George Padmore Collection
Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
George Padmore, born Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse in Trinidad, worked there as a reporter with the Trinidad Publishing Company before moving to the United States in 1924 to study medicine. In 1927 he changed his name, and became editor of the newspaper Negro Champion.
Padmore joined the American Communist Party's American Negro Labour Congress, while contributing articles to the left-wing newspaper the Daily Worker. His talents as an organizer and writer led to his appointment as head of the Communist International's "Negro Bureau." From 1929 to 1933 he was a leading agitator for colonial revolution, travelling widely and residing for periods in Moscow, Hamburg, Vienna, London and Paris, as well as editing and writing for the Negro Worker. The rise of Nazism in Germany led the Soviet Union to join the League of Nations and seek new diplomatic and military ties with Britain and France; anti-colonialism was no longer the central issue it once was for the Communist International. Disillusioned, Padmore resigned from his positions and faced vicious Stalinist slander and verbal attacks, and in 1935, left Russia and returned to England. In 1937, he formed the International African Service Bureau, later the Pan-African Federation and in 1945, together with Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah, he was central in organising the Fifth Pan African Congress held in Manchester, England, which was attended by many scholars, intellectuals and political activists who would later go on to become influential leaders in various African independence movements and the American civil rights movement.
The collection consists of original correspondence, essays, and articles of George Padmore, from the period following his "expulsion" or resignation from the Communist Party up until the end of World War II. The correspondence is chiefly between Padmore and Henry Lee Moon, editor of the New York newspaper the New Amsterdam.
During this period, Padmore began a heated public exchange with the Communist Party, as they both were sending dueling letters to Moon, and to other newspapers for publication. Included is an essay, signed and annotated by Padmore for the Amsterdam News dated February 3, 1934, related to his expulsion from the Party. There are several autograph and typed letters to Moon. In a letter dated July 9, 1934, Padmore writes about his dispute with the Communist Party, and in another dated April 1945 he asks Moon to promote the idea of a Pan African Congress in his newspaper. Bearing the same above date, is an "Open letter to Earl Browder, Secretary of the American Communist Party," justifying Padmore's break with the Party. The editorial titled "Padmore Replies to Harry Heywood's Slanders" is also included. To be found is a letter from Moon to W. E. B. Du Bois, asking him to participate in the Fifth Pan African Congress.
Also included is an autograph letter signed from Mrs. Moon to her husband, sent from Berlin on May 11, 1933, regarding the state of black and white race relations in Nazi Germany. There are several letters and press releases, mostly sent to Moon, defending the Communist Party for expelling Padmore. There is a letter and an article from Cyril Briggs, the African-American writer and communist political activist, to Moon and the Amsterdam News, justifying the Communist Party's decision to expel Padmore, and a copy of an unsigned article "James Ford answers Padmore's Charges."
Material is arranged in chronological order.
The collection originally was Henry Lee Moon's Archive of George Padmore.
The collection was purchased from The Raab Collection on April 11, 2008 (AM 2008-92).
Some of the material is extremely fragile, please do not remove from the Mylar folders.
This collection was processed by Dina Britain on April 15, 2008. Finding aid written by Dina Britain on April 16, 2008.
No appraisal information is available.
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Author
- Dina Britain
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
ALS from Mrs. Henry Lee Moon to her husband written from Berlin, Germany, on the state of black versus white relations in Nazi Germany, also asking him to destroy the letter; 4 pp.Physical Description
TLS with many annotations and corrections from Padmore to Moon, with an essay titled "Why I Left the Communist International - Padmore Refutes Lies and Slanders by Communists," meant for publication in the New Amsterdam. Included in the essay is a copy of Padmore's letter to the Communist Party; 5 pp.Physical Description
Typed essay, unsigned, with minor corrections, likely in Padmore's hand, titled "The West Indies Take a Step Backwards", from The Panama Tribune; 3 pp.Physical Description
TLS from Padmore to Moon sent from France, hoping that Moon will send him a copy of the newspaper which includes his article; 1 p.Physical Description
TLS from Padmore to Moon regarding his dispute with the Communist Party, and asking Moon to publish his "An Open Letter;" 1 p.Physical Description
TLS Padmore's letter to Earl Browder which he sent to Moon for publishing in the New Amsterdam titled "An Open Letter to Earl Browder, Secretary of the American Communist Party;" 5 pp.Physical Description
TLS from Cyril Briggs to "The Editor" of the New Amsterdam, Henry Lee Moon, in response to Padmore's letters; 1 p.Physical Description
Cyril Brigg's printed article which he sent to Moon titled "Letter to the New York Amsterdam News" with editorial annotations probably by Moon; 3 pp.Physical Description
Printed article "James Ford Answers Padmore's Charges," unsigned press release with annotations by Moon in which Ford defends the Communist Party's position, criticizing the perceived bias at Moon's newspaper; 3 pp.Physical Description
A typed editorial signed by Padmore with corrections and annotations sent to Moon titled "Padmore Replies to Hary Haywood's Slanders - Refutes Charges of Being Imperialist Agent;" 5 pp.Physical Description
TLS from Padmore to Moon regarding an article in the London Daily Mail about banning a recently published anthology on the "Negro Race" from Trinidad and Barbados; 1p.Physical Description
ALS from Padmore to Moon regarding these "Little Red Uncle Toms" who are trying to clean up the Moscow bureaucracy; 2 pp.Physical Description
ALS from Padmore to Moon written on "Organisation Committee of the Negro World Unity Conference" letterhead, enclosing a newspaper clipping of an article "Hitlerism in Nigeria;" 2 pp.Physical Description
Typed article by Cecil S. Hope sent to the editor of the Daily Worker in New York City, defending himself against accusations by the Communist Party; 3 pp.Physical Description
ALS from Padmore to Moon explaining why the 'Russian Reds''got cold feet and deserted the Africans when the British imperialists began to attack the Negro Worker," the New York daily. Padmore also encloses an essay for the New Amsterdam; 2 pp.Physical Description
Typewritten essay with autograph corrections, which Padmore sent to Moon with the above letter for publication. It is titled "Where is Huiswood Now? Reds Kick Out Negro Lackey" and it is signed "By a Special Correspondent."; 2 pp.Physical Description
ALS from Padmore to Moon telling him about his press release for the Pittsburgh Courier, the discussions regarding the Pan African Congress, and urging Moon to promote it in his newspaper; 1 p.Physical Description
Western Union telegram of a press release sent by Padmore to the Pittsburgh Courier, which he enclosed with the above letter to Moon. It was the announcement of the Pan African Congress, to be held in Manchester, England, giving the names of the elected members of the British Provisional Committee including Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, James Taylor of the Gold Coast, Peter Milliard of British Guiana, and Wallace Johnson of West Africa; 2 pp.Physical Description
Memorandum to Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois from Moon informing him about the Pan African Congress, the Provisional Committee and its members, giving him a list of names of people who are interested in the Congress, and asking Du Bois for his participation in the Congress.; 2 pp.Physical Description