Committee to Combat Racial Injustice Records, 1957-1965


The Committee to Combat Racial Injustice was formed in New York City on December, 1958, to defend David Simpson, age 8, and Hanover Thompson, age 9, two negro boys from Monroe, N.C. who were alledged to have forced a kiss from a seven-year-old white girl. They were subsequently charged with assault on a white female and imprisoned in the state reformatory in October, 1958. The committee's main activities in their behalf were fund-raising, helping to secure legal counsel, and soliciting public and private moral support. Through such efforts, the boys were freed early in 1959.

In addition to its efforts in the “Kissing Case”, the committee labored unsuccessfully to prevent the extradition of Willie Reid from New York to Florida in 1959. Reid had escaped from a Florida chain gang where he was serving a fifteen-year sentence imposed in 1950. Prior to its dissolution in April, 1960, the committee was active in two other cases: the defense of Dr. Albert E. Perry, Monroe physician accused of performing an illegal abortion on a white woman; and the defense of Mae Mallory, Robert F. Williams, and several white freedom marchers, who were indicted for the alledged kidnapping of a white couple in Monroe.

The committee's founders included Dr. Albert E. Perry, L. E. Austin, editor of the Carolina Times, Conrad Lynn, New York attorney active in civil rights cases, Reverend C. K. Steele of Tallahassee, Florida, George Weissman and Robert F. Williams. Williams was the chairman of the committee from its inception; Weissman was its secretary. Weissman, who used the pen name of George Lavan, was active in civil liberties work for some years prior to the formation of the CCRI. He was treasurer of the Kutcher Civil Rights Committee (see Mss 52); was a member of the Socialist Workers Party; and later became director of Pathfinder Press in New York.