1-20 of 22 results  for:

  • 1866–1876: Reconstruction x
Clear all

Article

Allison Drew

South African solicitor and Communist, was born on 29 June 1873 in London. He was the second of four children of prominent Nonconformists Percy Bunting and Mary Hyett Lidgett Bunting and the great grandson of Dr. Jabez Bunting, the foremost figure of early nineteenth-century Wesleyan Methodism. Bunting’s father, a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn, edited the prestigious Contemporary Review and was a leading figure in the Liberal Party; his mother was a social activist on behalf of working-class girls and women. The Buntings hosted frequent overseas visitors representing various social and political causes. Bunting internalized the ideals of moral rectitude and service to others imbued in him by his parents, and carried them with him throughout his life.

Intelligent and musically gifted, Bunting excelled in classics, winning scholarships to University College School and St. Paul’s School. In 1892 he entered Magdalen College Oxford as a classics demy scholarship student In ...

Article

Solofo Randrianja

anticolonialist militant; general secretary of the French Section of the Madagascar Region Communist Party; political director; editor in chief of the journals L’Opinion, Le Réveil Malgache, L’Aurore malgache, L’Opinion de la nation Malgache, Le Prolétariat Malgache; and judicial counselor for the Departmental Union of the General Confederation of Labor was born 15 October 1876 in Simferopol, Russia. Dussac came from a colonial bourgeois family, despite the fact that his father was a communard. On his father's side his grandmother was descended from the Count of Villèle, minister to King Charles X. His maternal grandfather had been an engineer in the silver mines of the Ural Mountains and his maternal grandmother was a wealthy heiress from Coulommiers in north-central France. Dussac's father, however, was a fervent supporter of the French Republic and no doubt introduced him to the ideas of the Paris Commune of 1871 ...

Article

Sandra Opdycke

labor leader and Communist Party official, was born James William Foursche in Pratt City, Alabama, the son of Lyman Foursche, a steelworker, and Nancy Reynolds, a domestic. Not long after his birth the family began to use a new surname when a white policeman questioning his father insisted that “Foursche” was too difficult to spell and changed the name to Ford. The most traumatic experience of Ford's boyhood was the lynching of his grandfather, a Georgia railroad worker. Ford started work at thirteen, joining his father at the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company, where he worked as a water boy, mechanic's helper, and then steam-hammer operator. Nevertheless, he managed to complete high school.

Entering Fisk University at the age of twenty, Ford excelled in his studies and in athletics, but when America entered World War I in 1917 he withdrew from college to serve in ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

a leading black Communist leader in the 1920s, was born in Texas. He attended the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and also claimed to have been kicked out of the City College of New York for radicalism. In the late teens he was active in organized left-wing politics, including the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the Harlem Socialist Party (SP). While the IWW fought for the rights of all workers, including racial and national minorities, the SP was color-blind and refused to champion the rights of blacks specifically, and instead argued that blacks were subject to class, but not-race, oppression. A core of Harlem Socialists, however—including Richard Benjamin Moore, Otto Huiswoud, Cyril Valentine Briggs, A. Philip Randolph, Chandler Owen, and Grace Campbell were active in the New Negro movement of black radicalism and attempted to combine the struggles for socialism and black freedom ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

sharecropper and communist martyr, was born in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, a white majority county in the state's eastern piedmont. One of fifteen children, Gray was born into a family with a strong radical tradition. His father, whose name and occupation are unknown, was the son of Alfred Gray, an African American state legislator in Perry County, Alabama, during Reconstruction who famously vowed to fight for the Constitution “until hell freezes over.” A critic of both white racism and the inadequacy of the Freedmen's Bureau, Alfred Gray recognized that his outspoken militancy came at a price. “I may go to hell,” he told an interracial gathering in Uniontown in 1868 my home is hell but the white man shall go there with me Kelley 39 Ralph Gray who was only one year old when Reconstruction ended in Alabama grew up hearing stories of his grandfather s radicalism But ...

Article

Christine Dureau

poet, journalist, political activist, and Cuba's poet laureate, was born Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén y Batista in Camagüey, Cuba. His parents were of mixed African and Spanish descent; his father, a journalist and progressive senator, was murdered in 1917 while protesting against the conservative president Mario García Menocal.

Briefly a law student at the University of Havana, Nicolás soon left to become a journalist. He took after his father in populism and protest. Cuban society was victimized by sequential regimes of repression and oppression. Guillén was among the worst hit, due to his increasingly socialist ideology. His first poems and antiestablishment articles were published in the early 1920s. He and editors of the Mediodía newspaper were briefly jailed in 1936.

He joined the Communist Party. In 1937 he traveled to Spain for the Congress of Writers and Artists while doubling as a correspondent on ...

Article

Eric W. Petenbrink

political theorist, was born Haywood Hall in South Omaha, Nebraska, the youngest of three children of Haywood Hall, a factory worker and janitor, and Harriet Thorpe Hall. When he was fifteen, racist violence in Omaha prompted the family to move to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Hall soon dropped out of school and began working as a railroad dining car waiter. In 1915 the family moved to Chicago, Illinois, to be near extended family, and Hall enlisted in the military in 1917. He served in World War I for a year as part of an all-black unit in France, where he grew accustomed to the absence of racism. Hall married his first wife, Hazel, in 1920, but the marriage lasted only a few months. In spite of their lengthy separation, they did not officially divorce until 1932.

