted the Greater Liberia Bill.
Cox outlined the prospect of a Black renascence in Africa, where Negroes from French and British colonies would also be drawn, and a Greater Liberia that would be pro-American in recognition of the support that the USA had provided with benefits in trade and geostrategy.
Cox discussed the opposition from the NAACP to Black Nationalism, and how they had boasted of having Garvey indicted. He stated that although the American Colonization Society relinquished administration of Liberia in 1857, an agreement between the Society and Liberia to retain large tracts of land for resettlement by blacks remained. 
Jafus Boyd testified that he wanted to help build a new homeland, and utilize the skills that had been taught in the USA. Christina Patrick made an appeal to her bond of African blood. Lloyd Foster simply stated he was present to support the Bill.
Benjamin Gibbon presented a detailed plan based on the co-ordination of land, labor, capital, and organization. He referred to Liberia having a vast amount of unoccupied, fertile land. A planning board would oversee rural and urban communities. Care would be taken to prevent soil erosion in the cultivation of land. Crop improvement methods would be studied. There would be a Housing Authority, and a “national health program.” 
In 1957, Alberta Spain and A. D. Baker of the PME appeared before the Subcommittee on Economic and Social Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations, presided over by Sen. Russell B. Long, with Sen. Langer beginning the proceedings to consider the same bill that Langer had been introducing to Congress annually. Langer entered into the record the entirety of the proceedings from 1953. Mrs. Spain, when asked by Langer, stated that she favored the bill because it would save both black and white races. “Our organization does not believe in mixing of the races nor mixing of the schools,” she said. She stated that what has been tried other than separation of the races has not worked. 
A view from the State Department that resettlement to Liberia was not practical was entered into the record. What was lacking was faith and vision by the governments of both the USA and Liberia. Long addressed the quandary, referring to the State Department objection:
Long: One of the arguments is that Liberia is relatively underdeveloped. It just occurred to me that colored people who might want to go to Liberia would be some of the very best people to help Liberia.
Mrs. Spain: That is right, absolutely.
Long: In other words, the colored people who went there and who had good education could do a great deal of good for Liberia. 
Mrs. Spain stated that the program could be extended beyond Liberia, to any parts of Africa that would accept skilled blacks from the USA. Long stated that he regraded the idea as more sensible than “this foreign aid business that we have.” It was the means by which Blacks could “help themselves.” 
Baker stated that colored youths would be able to put their education to better use in Africa than the USA. He commented on the potential that could be had, beyond the immediate expenses. Under their “own flag” they could go as far as their abilities allowed. Long responded that it is a matter of justice for the US Government to assist anyone who wanted to migrate to Africa to do so, since Africans were brought to America against their will. Further that Blacks from America would be among their own kind, and no longer a minority. Long asked Langer to amend the Bill to include provision for the US Government to pay transport costs. There is also a reference to the Ambassador of Liberia having appeared before the committee stating that Liberia could accept 100,000 migrants. 
While Mrs. Gordon died in 1961, the PME continued at least into the mid-1960s. A circular from around 1964-65 signed by Alberta Spain, Secretary-General, appealed to Senators to support Langer’s bill, which she referred to as “the original Bilbo bill,” that would be heard by the Foreign Relations Committee in 1965. She exhorted the Senators that there would never be peace between the races within one state. 
Stifled by White Supremacy
One of the most absurd smears is to equate “white supremacy” with “white separatism.” The two notions are antithetical. When Mrs. Spain appealed to senators to support the Langer bill in 1965, she again referred to Earnest S. Cox as a particular friend of the movement, and her movement having “friends among Southern white people.” What she pointed out is what Cox had long been stating: that those who opposed the Back-to-Africa movement included not only the amalgamationists of the NAACP and National Urban League, but Southern “segregationists,” “states righters,” and Southern oligarchs; actual “white supremacists” whose contempt for “nigras” did not extend to the dispensing of their labor in favor of well-paid white labor. Spain referred to “an opposition” to the repatriation movement, “coming from a minority group . . . who wish to continue to exploit the African economically and politically.” She was “bewildered” by school integration, as that would not solve the race problem. 
Other “white friends” of the movement included Willis Carto, who reported on the colonization movement in a 1956 issue of his newsletter Right. Carto referred to the Garvey movement as having had 6,000,000 members, compared to the 300,000 of the NAACP. Carto stated that the long history of Black Nationalism had failed because of the “failure of the American white man to support it.” Carto referred to how Cox had stood by the colonization movement “through thick and thin.” He listed the five leading Black Nationalist groups of the time: African Universal Church; Church of the Ethiopian World Federation; Peace Movement of Ethiopia, still led by Mrs. Gordon; Universal Africa Nationalist Movement; and Garvey’s UNIA (then headquartered in Africa but still functioning in the USA). 
