As a candidate for the country’s second highest office under the ticket to the Progressive Party in 1952, she addressed conference participants on March 30 of that year.
“Bass certainly paved the way for Kamalas today, both in terms of her identity and her policy of building coalitions,”
“But it is just as important to talk about the countless black women whose work has formed the backbone of the Democratic Party.”
Bass made history before she drove as VP
Her fight against injustice began decades before her political bid. She used her newspaper as a platform to highlight topics such as police brutality, restrictive housing, the Ku Klax Klan and civil liberties.
When Bass’ husband died in 1934, she set up her activism by joining groups fighting for injustice. She also founded the National Sojourner for the Truth and Justice Club, which worked to improve working conditions for black women.
“Throughout his career, Bass evolved and worked with different political groups, capturing the richness and complexity of black politics,” Blain said.
She served as president of a chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, engaged to the more moderate NAACP, and was a leader among leftists and communists in the Sojourners for Truth and Justice, she added.
“Bass’ ability to move within radical and more mainstream circles – and her ability to draw significant insight from each – is an important lesson for Harris as she strives to form a successful political coalition with Biden,” Blain said.
While Bass was a key figure in politics, Blain said, equally important are Charlene Mitchell, Shirley Chisholm and countless other black women who have worked – often behind the scenes – to make minorities in politics mainstream.
“Mitchell ran as president on the ticket to the Communist Party in 1968, and Chisholm campaigned in the Democratic presidential primary in 1972. These women paved the way for Harris and other black women in presidential politics,” she said.
Hallinan received 140,000 votes.