Soviets and Black Americans


Freedom to the Prisoners of Scottsboro!, 1932, Dmitry Moor, Brown University Library

The Soviets have had a long history of using racial injustices in the United States as a weapon of propaganda to discredit America. In 1931, nine black teenagers were unjustly convicted of raping two white women in Scottsboro, Alabama. The Scottsboro trial captured headlines around the world. The most well-known Soviet propaganda artist at the time, Dmitry Moor, created this poster in 1932 to call out the injustice.

When the National Guard was deployed to prevent nine black schoolchildren from integrating Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957, a Soviet newspaper covering the event noted that “right now, behind the facade of the so-called ‘American democracy,’ a tragedy is unfolding which cannot but arouse ire and indignation in the heart of every honest man.” 

For the Soviets, the objective of this propaganda had less to do with fighting racial injustice and more with undermining the United States and its power on the world stage.

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Soviet postcard depicting a child in Little Rock on their first-day of integrated school.

Racism and Equality
Soviets and Black Americans