The Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) was formed in 1985 as many of the Maoist-oriented groups formed in the United States New Communist Movement of the 1970s were shrinking or collapsing. The FRSO tried to solidify some of these groups into a single organization that would have some longevity.
The component groups of the FRSO saw ultraleftism as the main error of the New Communist Movement and attempted to reverse what they saw as that movement's excessive divisiveness and sectarianism. The FRSO was founded by a merger of two organizations - the Proletarian Unity League and the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters in 1985, and then a subsequent fusing with the Organization for Revolutionary Unity in 1986. The FRSO later absorbed other groups too, including the Amílcar Cabral-Paul Robeson Collective in 1988 and the Socialist Organizing Network in 1994.
The FRSO supports self-determination, up to and including independence, for African Americans in the Black Belt Region of the U.S. South, Chicanos in the U.S. Southwest and the Hawaiian nation in the Pacific Ocean. Much of the theory regarding this comes from the African American Communist Harry Haywood, as laid out in resolutions at the Comintern in 1928 and 1930. The FRSO's position on the national question is a defining feature of its politics.
In 1999, the FRSO split into two competing organizations, each retaining the organization's name. Each of these groups considers itself to be the only legitimate Freedom Road Socialist Organization.