You can read the historic petition here, learn about Black presence in revolutionary movements on this page. Our index is at the end.


William Patterson and Paul Robeson took 'We Charge Genocide' to the United Nations: one to Paris, another to New York.

NAACP's 1947 An Appeal to the World preceded 'We Charge Genocide', and was written by W.E.B. DuBois on American racism. U.S. government refused to support its argument for accountability and reconciliation with the Black diaspora. December 4th came, United Nations rejected their proposal. So DuBois tried again four years later.

This time, the truth wouldn't be buried. Their bravery sounded a new wave of anti-imperialist American action. And predictably, it gained animosity from many contemporaries in their day.


"There are in the United States of America, 15 millions or more native-born citizens, something less than a tenth of the nation who form largely a segregated caste with restricted legal rights, and many illegal disabilities. 

They are descendants of Africans brought to America during the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries and reduced to slave labor.


...A nation which boldly declared “That all men are created equal,” proceeded to build its economy on chattel slavery; masters who declared race mixture impossible, sold their own children into slavery and left a mulatto progeny, which neither law nor science can today disentangle.

 Rosina Downs, Charley Taylor and Rebecca Huger, 1864 (mixed-race).
Found at the Library of Congress.

Today the paradox again looms after the Second World War. When will nations learn that their enemies are quite as often within their own country as without?

It is not Russia that threatens the United States so much as Mississippi; not Stalin and Molotov, but Bilbo and Rankin. Internal injustice done to one’s brothers is far more dangerous than the aggression of strangers from abroad.

The United States is honor bound not only to protect its own people and its own interests, but to guard and respect the various peoples of the world who are its guests and allies.

Because of caste custom and legislation along the color line, the U.S. is today in danger of encroaching upon the rights and privileges of its fellow nations. This question...becomes inevitably an international question, and will in the future become more and more as the nations draw together.

In this great attempt to find common ground and maintain peace, it is therefore fitting and proper that thirteen million American citizens of Negro descent should appeal to the United Nations."

W.E.B. DuBois, “An Appeal to the World: A Statement of Denial of Human Rights to Minorities..."


Senate ratified the United Nations Charter (pg. 17). We know from historical disputes that select charters are obeyed. So why did U.S. government ignore this one despite the treaty status and its role in founding the U.N.? Read below about this groundbreaking document.

A scathing 240-page petition, it accused U.S. government of fiercely enacted genocide against African-descended people. 'We Charge Genocide' cited over 150 Black killings by police and 10,000 previously undocumented cases. Morever, it included initiatives of Black genocide from colonial to modern times.

The U.S. government orchestrated voting suppression via literacy tests, poor education, and economic inequality. 'We Charge Genocide' linked Nazi campaigns to previous American ones. Refresh your memory on American authority, Christianity and racism's connections on World Future Fund.

An unsettling statement by the WCF New Dealer in 1942.

"The Genocide Convention, however, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1948, defines genocide as any killings on the basis of race, or specifically as “killing members of the group.”

The Convention states, “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group,” is genocide as well as “killing members of the group.” We maintain therefore that the oppressed Negro citizens of the United States suffer from genocide as the result of the consistent, conscious, unified policies of every branch of government.

The Genocide Convention, as well as the provisions of the United Nations Charter, supersedes, negates and displaces all discriminatory racist law on the books of the United States and the several states."


"We petition in the first instance because we are compelled to speak by the unending slaughter of Negroes. The fact of our ethnic origin, of which we are proud—our ancestors were building the world’s first civilizations 3,000 years before our oppressors emerged from barbarism in the forests of western Europe—is daily made the signal for segregation and murder." Read True Africa for a diasporic overview.


"We have not dealt here with the cruel and inhuman policy of this government toward the people of Puerto Rico. Impoverished and reduced to a semi-literate state through the wanton exploitation and oppression by gigantic American concerns, this colony of the rulers of the United States reveals in all its stark nakedness the moral bankruptcy of this government."


"Our evidence begins with 1945 and continues to the present (1951)."


"February 25— 500 National Guardsmen swarmed into the Negro section of Columbia, TN, firing riot guns and other firearms. Police opened up with machine guns on the Negroes barricaded in their homes. Every Negro business establishment in the two black business areas was completely wrecked.

* May—The United States Supreme Court denied the appeal of the two Negro children, James Lewis, Jr., 14, and Charles Trudell, 15, of Natchez, MS. The boys had been convicted of killing a white farmer in 1946. They were electrocuted after the denial by the Supreme Court.

