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Cause at Heart: A Former Communist Remembers Junius Irving Scales

Cause at Heart: A Former Communist Remembers

Junius Irving Scales

Published
ISBN : 9780820327853
Paperback
480 pages
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 About the Book 

On November 18, 1954, Junius Irving Scales, the Communist Party district organizer for the upper South, was arrested on a quiet Memphis street by FBI agents. Charged with violation of the Smith Act of 1940, Scales spent the next six years ensnared inMoreOn November 18, 1954, Junius Irving Scales, the Communist Party district organizer for the upper South, was arrested on a quiet Memphis street by FBI agents. Charged with violation of the Smith Act of 1940, Scales spent the next six years ensnared in a legal system that was in thrall to a daunting force: McCarthyism. Scales’s case twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court- ultimately, his lower-court guilty verdict was upheld. Scales served fifteen months in Lewisburg Penitentiary before his six-year sentence was commuted by President Kennedy in 1962.Cause at Heart follows Scales from his privileged southern upbringing through the awakening of his social conscience, his civil- and labor- rights work for the Party across the South, his arrest and trials, his disillusionment with the Party, and his time in prison. Even behind bars Scales refused to cooperate with his prosecutors, to “name names.” In their foreword, Vernon Burton and James Barrett draw chilling parallels between the Smith Act, the legal grounds on which Scales was convicted, and contemporary restrictions on individual rights such as the Patriot Act. Today, as it did sixty-plus years ago, “Congress has radically expanded the description of what constitutes a threat to the U.S. government.”