On this day on 21st June

On this day in 1801 The Observer reports that Thomas Spence is found guilty of seditious libel. "The defendant Thomas Spence was brought into court to receive judgment for having published a seditious libel, called Spence's Restorer of Society. Mr. Justice Grose addressed the defendant upon the enormity of the publication of which he had been found guilty. It was a libel directly against the existence of the Government of the country, and recommended the subversion of those laws on which private property was founded, and by the operation of which, the industry, trade, commerce and wealth of the country, had arrived at so high a pitch. It was calculated to level all distinctions in society, and to make the weak and helpless prey to the strong and ferocious; it promoted a system of rapine and murder, to which the defendant, whose wickedness was only equalled by his weakness and imbecility, must inevitably have been one of the first sacrifices. Such a plan of equalisation could only have the effect of making the people all equally poor and wretched. For this offence the Court directed that he should be fined the sum of £20, be imprisoned 12 months in the gaol of Salop."

Thomas Spence was born in Newcastle in 1750. Spence became a schoolmaster and he gradually developed radical political views and in the 1770s began to argue that all land should be nationalised. Spence was strongly influenced by the writings of Tom Paine. In Newcastle he sold Paine's work on the street as well as pamphlets that he had written.

In December 1792 Spence moved to London and attempted to make a living my selling Tom Paine's Rights of Man on street corners. He was arrested but soon after he was released from prison he opened a shop in Chancery Lane where he sold radical books and pamphlets. In 1793 he started a periodical, Pigs' Meat. He said in the first edition: "Awake! Arise! Arm yourselves with truth, justice, reason. Lay siege to corruption. Claim as your inalienable right, universal suffrage and annual parliaments. And whenever you have the gratification to choose a representative, let him be from among the lower orders of men, and he will know how to sympathize with you."

Francis Place got to know him during this period. He later pointed out: "Thomas Spence was not more than five feet high, very honest, simple, single-minded, who loved mankind, and firmly believed that a time would come when men would be virtuous, wise and happy."

In May 1794 Spence was arrested and imprisoned and because Habeas Corpus had been suspended, the authorities were able to hold him without trial until December 1794. After his release from prison Thomas Spence moved to a shop he called the "Hive of Liberty", in Little Turnstile, Holban but in 1801 he was arrested and imprisoned for selling seditious publications. At his trial Spence called himself the unpaid "advocate of the disinherited seed of Adam".

Thomas Spence was born in Newcastle in 1750. Spence became a schoolmaster and he gradually developed radical political views and in the 1770s began to argue that all land should be nationalised. Spence was strongly influenced by the writings of Tom Paine. In Newcastle he sold Paine's work on the street as well as pamphlets that he had written.

In December 1792 Spence moved to London and attempted to make a living my selling Tom Paine's Rights of Man on street corners. He was arrested but soon after he was released from prison he opened a shop in Chancery Lane where he sold radical books and pamphlets. In 1793 he started a periodical, Pigs' Meat. He said in the first edition: "Awake! Arise! Arm yourselves with truth, justice, reason. Lay siege to corruption. Claim as your inalienable right, universal suffrage and annual parliaments. And whenever you have the gratification to choose a representative, let him be from among the lower orders of men, and he will know how to sympathize with you."

Francis Place got to know him during this period. He later pointed out: "Thomas Spence was not more than five feet high, very honest, simple, single-minded, who loved mankind, and firmly believed that a time would come when men would be virtuous, wise and happy."

In May 1794 Spence was arrested and imprisoned and because Habeas Corpus had been suspended, the authorities were able to hold him without trial until December 1794. After his release from prison Thomas Spence moved to a shop he called the "Hive of Liberty", in Little Turnstile, Holban but in 1801 he was arrested and imprisoned for selling seditious publications. At his trial Spence called himself the unpaid "advocate of the disinherited seed of Adam".

After Spence's release he opened a shop in Oxford Street. The business was not a success and he eventually ended up selling broadsheets, handbills, newspapers and pamphlets from a barrow. To increase trade he also sold a hot drink called saloop. Spence wrote a great deal of the work that he sold. Spence was one of the first radicals to advocate women's rights. He also campaigned for changes in the law to make it possible for working people to be able to obtain a divorce. He argued in Divorce and the Common People (1805): "What signifies reforms of government or redress of public grievances, if people cannot have their domestic grievances redressed."

By the early 1800s Spence had established himself as the unofficial leader of those Radicals who advocated revolution. James Watson, was one of the men who worked very closely with Spence during this period. Spence did not believe in a centralized radical body and instead encouraged the formation of small groups that could meet in local public houses. At the night the men walked the streets and chalked on the walls slogans such as "Spence's Plan and Full Bellies" and "The Land is the People's Farm". In 1800 and 1801 the authorities believed that Spence and his followers were responsible for bread riots in London. However, they did not have enough evidence to arrest them.

Thomas Spence continued his campaign and was one of the eighteen radical journalists who was tried in British courts between 1808 and 1810. When Thomas Spence died in September 1814 he was buried by "forty disciples" who pledged that they would keep his ideas alive. This group of men formed the Society of Spencean Philanthropists and continued to meet for the next six years. It was Spenceans such as Arthur Thistlewood, James Ings, John Brunt, William Davidson and Richard Tidd that organised the Cato Street Conspiracy in 1820.

Trade token produced by Thomas Spenceshowing William Pitt on the gallows (c. 1800)
Trade token produced by Thomas Spence showing William Pitt on the gallows (c. 1800)

On this day in 1882 artist Rockwell Kent was born in New York on 21st June 1882. He studied architecture at Columbia University (1900-03) and art at the New York School of Art (1903-04) where he was influenced by Robert Henri and was associated with the social realist Ash Can group of artists. Kent's first one man's show was at the Clausen Galleries in 1908.

Kent was involved with the radical journal, The Masses, and in 1912 was responsible for recruiting Maurice Becker to the staff. Kent left in 1916 with John Sloan and Stuart Davis over a dispute concerning the role of illustrations in the journal.

After spending the winter of 1918 on Fox Island in Alaska he published an illustrated account of his experiences in Wilderness (1920). In the 1920s he established a reputation as an engraver, lithographer and illustrator. He also produced the mural for the General Electric Company Building (1939). His autobiography, It's Me O Lord was published in 1955.

Throughout his life he remained a left-wing activist and was blacklisted as a result of the activities of Joe McCarthy and the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Kent received the Lenin Peace Prize in 1967, a portion of which he donated to North Vietnam. Rockwell Kent died on 13th March 1971.

Rockwell Kent, Workers of the World, Unite! (1937)
Rockwell Kent, Workers of the World, Unite! (1937)

On this day in 1903 caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, one of three sons of Isaac and Rebecca Hirschfeld, was born in St Louis. When Hirschfeld was a teenager the family moved to Manhattan. He later studied at the Art Students League.

In 1920 Hirschfeld began work at Selznick Studios. Four years later he moved to Paris where he studied painting, sculpture and drawing.. When he returned to the United States he became a regular contributor to the New Masses. In 1933 Hirschfeld became one of the first cartoonists in America to attack the rule of Adolf Hitler.

