Augustus Hawkins

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Augustus Hawkins

Cannon connection

As a member of the Communist Party USA, Oneil Cannon became the education director in the Southern California District, and a member of the Party’s Southern California and National Central Committees.

Cannon was committed to electing Black and Latino representatives at all levels of government. He helped to elect Augustus Hawkins, Tom Bradley, Ed Roybal, Diane Watson, Maxine Waters, and Karen Bass.

Cannon campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008, and wept with joy along with millions of others when he was elected. He died peacefully, wearing one of his Obama T-shirts.[1]

Don Luce connection

One of Don Luce’s former agriculture college students had been imprisoned at Con Son. Students protesting the imprisonment had written a report on conditions at the prison, which Luce and a Quaker friend translated and sent to hundreds of newspapers around the US. While Luce was preparing the report for distribution, he recruited Congressmen William Anderson and Augustus Hawkins and Congressional aide Tom Harkin to stray away from an official Congressional delegation to Saigon for a private fact-finding trip to Con Son in July 1970. Harkin forced his Vietnamese hosts to let him into the prison, violated security procedures by walking among the inmates, and shot some photos of prison cells with bars in the ceiling under catwalks, which shouting prisoners reportedly alleged were used for abusing inmates by dumping things from the ceiling. Luce’s factfinding team then went back to Saigon and collected abuse allegations from five former inmates who had been imprisoned as suspected Communists. The allegations collected by Luce’s team were disputed by officials who claimed the catwalks were used for observing inmates rather than for abuse. The US Agency for International Development’s Senior Advisor to the South Vietnamese Director of Corrections, Don Bordenkircher, would later extensively criticize the Luce team’s allegations, arguing, “The Tiger Cage story put out in 1970 stands as one of the most successful operations ever undertaken by Hanoi's Department of Psychological Warfare.” The majority of other Congressmen investigating the matter decided they did not find the Luce team’s allegations persuasive enough to include in their official report.

Bypassing his colleagues’ objections, Harkin called a press conference and denounced the official report as “a whitewash or a snow job”. He allowed Luce to provide some of his photographs for a pictorial essay in the July 17, 1970 issue of LIFE. Luce also supplied photographs to the underground paper Liberation News Service (LNS, supported by IPS) and wrote pieces on the subject for a British antiwar paper, the Manchester Guardian, as well as several Vietnamese newspapers. This led the government of South Vietnam to inform him that his press card would not be renewed.

No longer welcome in South Vietnam, Luce began telling his Tiger Cages story around the United States as he toured the country from 1971 to 1974 with what he called the Indochina Mobile Education Project. This involved Luce travelling by bus around the country and presenting visual aids designed to arouse opposition to the war and pressure Congress to cut off aid to South Vietnam.[2]

Founding Members CBC

The following were founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus:[3]

References

  1. [http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/oneil-cannon-longtime-communist-centenarian/ PW Oneil Cannon, longtime Communist, centenarian February 15, 2017 2:09 PM CST BY SPECIAL TO PEOPLESWORLD.ORG]
  2. [http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1660323/posts. FreeRepublic, Posted on Wednesday, 5 July 2006 8:02:34 a.m. by Fedora Goodfellow’s Bedfellows, Who’s in Bed with the Washington Post]
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named history