Charlotta Bass

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Charlotta Bass


Charlotta Bass was born in Sumter, South Carolina on February 14, 1874. She relocated to California in 1910 for health reasons. Charlotta Bass took over control of The California Eagle, upon the death of the paper’s founder, John James Neimore, in 1912 and served as its publisher until 1951. She and her husband Joseph Bass, who had served as editor of the Topeka Plain Dealer and the Montana Plain Dealer used The Eagle to push for reforms.

They combatted such issues as the derogatory images rampant in D.W. Griffith’s film, Birth of A Nation; Los Angeles’ discriminatory hiring practices; the Klu Klux Klan; police brutality; and restrictive housing covenants. Bass’ uncompromising stance against racial injustice resulted in her life being threatened on numerous occasions. She was branded a communist, and the FBI placed her under surveillance on the charge that her paper was seditious. However, this never deterred her or her paper from seeking civil and political rights for African Americans and the disadvantaged.

Bass retired from the newspaper business in 1951. Her later years were devoted to politics. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1969.[1]

White House run

Vicent Hallinan, Charlotta Bass, Paul Robeson

In 1952 Charlotta Bass became the first African-American woman to run for national office as the Vice Presidential candidate on the Progressive Party ticket.

Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee

Charlotta Bass worked on issues that also attracted Luisa Moreno, who was active in Afro-Chicano politics in Los Angeles during the 1930s-1950. No record shows that the two women ever met, but in 1943 both served on the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, a multiracial group that fought for the release of several Chicanos convicted of murder by an all-white jury making Bass and Moreno part of the same "constellation" of struggle.

California Eagle

Charlotta Bass was the editor of the California Eagle.

Supporting Elsie Monjar

In 1947, Charlotta Bass was active in the Citizens Committee to Elect Elsie Monjar - Elsie Monjar was a Communist Party USA candidate for Los Angeles City Council.[2]

Herbert Aptheker Testimonial Dinner

On April 28, 1966 Charlotta Bass was a sponsor of the Herbert Aptheker Testimonial Dinner. The dinner was held on the occasion of Herbert Aptheker's 50th birthday, the publication of his 20th book, and the 2nd anniversary of the American Institute for Marxist Studies. It was held in the Sutton Ballroom, The New York Hilton, Avenue of the Americas, 53rd to 54th Street, New York City. Most speakers, organizers and sponsors were known members or supporters of the Communist Party USA.[3]

L.A. Committee for Defense of the Bill of Rights and Protection of Foreign Born

In 1966, the officers of the Los Angeles Committee for Defense of the Bill of Rights and Protection of Foreign Born were[4];

Rt Rev Walter Mitchell, Charlotta Bass, Reuben Borough, Jacquelin Clack, Hugh DeLacy, Judge Stanley Moffatt, Rev Stephen Fritchman, Hon Robert W. Kenny, Mrs Dorothy Marshall

References