As payback for its involvement in the visit by Paul Robeson to Peoria, the Illinois State Commander of the American Legion revoked the charter of Peoria’s “all-Negro” chapter. According to the State Commander, the post’s leader, C.A. Hazelwood, had “participated in activities demonstrating his association” with people engaged in “disseminating communistic ideologies.”
Hazelwood explained in his defense that, when he helped sponsor the Robeson visit, he was acting as a leader of the NAACP, not the American Legion. In the aftermath of the Robeson controversy, the American Legion chapter narrowly re-elected Hazelwood as commander of its post.
For his part, Hazelwood denied any association with communism, stating “I know nothing about communism and I want the world to know it. I was gassed in the first world war. I know the American ideals. How could I be a communist?”
The incident suggested how the anti-Communist crusade reverberated in all-black organizations born out of segregation.