In 1950, anti-communists smeared people like Marsha Hunt, Hazel Scott, Lena Horne, Shirley Graham, Margo, Mady Christians, and many others who had been engaged in efforts to improve the lives of refugees, immigrants, children, and homeless people. As this recent article on Marsha Hunt shows, political forces vilified these women as communists, socialists, and threats to an American way of life anti-communists alone defined. Turning their political adversaries into threats, men like Joseph McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, and Roy Cohn turned dissent into a crime and those who advocated for civil rights and civil liberties into enemies.
Hunt founded the Valley's first homeless shelter; Margo founded the Plaza de La Raza, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary; Lena Horne and Hazel Scott left legacies of art and civil rights struggles; Shirley Graham left a body of literature about struggle and inclusion. What legacies did anti-communists leave? A question worth contemplating as a new war on dissent unfolds.