Hall s experiences in World War I and defending ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

a singer who lived for over thirty years in Russia, both under Tsar Nicholas and during the first decades of the Soviet Union, was born in Augusta, Georgia, according to her 1901 passport application. Some accounts give her year of birth as 1870. Multiple passport applications give 1875. Census records suggest she may have been the daughter of John and Ann Harris, who in 1880 were illiterate tenant farmers in Carnesville, Franklin County, northwest of Augusta. The subsequent history of her older brothers, Andrew J. and Henry Harris, and younger sister Lulu, are unknown.

In 1892Harris married Joseph B. Harris (no relation), moving with him to Brooklyn, where she worked as a domestic and directed a Baptist church choir. She went to Europe in May 1901 as a member of the “Louisiana Amazon Guards,” a singing group assembled by the German promoter Paule ...

Article

Charles H. Martin

Communist organizer and political prisoner, was born in the tiny southern Ohio town of Wyoming, the son of Paul Herndon, a coal miner. His mother, Harriet, was of a mixed-race background and worked as a domestic. According to an early version of Herndon's autobiography, his name was recorded in the family Bible as Eugene Angelo Braxton Herndon. During Herndon's youth, the family experienced poverty, which grew worse after his father died. Fundamentalist Christianity helped family members endure such hard times, and at the age of nine Herndon underwent a deep religious experience and joined a local church. Shortly after he turned thirteen, Herndon and an older brother left home for Kentucky, where they worked in a coal mine for a while before heading farther south to Alabama.

Over the next several years Herndon found employment at various construction and mining sites in the Birmingham area though ...

Article

Brynley A. Lloyd-Bollard

union leader and Communist Party organizer, was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, the first of two sons of Thomas Hudson and Laura Camella Smith, sharecroppers. After three years of a stormy marriage, Laura left Thomas and took their two children a few miles west to Oglethorpe County to live with her parents George and Julia Smith, her sister Georgia Mae, and her brother Ned.

Life in a poor sharecropping family in the Georgian Black Belt was difficult and several terrifying episodes left Hudson traumatized at an early age Not least of these occurred when a lynch mob of men on horseback came to Hudson s home one night and demanded the surrender of Uncle Ned who accused by one of the men of talking about his sister was being framed by a white employer who owed Ned money Luckily Hudson s grandmother was able to ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

American Communist Party activist, was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, the son of Rudolf Francis Huiswoud, a freed slave and tailor, and his wife, Jacqueline Hendrietta (Bernhard). After apprenticing as a printer and cabinet maker, Huiswould decided to seek a career at sea. Originally intending to travel to the Netherlands in pursuit of that goal, he instead disembarked in New York, entering the U.S. illegally in 1910 aged 17.

During the First World War Huiswoud joined the Harlem Socialist Party (SP) along with other “New Negro” radicals including Grace Campbell, Lovett Fort-Whiteman, Chandler Owen, A. Philip Randolph, and Richard B. Moore In general the American SP ignored the oppression of black people at worst supporting segregation and at best arguing that blacks were subject only to class and not race oppression However the Harlem branch uniquely among Socialists attempted to develop a Socialist program ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

forged a militant commitment to black liberation within a lifelong allegiance to the international socialist movement. In a 1980 interview, the only source of information on his childhood, Kilpatrick said he had been born in Colorado in 1898 to a Native American father (possibly of partly African descent) and a mother who had been enslaved in Kentucky. Information from his Ohio death certificate shows his birth around 1905. Kilpatrick consistently used the birth date of 28 February 1904 for travel by ship to and from Europe in the 1930s. The family moved to Cleveland when he was about six years old, where his father got work for McKerrigan McKinley Steel, which became part of Republic Steel. His father was a socialist and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which young Admiral joined in his teenage years.

He absorbed from his father and other black IWW ...

Article

Brian Gilmore

civil rights lawyer and activist, was born in Newport, Rhode Island. Lynn was one of seven children of Nette (Irving) Lynn, a domestic worker, and Joseph Lynn, a laborer. Lynn's parents were originally from Augusta, Georgia. They had been married in 1904 and migrated north in 1906 when their multimillionaire employer also moved north. Eventually they came to live in Rockville Centre, on New York's Long Island, where they settled in a black ghetto set in a swampy lowland. The mortality rate in Lynn's neighborhood was very high, but even though he was a somewhat sickly young child, he survived.

In 1926 Lynn graduated from Malverne High School as its salutatorian His academic skills were so exceptional that Syracuse University awarded him a debating scholarship With funds raised partially from a bake sale the mothers club of Lynn s high school presented Lynn s mother with ...

