1951 December 26

Civil Rights Activist, In Paris, Refuses to Surrender Passport


William Patterson, Executive Secretary of the Civil Rights Congress, a left-wing civil rights organization, refused to surrender his passport on this day to U.S. Embassy officials in Paris. The demand for his passport was evidently in response to the Civil Rights Congress petition to the United Nations nine days earlier, on December 17, 1951, charging the U.S. with genocide because of its treatment of African-Americans.

The Civil Rights Congress was heavily attacked during the Cold War because of its left-wing positions, and finally disbanded in 1956.

Learn more about the Civil Rights Congresshttp://www.blackpast.org/aah/civil-rights-congress-1946-1956

Learn more about Ruth Shipley, head of the Passport Office, and her legacy: Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost: The Right to Travel and Terrorist Watchlists (2013)

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