He also co-edited a satirical journal, Americana, with Alexander King in the early 1930s and has written and illustrated many books. Hirschfeld also worked for the New York Herald Tribune and the New York Times. He created great controversty when he produced a very hostile caricature of Charles E. Coughlin, the right-wing, anti-Semitic radio priest. Soon afterwards he rejected the idea of being a political artist. He pointed out in The World of Hirschfeld (1970): ''I have ever since been closer to Groucho Marx than to Karl.''

His caricatures of theatrical personalities appeared in several publications. He later wrote: "The art of caricature, or rather the special branch of it that interests me, is not necessarily one of malice... It is never my aim to destroy the play or the actor by ridicule. The passion of personal conviction belongs to the playwright; the physical interpretation of the character belongs to the actor; the delineation in line belongs to me. My contribution is to take the character - created by the playwright and acted out by the actor -- and reinvent it for the reader.''

According to Christopher Hawtree: "After 1945 there was always a number next to his signature: a tally of the times that he had worked the name of his daughter Nina into the drawing, into perhaps a beard or a necklace - they could pop up anywhere. Finding Nina each week had such a following that he could not drop the game, and Nina came to feel that the strange fame hindered her life. The Pentagon paid a professor to develop a programme that made Nina-spotting part of the bomb-aiming training of pilots. The US Postal Service waived its policy forbidding secret marks and allowed her tiny name on five stamps depicting comedians which were designed by Hirschfeld in 1991."

Hirschfeld also illustrated several books including Manhattan Oases (1932), Westward Ha! (1948), Swiss Family Perelman (1950), Show Business Is No Business (1951), Treadmill to Oblivion (1954), The World of Hirschfeld (1970), The Lively Years (1973), Hirschfeld by Hirschfeld (1979), Hirschfeld on Line (1999) and Hirschfeld's Hollywood (2001).

Albert Hirschfeld died on 20th January, 2003.

Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Katherine Houghton and Sidney Poitier in the film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (1968).
Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Katherine Houghton and
Sidney Poitier in the film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (1968).

On this day in 1905 Jean-Paul Sartre was born in Paris, France, on 21st June, 1905. After studying at the Sorbonne he taught philosophy at La Havre, Paris and Berlin. An existentialist, he published his autobiographical novel, Nausea in 1938.

On the outbreak of the Second World War Sartre joined the French Army and fought during the Western Offensive. Captured by the German Army in June 1940, he remained a prisoner of war until escaping in March 1941.

Sartre returned to Paris and returned to teaching and writing. This included two plays, The Flies and No Exit. He also joined the French Resistance and became co-editor with Albert Camus, of the clandestine newspaper, Combat.

After the war Sartre became a leading figure of the left-wing in France. In 1946 he founded with Simone de Beavoir, the advant-garde monthly Modern Times. He also published an explanation of his philosophy in his book Existentialism and Humanism (1948) and Being and Nothingness (1956). Other notable works include Crime Passionnel and the trilogy Paths of Freedom. His autobiography, Words, was published in 1964.

In the late 1960s Sartre became one of the leaders of the opposition to the United States policy in Vietnam. He also supported the student rebellions in 1968.

Jean-Paul Sartre died in Paris on 15th April, 1980.

Rajani Palme Dutt
Jean-Paul Sartre

On this day in 1908 Grace Roe heard Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst speaking in Hyde Park. She later recalled: "It was a bright, sunny day. There was Mrs Pankhurst, this magnificent figure, like a Queen... Christabel Pankhurst had taken off her bonnet and cloak, and was wearing a green tussore silk dress. She was very graceful, had lovely hands and a wonderful way of using them." Although Grace was very impressed with the arguments she heard that day, she did not initially join the Women's Social and Political Union because of press reports that they were "unwomanly women".

Grace Roe continued to go to WSPU meetings and it was after hearing Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence speak at a Queen's Hall meeting in October 1908 that she joined the movement. She had been left a large legacy by her family and so she was able to devote her energies to the cause. Grace was arrested for the first time during a demonstration at the House of Commons on 29th June 1909.

In 1910 Grace was appointed as WSPU organiser in East Anglia. At the time, the WSPU only had one member in the region. Based in Ipswich, Grace arranged for Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and Constance Lytton to speak in the town.

Grace Roe was the organizer at the Bromley and Bow by-election when George Lansbury stood unsuccessfully as a woman's suffrage candidate. In her book, The Suffrage Movement (1931), Sylvia Pankhurst is highly critical of Grace's organisation of the campaign.

In December 1912 Emmeline Pankhurst appointed Grace as deputy to Annie Kenney in London. Kenney was charged with "incitement to riot" in April 1913. She was found guilty at the Old Bailey and was sentenced to eighteen months in Maidstone Prison. Grace Roe now became head of operations in London.

Grace Roe was arrested on 23rd May 1914. She went on hunger strike and was forcibly fed and was still in prison. Mary Richardson wrote a letter about the condition of Grace Roe in The Suffragette: "I was in the next cell to Grace Roe since her conviction and had frequent conversations with her. I consider her the most injured by forcible feeding of any in Holloway… Grace suffers extremely from pain in her nose, throat and stomach all day and night, says she feels as if the tube were always in her body. She says that mentally this is telling on her, and she sometimes feels something would crack in her brain. She anticipates an utter collapse on her release. She is very thin, so thin she can be in no position without positive pain in her bones; she is frightfully anaemic and says her gums are chalk white, and indeed her whole face is."

On 4th August, 1914, England declared war on Germany. A few days later the leadership of the WSPU began negotiating with the British government. On the 10th August the government announced it was releasing all suffragettes from prison. In return, the WSPU agreed to end their militant activities and help the war effort. Emmeline Pankhurst announced that all militants had to "fight for their country as they fought for the vote." Ethel Smyth pointed out in her autobiography, Female Pipings for Eden (1933): "Mrs Pankhurst declared that it was now a question of Votes for Women, but of having any country left to vote in. The Suffrage ship was put out of commission for the duration of the war, and the militants began to tackle the common task." Annie Kenney reported that orders came from Christabel Pankhurst: "The Militants, when the prisoners are released, will fight for their country as they have fought for the Vote."

After receiving a £2,000 grant from the government, the WSPU organised a demonstration in London. Members carried banners with slogans such as "We Demand the Right to Serve", "For Men Must Fight and Women Must work" and "Let None Be Kaiser's Cat's Paws". At the meeting, attended by 30,000 people, Emmeline Pankhurst called on trade unions to let women work in those industries traditionally dominated by men. Grace Row also spoke at these meetings. She also travelled to Newcastle to speak out against labour unrest in the city.

In 1918 Grace Roe went to live with Annie Kenney in St Leonards-on-Sea in Sussex. The two women became followers of Annie Besant, who was the leader of the Theosophy movement in Britain. According to Elizabeth Crawford, the author of The Suffragette Movement (1999), Grace Roe later "remarked on the part played by theosophists behind the scenes of the militant suffrage movement. She made the point that theosophy not only gave a spiritual dimension to their lives but, cutting across class, put people in touch with each other who would have been unlikely otherwise to meet."

