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Black newspaper publisher called a subversive, 1963

September 13, 2008 | 10:06 am

Notes from the political fringe on EBay. 

California Eagle publisher Charlotta Bass appears on a list of 'people who are against the John Birch Society and other patriotic organizations.'

Kangaroo_court_crop_2I'm always looking for historic material on the African American papers in Los Angeles, and that includes items on Bass, especially a copy of her book "Forty Years: Memoirs From the Pages of a Newspaper."

Her name rarely pops up on EBay, but I'm patient and sometimes I'm rewarded. Imagine my surprise, however, when this little item became available. A.J. MacDonald's "Kangaroo Court Versus the John Birch Society" was published in 1963 as a response to Mike Newberry's 1961 "The Fascist Revival ... the Inside Story of the John Birch Society."

After 40 years of journalism in Los Angeles, Bass went into politics and was the vice presidential candidate on the Progressive ticket in 1952. The Times did not publish her obituary after she died April 12, 1969.

MacDonald's list of subversives includes Gus Hall, Dalton Trumbo, Paul Robeson, Alger Hiss, Harry Bridges, Victor Perlo, Dorothy Ray Healey and Jack Stachel.

MacDonald apparently operated out of Los Angeles. His biography says he was a fundraiser for Pat Brown. Otherwise, there is little information about him.

The Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research has more information on Bass. Photographs from the California Eagle are at USC. An index of her papers is here.