In a radio address from Jackson, Mississippi on June 22, Senator Theodore Bilbo announced that he was a Klansman. He called upon "every red-blooded American in Mississippi to resort to any means at their command".



Former Attorney and Solicitor Generals Tom Clarke and Philip Perlman release a brief against racially segregated housing. It's later published as Prejudice and Poverty and included in the petition (pg. 50).

"The combination of inadequate housing with racial segregation has most unfortunate economic, social and psychological effects. Colored people are forced to pay higher rents and housing costs by the semi-monopoly which segregation fosters. The incidence of crime and juvenile delinquency is much greater, and the occurrence of death and disease among Negroes is substantially increased."

"April—Almas Shaw of Birmingham, AL was killed during a fight with police. Police claimed he ran and that when they caught him, he hit his head on the base of stone building. Killing was third in three weeks by police, as terrorist group Black Raiders resumed operations.

June—Senator Allen J. Ellender of Louisiana, told the Senate: "The more freedom and the more privilege a Negro is given, the more he will abuse that privilege. He will run wild and do violence to the society in which he moves."

August—Joe W. Perkins was killed by Birmingham, AL police who said he was trying to escape. He was the ninth Negro slain by police in the past four months."


Police and mobbers beating Eugene Bullard (first Black military pilot)
as he attends Paul Robeson's concert in Peekskill, NY 1949

"June 5—An unidentified Negro man was beaten to death in a Washington, D.C. penitentiary. Attested to by fellow prisoners. No mention of incident in press.

Georgia Governor Herman Talmadge over the radio on October 22: "We intend to fight hand to hand with all our weapons, and we will never submit to one inch of encroachment on our traditional pattern of segregation."


Source: BlackPast.org

February 2 and 5—The Martinsville Seven Negroes were electrocuted in Richmond, VA for a crime they could not have committed, according to the evidence. The alleged crime was rape of a white woman who had since disappeared.

They were: Francis Grayson, Fran Hairston Jr., James and J. L. Hairston, Joe Henry Hampton, Booker T. Millner and Clabon Taylor. (Mrs. Josephine Grayson is one of the present petitioners.) This links to the full evidence compilation.


The biting reality of America's 500-Year-War proved itself when each signee became public enemy #1. Mainstream white media and upper-class Black leadership could not have been more mortified.

W.E.B. DuBois was labelled an unregistered foreign agent by U.S. authorities, and barred from travel shortly after this petition. This trailed a dubious lawsuit with the Justice Department.

Eleanor Roosevelt vented to Amsterdam News one month later that "the charge of genocide against the colored people in America is ridiculous in terms of the United Nations definition!" Truthfully, she and her husband were well-aware atrocities against Black citizens deserved attention.

Patterson had to surrender his passport at NY's International Airport, courtesy of the State Department (Google News). Edith Sampson refused to ostracize their allies, even though lifelong colleagues Dr. Tobias and Ralph Bunche ignored him.

"Some of these people here are ashamed to be seen talking to you, but I am not."

Paul Robeson immediately came under fire from elite Black organizations like the NAACP. Many CRC members had Communist or Socialist affiliations abroad, so eventually the Civil Rights Congress disbanded.

Time tells us still that U.S. government lies hold less weight than universal truth. African civilizations have been looted and subjugated to Anglo-imperialism. Lynching occured often as four times a day in the Jim Crow South. Indians knew about the Martinsville Seven and Emmett Till now.

Europeans learned our government's identity: a white supremacist system that built its wealth and power off of indigenous Black or American people, not 'democracy'...The world understood America's concept of freedom meant religious hypocrisy and racist class divides. This document indicted U.S. imperialism on a global scale.

Though 'We Charge Genocide' centered Black genocide, its implication for non-Western nations foretold their fate as well. America stood on Africa and Asia's doorstep. Ominous truth emerges with revolution at its heels. Malcolm X considered 'We Charge Genocide' necessary knowledge. So did the Black Panther Party.

American pressure on committee members is an important factor to remember. Though UN insists they never received 'We Charge Genocide', the 125 issued copies were intercepted). Even the United Nations fear U.S. political retaliation.

Visit BlackPast.org's excerpt of this historic petition. You can also find a library on African history, the diaspora and 500-Year-War. The text is free.


Archive.org (PDF)

Google Play (PDF)

Race and Public Housing: Revisiting the Federal Role