Ho Chi Minh and the Black Race

By Norman “Otis” Richmond

President Ho Chi Minh

When I was living in Los Angeles my mother would react to the news from time to time. Whenever Chairman Mau Zedong of the of People’s Republic of China or Ho Chi Minh the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on the television, my mother would shout out: “Your President is on television.”

Ho shares the same birthday with Lorriane Hansberry first Black Playwright on Broadway and as the great Japanese American Yuri Kochyama (who gave Malcolm mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on February 21st, 1965).

Ho, the great internationalist, published the pamphlet titled, “The Black Race”. He forcefully stated: “It is well-known fact that the Black Race is most oppressed and the most exploited of the human family. It is well-known the spread of capitalism and the discovery of the New World had as an immediate result of the rebirth of slavery. What everyone does not perhaps know that after sixty- five years of so called emancipation, American Negroes still endure atrocities, moral and material suffering of which the most cruel and horrible is the custom of lynching.

The Toronto-based Vietnamese Dr.Dai Trang Nguyen has written several  eye-opening volumes on Ho Chi Minh. The Black Race and Ho Chi Minh; Selected Works on Peace, Democracy and Gender Equality break new ground on African and Asian solidarity.

Dr. Dai Trang Nguyen holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Concordia University in Montreal, a master’s degree in economics and a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies and Asian research, both from the University of British Columbia.     

President Ho Chi Minh book

Ho paid special attention to the colonized, even in Africa and its Diaspora having been a seaman who traveled the world, he had direct, first-hand knowledge of the dire straits Africa and her children faced. He worked in Harlem where he attended meetings of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.

When the Vietnamese seized state power from the French colonizers he met with Black revolutionaries from the United States and the Caribbean like Kwame Ture (Stokey Carmichael) and Robert Franklin Williams. Williams was forced out of Monroe, North Carolina and was exiled in Cuba, China and Africa.

I highly recommend this work to Africans, Asians and the oppressed generally. It is a flashback on Bandung Unity that people like Claudia Jones, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz aka Malcolm X and Muhammad Ahmad aka Max Stanford talked about.

If Nelson Mandela was called the Black Pimpernel, Ho was the Asian Pimpernel. He lived here, there and everywhere during his lifetime. Many of his years were spent underground or in prison. He was never married and had no children, however, he did have a reputation for being a sauve, cosmopolitan and debonair gentleman, especially during his time in Paris.  

It was in Paris where he polished up his Marxism-Leninism. He first emerged as an outspoken revolutionary while living as a young man in France during World War I. Like Marcus Garvey and other colonized human beings he was inspired by V.I. Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution, he joined the Communist Party and traveled to the Soviet Union. He helped found the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930. 

Vietnamese forces, led by the likes Ho and General Vo Nguyen Giap, seized the northern Vietnamese city of Hanoi, today known as Ho Chi Minh City, and declared a Democratic State of Vietnam or North Vietnam. Ho was nicknamed Uncle Ho and he ran the government for the next 25 years, and became the symbol of Vietnam’s struggle for unification during a long conflict  with the anti-Communist forces who received  support from US and all the Imperialist forces.

Uncle Ho was crafty and was able to win international support even inside the Belly-of-the Beast America itself.