Grace Roe remained with Annie Kenney until her marriage to James Taylor and the birth of their son, Warwick Kenney Taylor. In 1921 she went to Canada with Christabel Pankhurst. They eventually settled in Santa Barbara but later moved to Hollywood. Both women became prominent members of the Second Adventist Movement and lectured on the Second Coming. After Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst decided to run a tea-shop on the French Riviera in 1925, Grace became a social worker in Los Angeles.

After the Second World War Grace opened a bookshop and metaphysical library in Santa Barbara. She stayed in close contact with Christabel Pankhurst and was with her when she died at her home in Santa Monica on 13th February 1958 from a heart attack. Grace was appointed as her literary executor and was responsible for the publication of Christabel's memoirs, Unshackled: the Story of how we Won the Vote.

Grace published A Suffragette Story in 1960. She was interviewed by Anna Raeburn for BBC's Woman's Hour in 1968. Six years later she taped an interview with Brian Harrison for the Fawcett Library.

Grace Roe died in 1979.

Grace Roe
Grace Roe

On this day in 1915 Oliver Lyttelton writes a letter about life in the trenches. "The whole place was a sea of mud, and the scene still remains incoherent in my memory, plunging about for overworked stretcher bearers, falling into shell-holes, losing our way, wet and tired, we felt all the time rather impotent. But the work was done. All the wounded, including some of the Scots Guards who had lain out for forty-eight hours, were brought in and most of the dead buried. Some (I think it was three) died before we could get stretchers to take them back to the dressing station or on their way there. You see it takes four men to carry one wounded man and each journey to the dressing station could not be accomplished under four hours. This sounds rather incredible but no one realizes the difficulty of getting about, even for a man unhampered by anything. One mile an hour is good going in the mud for an officer, and you will always find yourself on the right when something has to be done on the left. No light can be shown, and you feel your way for about thirty yards as a rule before falling into a ditch or a shell-hole."

Oliver Lyttelton
Oliver Lyttelton

On this day in 1990 writer and political activist Cedric Belfrage died in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Belfrage, the son of a wealthy physician, was born in London on 8th November 1904. He lived in a house with 20 rooms and six servants. He was sent to Cambridge University with a manservant and what he later called a "meager" allowance of two pounds a week.

In 1924 he began writing film reviews for the Kinematograph Weekly in 1924. Three years later he moved to Hollywood and was employed as a film critic of the New York Sun. He also worked as a press agent for Sam Goldwyn. Belfrage became a socialist after becoming friends with the novelist, Upton Sinclair.

Belfrage explained that while at university he had no interest in politics. This changed while he was living in America. During the Great Depression he witnessed great inequality. Like many intelligent people at the time he became convinced that capitalism had failed. He said in an interview that he "could not stomach the inequalities" that he saw and he therefore became a socialist and an anti-fascist activist. As he admitted that this decision "started me on the road to ruin".

Belfrage got a reputation for upsetting film studios. According to one source: "He became a press agent to a picture company at three pounds a week. He was fired. He went to New York and got a job as scenario reader with Universal Pictures. He was fired again. He then became a movie critic, which profession he kept up until 1930, when he had interviewed all the stars several times over and had been ejected from four major studios."

In the early 1930s he became the film critic of The Daily Express. When he returned to Hollywood he took his friend, Eric Maschwitz, with him. Maschwitz recalled in his autobiography, No Chip on My Shoulder (1957): "In Hollywood Cedric and I settled into a small apartment at the Roosevelt Hotel. As representative of a leading London newspaper he had the entree to all the studios, then very active in the first flush of the talking picture. He was kind enough to take me with him on his rounds and I found myself, as wide-eyed as any juvenile movie-fan, face to face with the gods and goddesses of the screen. I met most of them and remember few of them - except for Sylvia Sidney with her quick wit and almost Oriental beauty and Douglas Fairbanks Junior, who remains my friend to this day."

Belfrage introduced Maschwitz to Upton Sinclair: "An old friend of Cedric Belfrage's was Upton Sinclair, the novelist at that time still active in the Socialist cause. Sinclair lived then in a wooden house in Pasadena so entangled in jasmine that, when we called to visit him, the perfume was almost stifling. A frail, yet dynamic man in the mid-fifties he talked fascinatingly for hours, communicating at intervals with his wife, who was upstairs in bed with a chill, by means of a police-dog to whose collar he tied notes. When we were about to leave, he said: 'Well, I guess you boys would like a drink'; we accepted and were immediately regaled with two glasses of water! I took away with me an autographed copy of his latest novel The Flivver King which was an expose of the Henry Ford Empire."

One of Belfrage's reviews in The Daily Express upset "the entire film industry in protest withdrew advertising from his paper. He quit dramatic reviewing for a time until the trouble blew over. He left on his round-the-world trip in January, 1934, and returned in December.... He then took up business at the old stand again." In April, 1936 he went on a visit to the Soviet Union with his wife, the journalist Molly Castle.

Belfrage became an active member of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League (HANL) in 1936. Other members included Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell, Walter Wanger, Dashiell Hammett, Donald Ogden Stewart, John Howard Lawson, Clifford Odets, John Bright, Dudley Nichols, Frederic March, Lewis Milestone, Oscar Hammerstein II, Ernst Lubitsch, Mervyn LeRoy, Gloria Stuart, Sylvia Sidney, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chico Marx, Benny Goodman, Fred MacMurray and Eddie Cantor. Another member, Philip Dunne, later admitted "I joined the Anti-Nazi League because I wanted to help fight the most vicious subversion of human dignity in modern history".

In 1937 Belfrage joined the American Communist Party, but withdrew his membership a few months later. He was too much a political maverick to accept the discipline of the party. For example, at one meeting, John Bright, asked Victor Jerome, the leading party member in Hollywood: "Comrade Jerome, what if a Party decision is made that you cannot go along with?" Jerome replied: "When the Party makes a decision, it becomes your opinion."

Belfrage became active in the fight against fascism and developed a close relationship with Victor Gollancz and the Left Book Club. He wrote several books during this period on politics. This included Away From It All (1937), Promised Land (1937), Let My People Go (1937) and South of God (1938). Belfrage was passionate about what his son described as the "plight of humanity". Nicholas Belfrage later argued: "He fought all the time against oppression, privilege, injustice, all that. He never gave a damn about material things or money, which meant that it fell to my poor mother to support and look after the family with very little help."

Ruth Dudley Edwards, the author of Victor Gollancz: A Biography (1987) has commented: "Belfrage, the author of the February 1938 choice (of the Left Book Club) Promised Land, an inner history of Hollywood - showing what happened to art under capitalism." Edwards quotes Belfrage as saying that at one packed meeting at the Empress Hall, which seated 11,000, he found the occasion "the atmosphere of a true religious revival".