Article

Erik S. McDuffie

black nationalist, was born Audley Moore, the daughter of St. Cyr Moore and Ella Hunter, in New Iberia, Louisiana, a small town near New Orleans. As a young child, she heard stories about her maternal grandfather being lynched, her paternal grandmother being raped by a slave master, and her father being forcibly removed from his position as deputy sheriff by whites. Yet her family instilled in her a strong sense of racial pride and resistance.

By 1914, with only a fourth-grade education, Moore was obliged to take care of her younger sisters, Eloise and Lorita They moved to New Orleans where she worked as a domestic and hairdresser and learned firsthand the drudgery of the black urban working class life Moore and her sisters moved to Anniston Alabama a highly segregated town during World War I Eloise Moore established a recreation center for black soldiers ...

Article

J. A. Zumoff

activist, communist, and Pan-Africanist, was born in Hastings, Christ Church, Barbados, the son of Josephine Thorn Moore and Richard Henry Moore, a building contractor. Moore's mother died when he was three, and his father married Elizabeth McLean. In 1902 Moore's father died and Moore lived with his stepmother while attending middle school. After graduating in 1905 he became an office clerk, a job he would hold at different firms until he emigrated. During this period he also converted to an evangelical Christian group led by a white American preacher.

In 1908 two of his elder sisters immigrated to New York City, and on 4 July 1909 Moore and his stepmother followed Moore briefly secured an office assistant job at a Manhattan advertising firm until an infatuation with a white coworker caused a scandal and forced him to leave his job He then found employment ...

Article

Ian Rocksborough-Smith

civil rights, peace, and social justice organizer, and writer, was born Hunter Pitts O'Dell on the west side of Detroit, Michigan. Jack's parents were George Edwin O'Dell and Emily (Pitts) O'Dell. His father was a hotel and restaurant worker in Detroit who later owned a restaurant in Miami, Florida. His mother had studied music at Howard University and became an adult education teacher, a classical and jazz pianist, and an organist for Bethel AME Church in Detroit. His grandfather, John H. O'Dell, was a janitor in the Detroit Public Library system and a member of the Nacirema Club, which was a club for prominent African American Detroiters. Jack O'Dell later took his grandfather's signature, “J.H. O'Dell” as his nom de plume when he became a writer.

Raised by his paternal grandparents O Dell grew up during the Great Depression and witnessed the sit down ...

Article

Carol Polsgrove

writer and Pan-Africanist, was born Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse in Arouca, Trinidad, the son of James Hubert Alfonso Nurse, a teacher, and Anna Susanna Symister of Antigua. In Port-of-Spain he attended Tranquillity School and St. Mary's College of the Immaculate Conception before graduating from Pamphylian High School in 1918. As a reporter of shipping news for the Weekly Guardian, he saw in the arrogant treatment the white editor meted out to a black assistant editor the future that lay in store for him. In 1924 he traveled to the United States with the declared intention of studying medicine. His wife, Julia Semper, joined him later, leaving behind their daughter, Blyden.

In the United States Nurse evolved quickly into a political leader While a student at Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee he wrote to Nnamdi Ben Azikiwe a Nigerian studying at Storer College in West ...

Article

Barbara L. Ciccarelli

writer, attorney, and leader of the American Communist Party, was born William Lorenzo Patterson in San Francisco, California, the son of James Edward Patterson, a ship's cook and dentist, and Mary Galt, a domestic. After his father left the family to become a missionary as a Seventh-day Adventist, his mother worked to support the family. Failure to pay the rent resulted in numerous evictions, but Patterson managed to attend Tamalpais High School in California by working first as a newsboy and later as a racetrack hand. He graduated from high school in 1911 and studied at the University of California Berkeley to be a mining engineer but he had to drop out because he could not afford tuition No scholarships were available and he objected to Berkeley s compulsory military training Later Patterson refused to participate in World War I because he felt that ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

a veteran of the segregated U.S. military in World War II and communist activist, was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, the son of Benjamin Franklin Peery, a railway mail service clerk, and Carolyn Peery, a charter member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Peery's family moved to Wabasha, Minnesota, in 1928, where they were the only black family. Young Nelson had friends and learned that if nobody else involved in mischief was identified, he would be. His father secured a transfer to Minneapolis, where there was a small African American community. While Peery acquired black friends, they all had friends thought of as “white” and fought alongside or against Irish and Italian gangs. In an early display of militancy, Peery and his closest friends targeted a White Castle hamburger joint that refused to serve blacks, breaking the windows several times (Hynes, p. 170).

In ...

Article

Harvey Klehr

Communist Party leader, was born near Marion, Alabama, on a tenant farm worked by his parents, whose names are unknown. His father died when Perry was a small child, and he was raised by his uncle, Stokes King, and an aunt. He attended a rural school sporadically, receiving about fifteen months of formal education. By the time he was ten, he was working in the cotton fields. He moved on to a sawmill and then a pipe foundry before deciding to leave the South when he was eighteen.

Perry embarked on the life of an itinerant worker, traveling around the United States in search of work. He reached California in 1920 and used it as his base for the next twelve years Most winters he worked at a cottonseed oil mill in Los Angeles In the summers he went on the road as a harvest hand following ...