In contrast to the white separatists who supported black colonization, Cox had squarely nailed “white supremacists” in the South for opposing the movement. In 1955, Cox wrote a pamphlet addressed to blacks and distributed to legislators and others in 17 states whose segregated schools had been decreed unconstitutional. He traced the race problem to “cheap black labor” “and white men’s labor made cheap through competition with Negro labor,” both of which appease “greed.”  In his pamphlet Lincoln’s Negro Policy, Cox referred to “upper-class Southerners, so-called” who boasted of their Saxon blood while maintaining an economy where the “poor of their race” had to compete with Negro slaves to obtain food for their children. Lincoln had addressed the issue by stating that the removal of Africans from the USA would increase the wages of white labor. 
The Southerner Hinton Rowan Helper had addressed the outright destitution of white families in the South by black slavery in 1857.  The issue goes back to the founding of the USA. The Southern oligarchy insisted on slavery as a “states’ rights” cause. They backed Jeffersonian “Republicanism” (not to be confused with the later Republican Party) which was ideologically aligned to Jacobinism. 
It was Langer of North Dakota who year after year introduced the Back-to-Africa Bill, after approaches from the PME and Universal African Nationalist Movement had been rebuked by Thurmond and other Southern senators. So where is the “white supremacy” in wanting black labor to render white labor destitute? In South Africa, it was the Oppenheimers and other plutocratic opponents of the Afrikaaner nationalists who wanted an integrated labor and consumer market. The Verwoerdian ideal of total ethnic autotomy was never achieved because of this economic factor.
Where, then, does one find “white supremacy,” or the will of whites to dominate other races? One finds it among Leftists, liberals, and other globalists who believe there is a universal system that applies to all races, nations, states, and peoples. Such concepts as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are based on the ideology of the Western Enlightenment; a product of the Late epoch of Western Civilization, and Jacobin in spirit. Joseph de Maistre stated that despite the universal principles being expounded by France, he had never found any such concept as “man,” but instead a multiplicity of peoples from whence laws and constitutions arise organically, and are not imposed as a universal system:
The 1795 constitution, like its predecessors, was made for man. But there is no such thing as man in the world. During my life, I have seen Frenchmen, Italians, Russians, and so on; thanks to Montesquieu, I even know that one can be Persian; but I must say, as for man, I have never come across him anywhere; if he exists, he is completely unknown to me. 
What type of “supremacism” is it when globalists of various types insist that there are universal laws, when those laws are the product of a single phase of a civilization that “progressives” insist is the epitome of all “human” striving? It is the hubris of the Late Westerner. Where and who are the “white supremacists” who seek to impose — by force, if necessary — a universal moral, legal, technical, and economic order straight out of Julian Huxley’s “transhumanist” UNESCO vision? All such universal creeds are antithetical to the “Right,” and that is why the white Right has historically formed alliances with those of other races who want to live among their own kind and with their own traditions and destiny.
Joseph de Maistre saw these seeds of the will-to-dominate in liberal-progressivism when commenting on Condorcet as the father of modern Western progressive ideology: “It is true that Condorcet has promised us that the philosophers would assume the unceasing responsibility for the civilizing and welfare of primitive nations. We are waiting to see them begin.” 
How, then, does the “Right” get accused of wanting to dominate other races? The answer might be had in the ideological projection of the universalist of whatever stripe who wants to see his own ideology dominant the world, and sees the Right as the hindrance to it.
Something of the long heritage of black separatism continues with the Nation of Islam, whose adherents during the 1940s were among those charged with sedition:
We want our people in America whose parents or grandparents were descendants from slaves, to be allowed to establish a separate state or territory of their own — either on this continent or elsewhere. . . . We want all black children educated, taught, and trained by their own teachers. . . . We believe that intermarriage or race mixing should be prohibited. . . . We believe that the offer of integration is hypocritical and is made by those who are trying to deceive the black peoples into believing that their 400-year-old open enemies of freedom, justice, and equality are, all of a sudden, their “friends.” Furthermore, we believe that such deception is intended to prevent black people from realizing that the time in history has arrived for the separation from the whites of this nation. . . . 
It is little wonder that the Nation of Islam, like Garvey and Gordon before, is the subject of the same smear-mongering — and from the same sources — as the Dissident Right.
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 Booker T. Washington to Naoichi Masaoka, December 4, 1915, cited by Gerald Horne in “Tokyo Bound: African Americans and Japan Confront White Supremacy,” Souls, Summer 2001, p. 18.
 FBI report, December 5, 1918. Cited by Horne, p. 18.
 Horne, 19.
 Horne, 20.
 Neil A Wynn, The Afro-American and the Second World War (Ph.D. thesis, The Open University, New York, 1973), p. 55. A figure cited is 18% of New York blacks surveyed.
 Wynn, 52.
 Wynn, 53-54.
 Earnest S. Cox, Lincoln’s Negro Policy, p. 55.
 FBI report, May 11, 1942. File # JAX 100-5561. Cox, 56.
 Cox, Lincoln’s Negro Policy, pp. 1-5
 Brenda Gayle Plummer, Rising Wind: Black Americans and US Foreign Affairs 1935-1960 (University of North Carolina Press, 1996), p. 108.