In June, 1940, Winston Churchill appointed William Stephenson as the head of the British Security Coordination (BSC). Stewart Menzies, head of MI6, sent a message to Gladwyn Jebb, of the Ministry of Economic Warfare: "I have appointed Mr W.S. Stephenson to take charge of my organisation in the USA and Mexico. As I have explained to you, he has a good contact with an official who sees the President daily. I believe this may prove of great value to the Foreign Office in the future outside and beyond the matters on which that official will give assistance to Stephenson. Stephenson leaves this week. Officially he will go as Principal Passport Control Officer for the USA. I feel that he should have contact with the Ambassador, and should like him to have a personal letter from Cadogan to the effect that it may at times be desirable for the Ambassador to have personal contact with Mr Stephenson."

As William Boyd has pointed out: "The phrase (British Security Coordination) is bland, almost defiantly ordinary, depicting perhaps some sub-committee of a minor department in a lowly Whitehall ministry. In fact BSC, as it was generally known, represented one of the largest covert operations in British spying history... With the US alongside Britain, Hitler would be defeated - eventually. Without the US (Russia was neutral at the time), the future looked unbearably bleak... polls in the US still showed that 80% of Americans were against joining the war in Europe. Anglophobia was widespread and the US Congress was violently opposed to any form of intervention." (12)

An office was opened in the Rockefeller Centre in Manhattan with the agreement of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI. Roosevelt's top security advisor, Adolph Berle, sent a message to Sumner Welles, the Under Secretary of State: "The head of the field service appears to be Mr. William S. Stephenson... in charge of providing protection for British ships, supplies etc. But in fact a full size secret police and intelligence service is rapidly evolving... with district officers at Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, Houston, San Francisco, Portland and probably Seattle.... I have in mind, of course, that should anything go wrong at any time, the State Department would be called upon to explain why it permitted violation of American laws and was compliant about an obvious breach of diplomatic obligation... Were this to occur and a Senate investigation should follow, we should be on very dubious ground if we have not taken appropriate steps." (13)

An important British agent, Charles Howard Ellis, was sent to New York City to work alongside William Stephenson as assistant-director. Together they recruited several businessmen, journalists, academics and writers into the BSC. This included Roald Dahl, H. Montgomery Hyde, Ian Fleming, Ivar Bryce, David Ogilvy, Isaiah Berlin, Eric Maschwitz, A. J. Ayer, Giles Playfair, Benn Levy, Noël Coward and Gilbert Highet.

Cedric Belfrage joined the BSC in December 1941. According to William Deaken, one of the senior figures in the organisation: "Belfrage was brought in as one of the propaganda people... he was a known communist." He was recruited by the BSC because if his contacts with American journalists. The strategy was to work with American journalists to persuade them to write articles that would advocate intervention in the Second World War.

Belfrage worked with organizations such as the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (CDAAA) that had been founded by William Allen White. He gave an interview to the Chicago Daily News where he argued: "Here is a life and death struggle for every principle we cherish in America: For freedom of speech, of religion, of the ballot and of every freedom that upholds the dignity of the human spirit... Here all the rights that common man has fought for during a thousand years are menaced... The time has come when we must throw into the scales the entire moral and economic weight of the United States on the side of the free peoples of Western Europe who are fighting the battle for a civilized way of life."

According to William Boyd: "BSC's media reach was extensive: it included such eminent American columnists as Walter Winchell and Drew Pearson, and influenced coverage in newspapers such as the Herald Tribune, the New York Post and the Baltimore Sun. BSC effectively ran its own radio station, WRUL, and a press agency, the Overseas News Agency (ONA), feeding stories to the media as they required from foreign datelines to disguise their provenance. WRUL would broadcast a story from ONA and it thus became a US "source" suitable for further dissemination, even though it had arrived there via BSC agents. It would then be legitimately picked up by other radio stations and newspapers, and relayed to listeners and readers as fact. The story would spread exponentially and nobody suspected this was all emanating from three floors of the Rockefeller Centre. BSC took enormous pains to ensure its propaganda was circulated and consumed as bona fide news reporting. To this degree its operations were 100% successful: they were never rumbled."

Roald Dahl was assigned to work with Drew Pearson, one of America's most influential journalist as the time. "Dahl described his main function with BSC as that of trying to 'oil the wheels' that often ground imperfectly between the British and American war efforts. Much of this involved dealing with journalists, something at which he was already skilled. His chief contact was the mustachioed political gossip columnist Drew Pearson, whose column, Washington Merry-Go-Round, was widely regarded as the most important of its kind in the United States."

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, much of the BSC's security and intelligence work could legitimately be taken over the FBI and other United States agencies. William Stephenson told Stewart Menzies, head of MI6, that the very existence of the BSC was now threatened. In January 1942, the McKellar Bill was before Congress, requiring the registration of all "foreign agents". Stephenson told Menzies this "might render work of this office in U.S.A. impossible as it is obviously inadmissible that all our records and other material should be made public". After some vigorous lobbying by Stephenson and others, the McKellar Bill was amended so that agents of the Allied "United Nations" would be exempt from registration and need only report in private to their own embassy.

BSC agents now worked very closely with the FBI. Belfrage was asked to infiltrate a Soviet network run by Jacob Golos. He was the most important Soviet agent in the United States. Golos had been recruited by Gaik Ovakimyan, the NKVD station chief in New York City. Secret Soviet intelligence cables from Golos as "our reliable man in the U.S." According to Allen Weinstein, the author of The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999): "Through bribes, Golos developed a network of foreign consular officials and U.S. passport agency workers who supplied him not only with passports but also naturalization documents and birth certificates belonging to persons who had died or had permanently left the United States."

The FBI became aware that Golos was running a travel agency, World Tourists in New York City, as a front for Soviet clandestine work. (20) His office was raided by officials of the Justice Department. Some of these documents showed that Earl Browder, the leader of the Communist Party of the United States, had travelled on a false passport. Browder was arrested and Golos told Elizabeth Bentley: "Earl is my friend. It is my carelessness that is going to send him to jail." Bentley later recalled that the incident took its toll on Golos: "His red hair was becoming grayer and sparser, his blue eyes seemed to have no more fire in them, his face became habitually white and taut."

The FBI decided that he was worth more to them free than in prison. According to Bentley, United States officials agreed to drop the whole investigation, if Golos pleaded guilty. He told her that Moscow insisted that he went along with the deal. "I never thought that I would live to see the day when I would have to plead guilty in a bourgeois court." He complained that they had forced him to become a "sacrificial goat". On 15th March, 1940, Golos received a $500 fine and placed on four months probation.

On 18th January, 1941, the FBI saw Golos exchange documents with Gaik Ovakimyan. The FBI also observed Golos meeting Elizabeth Bentley at the offices of the of the U.S. Service and Shipping Corporation. The agents wondered if she might be a Soviet spy as well and she was followed. On 23rd May, 1941, Ovakimyan was arrested and deported.

