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Building Bridges Radio: Red Seas: Ferdinand Smith & Radical Black Sailors

Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report
National Edition
Produced by Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash
Red Seas: Ferdinand Smith & Radical Black Sailors in the
United States & Jamaica
Gerald Horne, Prof. of History and African-American studies at the
University of Houston

During the heyday of the U.S. & international labor movements in the 1930s & 1940s. Ferdinand Smith, the Jamaican-born co-founder and second-in-command of the National Maritime Union, stands out as one of the most “if not the most” powerful black labor leaders in the United States. Smith’s active membership in the Communist Party, however, coupled with his bold labor radicalism & shaky immigration status, brought him under continual surveillance by U.S. authorities, especially during the red Scare in the ’50s. Smith was eventually deported to his homeland of Jamaica, where he continued his radical labor & political organizing until his death in 1961. Horne draws on Smith’s life to make insightful connections between labor radicalism & the Civil Rights Movement “demonstrating that the gains of the latter were propelled by the former & undermined by anticommunism”. Moreover,
Red Seas uncovers the little-known experiences of black sailors
and the contribution to the struggle for labor and civil rights, the history of the Communist Party and its black members, and the significant dimension of Jamaican labor and political radicalism
To Download or listen to this 26 minute radio program go to our website  

Building Bridges is regularly broadcast live over WBAI,
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7-8pm EST and is streamed, archived and pod cast at

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as well as internet stations:

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Seattle Radical Radio
Radio for Peace International
Grateful Dread Public Radio
Detour Network, Knoxville, TN
For archived Building Bridges National Programs go to
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