Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Committee Chair

Andrei Znamenski

Committee Member

Michele Coffey

Committee Member

Andrew Daily


After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Bolshevik Party sought to export Marxist-Leninism abroad to foster a global communist revolution. They called upon the world’s oppressed and exploited to join their cause. In the United States, a small group of African Americans answered this call and began to travel to the new socialist empire in the 1920s in search of a remedy to Jim Crow segregation that dictated every facet of black life in America. This handful of African Americans proved instrumental in establishing the Soviet position on American racism and were vital to the rise of the Communist Party in the United States during the 1930s. While these expatriates moved within the upper echelons of the Soviet Party, many were not able to navigate the ever-changing political landscape of the new Communist empire and fell victim to excommunication or political imprisonment. While they were not successful in building a communist empire in the United States, many of their ideas about racial equality and self-determination again entered the mainstream almost fifty years later during the Black Power movement of the 1970s.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access