He later explained to the FBI that under orders from BSC he had passed files to Russian contacts during the war in order to get material back in return. "My thought was to tell him certain things of a really trifling nature from the point of view of British and American interest, hoping in this way to get from him some more valuable information from the Communist side."

The Soviets gave Belfrage the code-name, UCN/9. He was also known as "MOLLY". We know about this because of the declassifed Venona files. After the war a team led by Meredith Gardner was assigned to help decode a backlog of communications between Moscow and its foreign missions. By 1945, over 200,000 messages had been transcribed and now a team of cryptanalysts attempted to decrypt them. The project, named Venona (a word which appropriately, has no meaning), was based at Arlington Hall, Virginia.

It was not until 1949 that Gardner made his big breakthrough. He was able to decipher enough of a Soviet message to identify it as the text of a 1945 telegram from Winston Churchill to Harry S. Truman. Checking the message against a complete copy of the telegram provided by the British Embassy, the cryptanalysts confirmed beyond doubt that during the war the Soviets had a spy who had access to secret communication between the president of the United States and the prime minister of Britain.

Meredith Gardner and his team were able to work out that more than 200 Americans had become Soviet agents during the Second World War. They had spies in the State Department and most leading government agencies, the Manhattan Project and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). This included Elizabeth Bentley, Marion Bachrach, Joel Barr, Abraham Brothman, Earl Browder, Karl Hermann Brunck, Louis Budenz, Whittaker Chambers, Frank Coe, Henry Hill Collins, Judith Coplon, Lauchlin Currie, Hope Hale Davis, Samuel Dickstein, Martha Dodd, Laurence Duggan, Gerhart Eisler, Noel Field, Harold Glasser, Vivian Glassman, Jacob Golos, Theodore Hall, Alger Hiss, Donald Hiss, Joseph Katz, Charles Kramer, Duncan Chaplin Lee, Harvey Matusow, Hede Massing, Paul Massing, Boris Morros, William Perl, Victor Perlo, Joszef Peter, Lee Pressman, Mary Price, Joseph North, William Remington, Alfred Sarant, Abraham George Silverman, Helen Silvermaster, Nathan Silvermaster, Alfred Stern, William Ludwig Ullmann, Julian Wadleigh, Harold Ware, Nathaniel Weyl, Donald Niven Wheeler, Harry Dexter White, Nathan Witt and Mark Zborowski.

These agents were never prosecuted because the FBI and the CIA did not want the Soviets to know they had broken their code. However, the Soviets knew as early as 1949 because one of Gardner's assistants, William Weisband, was also a Soviet agent. To make sure that the FBI was unaware that they knew that the code was about to be broken, they continued to use it. The "operatives" were instructed "every week to compose summary reports or information on the basis of press and personal connections to be transferred to the Center by telegraph." As Allen Weinstein, the author of The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) has pointed out the "Soviet intelligence's once-flourishing American networks, in short, had been transformed almost overnight into a virtual clipping service."

Ever since the Soviet Union had entered the war, Joseph Stalin had been demanding that the Allies open-up a second front in Europe. Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt argued that any attempt to land troops in Western Europe would result in heavy casualties. Stalin began to worry that the Allies wanted Adolf Hitler to destroy Soviet communism. It was important for Stalin to be convinced that a Second Front would eventually be achieved.

Cedric Belfrage was part of this project. In 1995-96 over 2,990 fully or partially decrypted Soviet intelligence cables from the Venona archives were declassified and released by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. This included cables that concerned Belfrage. One dated 19th May, 1943, from Vassili Zarubin stated that UCN/9, had informed them that there was a "growing movement" for "opening a second front in Europe".

This information about the desire for a Second Front had been obtained by BSC agent, David Ogilvy, who worked for the Audience Research Institute, that had been set-up by George H. Gallup and Hadley Cantril. According to the official BSC history, from later 1941 on Ogilvy was "able to ensure a constant flow of intelligence on public opinion in the United States, since he had access not only to the questionnaires sent out by Gallup and Cantril and to the recommendations offered by the latter to the White House," but also to "internal reports prepared by the Survey Division of the Office of War Information and by the Opinion Research Division of the U.S. Army".

According to Robert J. Lamphere, a member of the Soviet Espionage unit of the FBI, who was involved in interviewing Elizabeth Bentley, reports that she claims that Belfrage passed to Golos a "Scotland Yard secret instruction manual on the training of British Intelligence agents".

It is also clear that since joining the British Security Coordination (BSC) in December 1941, Belfrage had not told the Soviets of the existence of the organisation. In June, 1943, Pavel Klarin, the Soviet vice-counsul in New York City, and a senior NKVD officer, was requested to investigate the existence of this organization. On 21st June he replied: "The organization 'British Security Coordination' is not known to us. We have taken steps to find out what it is. We will report the result in the next few days."

By this time Jacob Golos was having doubts about Belfrage. His assistant, Elizabeth Bentley, later told the FBI "Belfrage was an extremely odd character, and rather difficult to deal with. Although passionately devoted to the cause, he still considered himself a patriotic Britisher, and hence he would give us no information that showed up England's mistakes or tended to make her a laughing-stock."

In September 1943, Golos broke off contact with Belfrage. The official reason was that Golos had shown some of the material provided by Belfrage to Earl Browder. He had used some of this information in an article that he had written for an article that appeared in a magazine controlled by the Communist Party of the United States. Terrified that the FBI might trace the source of the leak, the Soviets decided to have nothing more to do with Belfrage. However, the real reason is that another Soviet agent, HAVRE (the true identity of this agent has never been discovered), had reported that Belfrage had failed to give Golos details about the BSC. This suggested to the Soviets he was working as a double agent.

Belfrage also co-edited a left literary magazine, The Clipper, during the Second World War. In the magazine he promoted the work of Orson Welles. According to the authors of Radical Hollywood (2002), he selected Citizen Kane "as the supreme example of what radical innovators could do in Hollywood, the proof that showed the way forward." Belfrage argued that the movie was "as profoundly moving an experience as only this extraordinary and hitherto unexplored media of sound-cinema can afford." Belfrage suggested that progressive figures in Hollywood had been"hoping and trying for a chance like this.... but always the film salesman, speaking through the producer, has the last word."

In 1944 Belfrage worked at the "Psychological Warfare Division" of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) in Paris under the direct control of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Belfrage was involved in setting up a free and democratic press in West Germany. As Belfrage pointed out, at last "albeit kicking and screaming, democratic capitalism had joined with Soviet socialism to wipe from the earth the war virus in the most pestilent form - fascism." Belfrage welcomed the new power he had been given. "We were part inquisitors, part entrepreneurs but with privileges denied to a Beaverbrook or Hearst. Waving the conqueror's wand, we simply requisitioned real estate, materials, and equipment for use by the new "democratic" press we were required to create." In late 1945 General Eisenhower told him in a telegram that it was not considered right to employ someone who was "British" in what had become an "American zone" and he returned to the United States.

