Reverend Clayton Russell: Religious Leader & Founder of the Los Angeles Negro Victory Committee

Written by Jae Jones
The Los Angeles Negro Victory Committee was organized in 1941 to protest discrimination in industries throughout the city that barred African-American workers. The committee was formed by Reverend Clayton Russell of the People’s Independent Church of Christ in South Central Los Angeles. Clayton D. Russell was an important religious and political leader in the African American community in Los Angeles in the middle of the twentieth century. Russell was ordained at the church in 1929, a year after he graduated from Jefferson High School. He then became the church’s pastor at twenty-five-years-old.
During World War II, Russell was recognized as one of the most prominent leaders in Los Angeles Black community. Along with Charlotta Bass, publisher of the California Eagle, the largest African-American newspaper in the state the two founded The Negro Victory Committee.
The group was initially sought to gain employment in defense industries that discriminated against black workers prior to and during the early years of World War II. The Negro Victory Committee coordinated numerous mass meetings to protest discriminatory practices. They led fights to locate defense industry job training centers in Watts, hire black conductors and locomotive drivers on the Los Angeles Railway (LARY) and challenged exclusion and racism in the armed forces and labor unions.
The committees most successful campaign happened in 1942 when the group led a protest against the United States Employment Services (USES) in 1942. The Committee’s protest march ended (USES) policy of putting African American women exclusively in janitorial and service positions in defense plants.

About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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