The United Nations received the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) written 240-page petition, "We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People," on December 17, 1951. The CRC was a civil rights organization formed in 1946 that, to highlight racial injustice in the United States, began serving as a defense organization involved in representing black Americans sentenced to death along with other distinguished cases.

Two United Nations General Assembly offices received the CRC petition: One was in New York City, United States, and it was delivered by the singer/activist Paul Robeson. William L. Patterson, executive director of the CRC, delivered the other in Paris, France. In the document, the group accused the United States of genocide against Black people—many leading activists, including Aubrey Grossman, W.E.B. Du Bois, and George W. Crockett Jr., signed the document.

The petition quotes the United Nation's definition of genocide as, "Any intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial, or religious group is genocide." The CRC argued the portion of the definition stating attempting to destroy a group "in part," like the United States mistreatment of blacks, qualified as genocide. It Lists hundreds of wrongful executions and lynchings, charging U.S. Southern states with a conspiracy against African Americans' ability to vote and adding legal discrimination; the petition focuses on systematic economic inequalities and quality of life differences. Saying the U.S. government is responsible for genocide through the endorsement of both racism and "monopoly capitalism." The document expresses that "the oppressed Negro citizens of the United States, segregated, discriminated against, and long the target of violence, suffer from genocide as the result of the consistent, conscious, unified policies of every branch of government. If the General Assembly acts as the conscience of mankind and therefore acts favorably on our petition, it will have served the cause of peace."

Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer who coined the term "genocide" during World War II, publicly disagreed with the basis of the petition, stating it was confuseing genocide with discrimination. The document met little fanfare from mainstream U.S. media outlets but garnered a reasonably positive response in Europe. American representatives criticized the document, with Eleanor Roosevelt calling it "ridiculous." The State Department requested the NAACP reject the document in a press release, but upon inspection, the NAACP found that many of the petition's views aligned with their own. The United Nations never openly acknowledged the acquisition of the petition, so any discussion on the matter would have to come from future civil rights movement documentation.

We Charge Genocide was republished in 1970 by International Publishers after Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party generated renewed interest. This edition contains the original 1951 petition, William L. Patterson's 1970 Foreword, Ossie Davis' brief Preface, and a Prologue by Communist Party USA (CPUSA) leader Jarvis Tyner.

We Charge Genocide (Wikipedia)

Opinion 70 Years Ago Black Activists Accused the U.S. of Genocide (Politico, 12-26-21)

We Charge Genocide 1951 (PDF, Washington University)

We Charge Genocide 1970 Edition (PDF, U.S. Archive)

(1951) We Charge Genocide Transcript (Blackpast, 7-15-11)