On 11th October 1945, Louis Budenz, the editor of the Daily Worker, announced that he was leaving the Communist Party of the United States and had rejoined "the faith of my fathers" because Communism "aims to establish tyranny over the human spirit". He also said that he intended to expose the "Communist menace". Budenz knew that Elizabeth Bentley was a spy and four days later she showed up at the FBI's New York office. Vsevolod Merkulov later wrote in a memo to Joseph Stalin that "Bentley's betrayal might have been caused by her fear of being unmasked by the renegade Budenz." At this meeting she only gave the names of Jacob Golos and Earl Browder as spies.

Another meeting was held on the 7th November 1945. This time she the FBI a 107 page statement that named 80 people including Cedric Belfrage, Victor Perlo, Harry Dexter White, Nathan Silvermaster, Abraham George Silverman, Nathan Witt, Marion Bachrach, Julian Wadleigh, William Remington, Harold Glasser, Charles Kramer, Duncan Chaplin Lee, Joseph Katz, William Ludwig Ullmann, Henry Hill Collins, Frank Coe, Abraham Brothman, Mary Price and Lauchlin Currie as Soviet spies. The following day J. Edgar Hoover, sent a message to Harry S. Truman confirming that an espionage ring was operating in the United States government. (38) Some of these people, including White, Currie, Bachrach, Witt and Wadleigh, had been named by Whittaker Chambers in 1939.

There is no doubt that the FBI was taking her information very seriously. As G. Edward White, has pointed out: "Among her networks were two in the Washington area: one centered in the War Production Board, the other in the Treasury Department. The networks included two of the most highly placed Soviet agents in the government, Harry Dexter White in Treasury and Laughlin Currie, an administrative assistant in the White House." Amy W. Knight, the author of How the Cold War Began: The Ignor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies (2005) has suggested that it had added significance because it followed the defection of Ignor Gouzenko.

J. Edgar Hoover attempted to keep Bentley's defection a secret. The plan was for her to "burrow-back" into the Soviet underground in America in order to get evidence against dozens of spies. However, it was Hoover's decision to tell William Stephenson, the head of head of British Security Coordination about Bentley, that resulted in the Soviets becoming aware of her defection. Stephenson told Kim Philby and on 20th November, 1945, he informed NKVD of her betrayal.

On 23rd November, 1945, Moscow sent a message to all station chiefs to "cease immediately their connection with all persons known to Bentley in our work and to warn the agents about Bentley's betrayal". The cable to Anatoly Gorsky told him to cease meeting with Donald Maclean, Victor Perlo, Charles Kramer and Lauchlin Currie. Another agent, Iskhak Akhmerov, was told not the meet with any sources connected to Bentley.

It was not until April, 1947, that the FBI descended on the homes of the names provided by Bentley. Their properties were searched and they were interrogated by agents over several weeks. This included Cedric Belfrage. Unlike all the other people who were interviewed, Belfrage was willing to make a confession. However, he claimed that he had only passed information to the Soviet Union on behalf of British Security Coordination.

Belfrage confessed that in 1942 he met with Earl Browder, a leading figure in the Communist Party of the United States. He was then introduced to Jacob Golos. The following year he met with Victor Jerome, eight or nine times. Belfrage said that he met with Jerome "with a view to finding out what I could about Communists and Russian politics". Belfrage reported that in order to induce Jerome to provide him with information: "I supplied him with information about Scotland Yard surveillances and also with some documents relative to the Vichy Government in France, which were of a highly confidential nature with respect to their origin but which contained information of no value whatever."

Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, the authors of Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (2000) have argued: "Belfrage did not know it, but his statement about giving Jerome material on Scotland Yard surveillance matched closely with a Bentley statement that among the documents Belfrage had handed over was a British security service manual on procedures and techniques for the proper running of agents... The Venona cables also corroborate Bentley's story that Golos shared Belfrage's information with Browder."

In 1948 Belfrage helped establish the National Guardian with James Aronson and John T. McManus. (45) The newspaper provided positive publicity for Vito Marcantonio and the American Labor Party (ALP). The newspaper also campaigned against the convictions of Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg. One of its journalists, William A. Reuben, who wrote many of the articles on the case, later published The Atom Spy Hoax (1954) on the Rosenbergs.

Robert J. Lamphere later reported that Belfrage's campaign against the proposed execution of the Rosenberg's upset the FBI: "The important thing was that the Reuben articles provided the fodder for a concerted campaign to make the public believe not only that the Rosenbergs were framed but also the United States government was guilty of murdering innocent Jewish idealists. This campaign was ultimately of great benefit to the Soviet Union."

On his return to the United States he was approached by the journalist, Joseph North, to rejoin the Communist Party of the United States. Belfrage rejected the idea as he had opposed the party's support of the Nazi-Soviet Pact and the way it had purged members for not supporting the policy of Joseph Stalin. Instead he joined the Progressive Party, led by Henry A. Wallace. He admitted that Wallace was "too capitalist for our heartiest cheers" but felt he could provide a "political home" for his socialist beliefs.

On 6th May 1953 Belfrage was summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HCUA). According to Glenn Fowler, of The New York Times, the main reason for this was for his work in the "Psychological Warfare Division" in West Germany. Belfrage and James Aronson were accused of having approved "Communists to publish newspapers".

His son, Nicholas Belfrage, later recalled: "One morning I heard on the radio that the band leader Artie Shaw and the journalist Cedric Belfrage were to appear that day before HUAC. I knew it was coming but I was terrified nonetheless, because at that time there was a general atmosphere of fear and I thought I stood a good chance of being beaten up at my Bronx school or at least ostracised by my friends. In the event none of my contemporaries ever mentioned it, though my teacher, one Bessie Coyne whose adoration for McCarthy was matched only by her loathing of Communists and Brits (I was deemed to be both) inquired of me before a packed and silent class: 'Who are you going to kill today, Belfrage?' I was 13 at the time."

Belfrage refused to answer questions put to him by Harold H. Velde because "whatever answers I would give would be used to crucify me and other innocent persons". Another HUAC member, Bernard W. Kearney, told Belfrage: "I'm going to contact immigration authorities and find out why you are still in this country. I think you're the type to be deported immediately."

Belfrage later argued that Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn were determined to bring an end to the National Guardian as it was one of his major critics. "McCarthy struck red gold: two subversive army officers who, after laboring to create a 'red press' in Germany, had returned to establish one at home - a paper now leading the fight for the Rosenbergs, at whose trial Cohn had been an assistant prosecutor."

Later that month Belfrage was arrested and taken to Ellis Island, at that time, the immigration detention centre. On 10th June, 1953, he was freed by Federal District Judge Edward Weinfeld. In a statement issued by Weinfeld he argued: "If for the long period of seven years following... the immigration and other government officials did not consider Belfrage's presence and activities inimical to the nation's welfare and a threat to its security, it is difficult to understand how, overnight, because of his assertion of a constitutional privilege, he has become such a menace to the nation's safety that it is now necessary to jail him without bail."

