Item #7023 "Hate Christ" Is the Slogan of the Communists. Gerald L. K. Smith, Langston Hughes.

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"Hate Christ" Is the Slogan of the Communists.

Los Angeles, [Christian Nationalist Crusade], [circa 1953]. Illustrated broadside, 8 ” x 11”. CONDITION: Good, staple holes to the top left corner, some creasing and wear (mostly evident on the blank verso).

Scarce anti-Langston Hughes/Paul Robeson broadside published in the 1950s by far-right demagogue Gerald L. K. Smith, accusing both men of being anti-Christian, communist agitators.

The immediate occasion for this attack was Hughes’s poem “Goodbye Christ,” which he wrote during a 1932 trip to the Soviet Union, which is reproduced in full on this broadside. A critique of Christianity’s capitalist ethos, the poem quickly sparked controversy (within both white and African-American communities) after it was published in The Negro Worker. Hughes spent the rest of his life defending and later disavowing the poem. The opening of Goodbye Christ reads as follows: "Listen, Christ, / You did alright in your day, I reckon — / But that day's gone now. / They ghosted you up a swell story, too, / Called it Bible — / But it's dead now. / The popes and the preachers've / Made too much money from it. / They've sold you to too many."

The broadside features the text of the poem and a photo-illustration of Paul Robeson delivering a speech, the caption for which describes him as “a leading booster among Negroes of the sentiment expressed in the poem ‘Goodbye Christ’ written by Langston Hughes.” There are at least three issues of this broadside. It appears that the earliest version was circulated by Smith in 1943 during a protest against a Hughes speech at Wayne State University. Another issue, published in St. Louis and featuring a portrait of Hughes appeared between 1947 and 1953. The present issue picturing Robeson appeared in 1953 or later, after Smith had relocated to Los Angeles. We’ve not seen an example of the first issue, but both the second and third characterize Hughes as “one of the most notorious propagandists for the lovers of Stalin” who “moves in the circles of mongrelizers and race mixers.”

Smith first reprinted “Goodbye Christ” in an issue of The Cross and the Flag, and here describes it as a “hymn of hate designed to persuade the simple Christian, whether he be black or white, to throw down Christ, to say goodbye to Christ, and embrace Marx, Lenin and Stalin.” An advertisement for Smith’s magazine, The Cross and the Flag appears at the bottom, describing it as “the official organ for the crusade of Christian Nationalism.”

Worldcat records just four examples, but the records provide insufficient information to say which issues are held, although the absence of mention of Paul Robeson may indicate that none of those recorded are the present issue.

Item #7023

Price: $450.00

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