 Langer hearing, Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, “To provide aid to persons in the United States desirous of migrating to the Republic of Liberia,” Washington, DC, June 4, 1953.
 Langer hearing.
 Langer hearing. Appended is the plan referred to in the testimony, “Voluntary Migration Program and Plan of Operation.”
 Long hearing, July 17, 1957.
 Alberta Spain, circular to Senate, ca. 1965.
 Spain circular.
 Willis Carto, Right, no. 12, September 1956.
 Cox, Unending Hate (Virginia, 1955), p. 2.
 Cox, Lincoln’s Negro Policy, p. 46.
 H. R. Helper, The Impending Crisis of the South (1857).
 Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (2016), passim.
 Joseph de Maistre, Consideration on France (1796), VI.
 Condorcet, Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind, quoted by Joseph de Maistre, Essay on the Generative Principle of Political Constitutions and other Human Institutions (1809), XXXIV.
 Elijah Muhammad, “Message to the Blackman in America” (1965).
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Another fine contribution for K. Bolton! Among its valuable information I must note that I find several connections to my own pet subject, the New Thought guru Neville Goddard.
Although Goddard was a White Bajan (i.e. from Barbados), his guru in New York City was a fellow Bajan, a “black Ethiopian rabbi” named Abdullah. Looking to identify this mysterious figure, Mitch Horowitz has uncovered one Arnold Josiah Ford of Harlem. Ford was a proponent of “Ethiopianism”, ie. the return of blacks to Ethiopia, and had been the Music Director of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association.
Haile Salassie offered land grants to American negroes wanting to relocate, and Ford took up the offer in 1931. No further information appears until his death in 1935, a few weeks before Mussolini’s invasion. Yes, just as “white supremacists” and “states rights” ideologists thwarted the Back to Africa movement, Mussolini’s fascist empire-building put an end to the Ethiopianism movement. Thanks guys!
Another connection: in 1942 Neville, though a Bajan citizen still, was drafted due to FDR’s need for more cannon fodder. He eventually extricated himself, but not before undergoing basic training in Georgia. His commanding officer was a Col. Theodore Bilbo, son of Sen. Bilbo. One wonders if Neville used his connection with Ethiopianism to smooth his eventual premature, but honorable, discharge from the Army.
Fascinating additional facts. The world is a perverse place.
Thank you, Dr. Bolton. I have learned much about a nearly new subject for me. I found especially enlightening the criticism of those who allowed their material greed to prevent what might have been a peaceful and workable way to mitigate the American racial problem (between whites and Negroes, as of the mid-20th century, before the Third World immigration invasion). It was greed which brought Africans to the New World; it was greed and liberal utopian sentimentality which has kept them here, with the festering problem of basic incompatibility now possibly reaching a boiling point. I am a supporter of private property and free markets, but not at the expense of other matters of national well-being or survival. The free economy is a good thing, but capitalist ideology should not be allowed to dictate all aspects of life.
I only partly agree with this, however:
“Where and who are the “white supremacists” who seek to impose — by force, if necessary — a universal moral, legal, technical, and economic order straight out of Julian Huxley’s “transhumanist” UNESCO vision? All such universal creeds are antithetical to the “Right,” and that is why the white Right has historically formed alliances with those of other races who want to live among their own kind and with their own traditions and destiny.”
I agree that different forms of communal organization are likely appropriate for differently genetically and culturally evolved peoples, and that these organic forms should not be dispensed with by universalist colonizers. But that does not and should not nullify the noble quest for universal laws underlying surface differences. That search for universality is a hallmark of our race, and one of its best. It has led both to immense improvements in human well-being, as well quantum leaps in white power and preeminence.
The world, social as well as natural, is always in flux. There is no permanent equilibrium (thinking there is is a cardinal mistake of all types of ideologists). One consequence of this was understood by Hobbes – that life is a ceaseless struggle within and among human groups for resources, wealth and power – and Hitler, who saw history as the outcome of this same struggle at the highest level, which is ultimately racial competition. I think these views are correct. If so, then we must be careful to understand, and always re-inculcate, the habits of mind and behavior which led to past white world domination and preeminence. Is it possible to have peaceful racial coexistence on the same planet, even if the races are physically separated, and politically sovereign? I think that should be the aspiration, but we must assume the worst, and this seek to create the kind of white societies which are enduring, and thus never let down their guards. Such societies will be Faustian – relentlessly inquisitive, scientifically but also intellectually.
Fascinating read. Thank you.
Sorry to be so tardy in acknowledging these very useful articles.
Thanks for shedding such light on a propitious and little-known aspect of US race relations. I recall Ivor Benson liaising successfully with Black Separatists in Washington DC during the 70s and sharing common perspectives on apartheid. I did not then appreciate the historical background involved which is hugely significant and gives the lie to the vicious conflation of White separatism and White supremacy. After decades of liberalist/elitist failure, it may well be that the answer to the current impasse may lay just where it did almost a century ago.
Brilliant stuff Dr Bolton and thank you Counter-Currents for continuing to provide, in spite of everything, the invaluable platform you do.
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