Cedric Belfrage was eventually deported on 15th August 1955. "America banished one of its most devoted sons last week in the person of Cedric Henning Belfrage, editor of the newspaper. With his wife, the Guardian editor sailed at noon, Monday, August 15, on the Holland-America liner Nieuw Amsterdam for his native England under a deportation order demanded 27 months ago by Senator Joseph McCarthy." The following year Belfrage published The Frightened Giant: My Unfinished Affair with America (1956).

In 1956 Belfrage visited Moscow and brought up the issue of political prisoners being executed without trial in the Soviet Union. He was told by a Soviet spokesman that this was "an internal matter". Belfrage wrote in the National Guardian that the executions were no different "from the Rosenberg executions in America - except that the Rosenberg's did get trials".

Later that year Belfrage was horrified by the Soviet reaction to the Hungarian Uprising. "The Soviet-Hungarian convulsions of 1956 shook a different kind of faith in socialists around the world - faith not in the past but in the future." Belfrage was also dismayed by the way the events were reported in China. Imre Nagy and other leaders of the revolt were described as "imperialist henchmen, renegades, slanderers". Belfrage argued that: "If the socialist world leaders fail to recognize in such protests the voices of their true friends it will be perhaps the greatest tragedy of all. The voice is saying that socialists in the capitalist world have made sacrifices too for the cause, and will not stand silent while that cause is again dragged through a mire of terror where socialism reigns and torn to pieces where the fight remains to be won."

In 1960 Cedric Belfrage travelled to Cuba where reported on the new government of Fidel Castro.After spending some time in the region he published The Man at the Door with the Gun: Contemporary Developments in Latin America (1963) where he discussed the possibility of future revolutions in the region. Belfrage argued that Castro had "made some serious errors of judgment" but he "anchored himself in scores of millions of hearts beyond Cuba to Latin America's darkest confines" and made himself a top target of CIA's assassination programme.

Belfrage was often away from home. His son, Nicholas Belfrage recalls: "From a son’s point of view he was someone to admire rather than love. He was always too busy saving the world to be a good father (although my sister Sally, who adored him, would disagree). He was a man led by principle. He had a lot of charm and a great sense of humour, which he always said was essential in life."

Belfrage took a close interest in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. One of the first books claiming a conspiracy was written by Thomas Buchanan. When Who Killed Kennedy? was published in the United States in 1964, it was mainly ignored. However, Time Magazine reviewed it and made much of the fact that Buchanan was a former member of the American Communist Party. Belfrage, argued in the journal, Minority of One, that it was "irrelevant whether Buchanan was a former communist or a former Zen Buddhist". Belfrage went on to state that what was important was Buchanan's "common sense of the assassination and the American crisis it symbolizes".

Belfrage's book about The American Inquisition, was about Joe McCarthy and McCarthyism was published in 1973. He is also the co-author with James Aronson of Something to Guard: The Stormy Life of the National Guardian 1948-1967 (1978). In 1988 the work won a citation from PEN, the international literary organization. Robert Meeropol met Belfrage when he was living in exile and described him as "charasmatic, charming, intelligent and thoughtful, a fine, fine, human being."

James Aronson, Cedric Belfrage and John T. McManus in 1948
Cedric Belfrage

On this day in 1941, a German sergeant deserted to the Soviet forces. and  informed them that the German Army would attack at dawn the following morning (Operation Barbarossa). War Commissar Marshal Semyon Timoshenko and Chief of Staff General Georgy Zhukov, went to see Joseph Stalin with the news. Stalin reaction was the alleged German deserter was an attempt to provoke the Soviet Union. Stalin did agree to send out a message to all his military commanders: "There has arisen the possibility of a sudden German attack on June 21-22... The German attack may begin with provocations... It is ordered to occupy secretly the strong points on the frontier... to disperse and camouflage planes at special airfields... to have all units battle ready... No other measures are to be employed without special orders."

Stalin now went to bed. At 3.30 a.m. Timoshenko received reports of heavy shelling along the Soviet-German frontier. Timoshenko told Zhukov to call Stalin by telephone: "Like a schoolboy rejecting proof of simple arithmetic, Stalin disbelieved his ears. Breathing heavily, he grunted to Zhukov that no counter-measures should be taken... Stalin's only concession to Zhukov was to rise from his bed and return to Moscow by limousine. There he met Zhukov and Timoshenko along with Molotov, Beria, Voroshilov and Lev Mekhlis.... Pale and bewildered, he sat with them at the table clutching an empty pipe for comfort. He could not accept he was wrong about Hitler. He muttered that the outbreak of hostilities must have originated in a conspiracy within the Wehrmacht... Hitler surely doesn't know about it. He ordered Molotov to get in touch with Ambassador Schulenburg to clarify the situation.

Stalin was too shocked and embarrassed to tell the people of the Soviet Union that the country had been invaded by Germany. Vyacheslav Molotov was therefore asked to make the radio broadcast. "Today at four o'clock in the morning, German troops attacked our country without making any claims on the Soviet Union and without any declaration of war... Our cause is just. The enemy will be beaten. We will be victorious."

Stalin retreated to his Blizhnyaya dacha and refused to talk to anyone. Molotov eventually came up with the idea of forming a State Committee of Defence. He persuaded Lavrenty Beria (the head of NKVD), Georgy Malenkov (Secretary of the Central Committee), Kliment Voroshilov (People's Commissar of Defence), Nikolai Voznesensky (State Planning Committee) and Anastas Mikoyan (People's Commissar for External and Internal Trade). It was the first great initiative for years that any of them had taken without seeking his prior sanction.

The group went to see Stalin at his dacha. They found him slumped in an armchair. "Why have you come?" Mikoyan thought Stalin suspected that they were about to arrest him. Molotov explained the need for a State Committee of Defence. Stalin asked: "Who's going to head it?" Molotov suggested that Stalin should be the chairman of the committee. Stalin said: "Good". Beria believed that sooner or later the visitors to the dacha would pay the price just for having seen him in a moment of profound weakness.

Boris Efimov
Boris Efimov, The History Lesson (1941)

On this day in 1964 James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner are murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. The three young men were members of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and were involved with the Freedom Summer campaign. On 21st June, 1964, they went to Longdale to visit Mt. Zion Methodist Church, a building that had been fire-bombed by the Ku Klux Klan because it was going to be used as a Freedom School.

On the way back to the CORE office in Meridian, the three men were arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price. Later that evening they were released from the Neshoba jail only to be stopped again on a rural road where a white mob shot them dead and buried them in a earthen dam.

When Attorney General Robert Kennedy heard that the men were missing, he arranged for Joseph Sullivan of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to go to Mississippi to discover what has happened. On 4th August, 1964, FBI agents found the bodies in an earthen dam at Old Jolly Farm.

On 13th October, Ku Klux Klan member, James Jordon, confessed to FBI agents that he witnessed the murders and agreed to co-operate with the investigation. Eventually nineteen men are arrested and charged with violating the civil rights of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. This included Sheriff Lawrence Rainey and Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price.

On 24th February, 1967, Judge William Cox dismissed seventeen of the nineteen indictments. However, the Supreme Court overruled him and the Mississippi Burning Trial started on 11th October, 1967. The main evidence against the defendants came from James Jordon, who had taken part in the killings. Another man, Horace Barnette had also confessed to the crime but refused to give evidence at the trial.

