Stage West in Fort Worth Tackles the McCarthy Hearings and Their Harassment of Poet Langston Hughes

More than 64 years have passed since Sen. Joseph McCarthy convened hearings, during which he summoned to Capitol Hill almost 400 witnesses to testify against themselves and others. History has come to regard the hearings as a weapon of political persecution, wielded by a demagogue, who served as a Republican senator from Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. In December 1954, the Senate voted to censure McCarthy, about whom the leader of his own party, President Dwight Eisenhower, once said: "I will not get in the gutter with that guy."McCarthy looms increasingly as an infamous figure for having targeted American citizens, whom he accused of being Communists or spies, ensconced in the military or the government or society at large. Artists were frequent targets.And yes, he also assailed African-Americans, especially the more outspoken who, in the years before the Civil Rights Act, objected to the treatment of blacks. Two of the witnesses he called were black: Political activist Eslanda Robeson, the wife of actor and musician Paul Robeson, and poet Langston Hughes.  Continue reading...

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