Jordan claimed that Price had released James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner at 10.25. but re-arrested them before they were able to cross the border into Lauderdale County. Price then took them to to the deserted Rock Cut Road where he handed them over to the Ku Klux Klan.

On 21st October, 1967, seven of the men were found guilty of conspiring to deprive Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney of their civil rights and sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to ten years. This included James Jordon (4 years) and Cecil Price (6 years) but Sheriff Lawrence Rainey was acquitted.

Civil Rights activists led by Ruth Schwerner-Berner, the former wife of Michael Schwerner and Ben Chaney, the brother of James Chaney, continued to campaign for the men to be charged with murder. Eventually, it was decided to charge Edgar Ray Killen, a Ku Klux Klan member and part-time preacher, with more serious offences related to this case. On June 21, 2005, the forty-first anniversary of the crime, Killen was found guilty of the manslaughter of the three men.

In June 2016, 52 years after the killing of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, state and federal prosecutors have said that the investigation into the killings is over. Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood said. “The evidence has been degraded by memory over time, and so there are no individuals that are living now that we can make a case on at this point.”

Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner
Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner

On this day in 1969 WSPU member Mary Phillips died. Mary Phillips, the daughter of a doctor, W. Fleming Phillips, was born in Glasgow on 15th July, 1880. Her father held progressive political views and encouraged her to become involved in the women's suffrage movement. In 1904 she was employed as a paid organiser of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Association for Women's Suffrage.

Phillips was also a socialist and wrote a regular column in Forward, a "Scots Weekly journal of socialism, trade unionism, and democratic thought" in which she often commented on the subject of parliamentary reform. She gradually became convinced that "constitutional" agitation had failed.

Mary Phillips joined the Women's Social and Political Union and in June 1907 and established a WSPU branch in Glasgow. On 12th November, 1907, Christabel Pankhurst wrote to her and asked if she would be willing to help Helen Fraser run WSPU campaigns in Scotland. Fraser, was overworked as she was also employed at the Scottish Council for Women's Trades. Her first task was to run a WSPU campaign in East Fife.

In March 1908 Mary Phillips was arrested and sentenced to six-weeks in Holloway Prison after taking part in a WSPU demonstration outside the House of Commons. She was arrested again after taking part in the 30th June demonstration and this time she was sentenced to three months imprisonment. On her release she was greeted at the prison gates by Flora Drummond. According to Elizabeth Crawford, the author of The Suffragette Movement (1999): "On her release on 18th September she was greeted by a bevy of WSPU members, led by Flora Drummond, all of whom were attired in full Scottish regalia and accompanied by pipers. Mary Phillips and her parents were transported in a carriage pulled by the women from Holloway to the Queen's Hall."

After her release Phillips joined Annie Kenney, Elsie Howey, Gladice Keevil, Clara Codd and Mary Blathwayt in the WSPU West of England campaign. Blathwayt wrote in her diary: "This afternoon I helped Annie Kenney make her plans for a West of England campaign, I wrote out lists of towns and dates which are to be sent to Mrs. Pankhurst and Mrs. Pethick Lawrence." In November, 1908, Phillips was making speeches with Kenney and Blathwayt in Plymouth.

In January 1909 Mary Phillips became WSPU organiser in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. That summer she was active in Cornwall and Devon. In July she was arrested with Vera Wentworth and Elsie Howey, after interrupting a public meeting being held by Lord Carrington in Exeter. All three women went on hunger-strike and were released. Emily Blathwayt recorded in her diary: "Elsie Howey, Vera Wentworth and Mary Phillips were arrested at Exeter and imprisoned for a week and it is said they are going through the hunger strike as the 14 have done. The crowds were with them outside Lord Carrington's meeting and all resisted police and two working men were arrested. The women would not pay the fine."

Mary Blathwayt recorded in her diary on 5th August that Mary Phillips was very ill and was "released when she took to fainting." Soon afterwards Emmeline Pankhurst wrote to Phillips saying: "my dear girl take care of yourself and do everything in your power to recover your health and strength."

In November 1909 Mary Phillips wrote to Christabel Pankhurst asking for permission to take part in more militant activity. Pankhurst replied: "Nothing would be more mistaken at the present time. On no account run the risk of it, as the work you have been doing recently would all go to pieces." Phillips obeyed these instructions and stayed out of trouble for the next three years.

Phillips visited Eagle House near Batheaston in July 1910 with Vera Wentworth. Their host, was Mary Blathwayt, a fellow member of the WSPU. Her father Colonel Linley Blathwayt planted a tree, a Picea Pungens Glauca, in her honour in his suffragette arboretum in a field adjacent to the house.

In April 1912 she had been congratulated on her success as the WSPU organiser in Plymouth and her salary had been increased from £2 10s to £2 15s a week. Mary Phillips was arrested in July 1912 during a demonstration in Chester. However, her fine was paid, without her consent, by a local sympathiser.

In July 1913 she was dismissed as a WSPU organiser. Christabel Pankhurst wrote that she had been dissatisfied with her work as a WSPU organiser: "I want to say that if we had thought you would have made a success of another district we should have asked you to take one. I did not wish to hurt you needlessly by saying what always has been felt at headquarters that you are not effective as a district organiser." Considering the previous positive comments it seems that there was another reason for her dismissal. According to Martin Pugh, the author of The Pankhursts (2001): "Like other organisers, Mary Phillips suffered from the members' reluctance to fund arson and other attacks on property." Emily Blathwayt had also recorded in her diary that Phillips had been having doubts about the militant strategy.

Mary Phillips now joined Sylvia Pankhurst, Keir Hardie, Julia Scurr, Mary Phillips, Millie Lansbury, Eveline Haverfield, Nellie Cressall and George Lansbury, in the establishment of the East London Federation of Suffragettes (ELF). An organisation that combined socialism with a demand for women's suffrage it worked closely with the Independent Labour Party. Phillips had previously described herself as a member of the "extreme left". Phillips also became involved in the production of a weekly paper for working-class women called The Women's Dreadnought. As June Hannam has pointed out: "The ELF was successful in gaining support from working women and also from dock workers. The ELF organized suffrage demonstrations and its members carried out acts of militancy."

Phillips became a full-time organiser for the East London Federation of Suffragettes on a salary of £2 a week. She lived about the ELF shop in Poplar and worked closely with May Billinghurst. In 1915 she joined the United Suffragists, working until February 1916 as its organiser in Southwark. She was later employed by the New Constitutional Society for Women's Suffrage, the Women's International League and the Save the Children Fund.

Elizabeth Crawford points out in The Suffragette Movement (1999): "From 1928 until 1955 she was editor of a Daily News Service for the brewing trade and after her retirement worked on a semi-voluntary basis with the Publications Department of the National Council of Social Service."

Mary Phillips selling Votes for Women in London (October 1907)
Mary Phillips selling Votes for Women in London (October 1907)