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Charles Rosenberg

a pioneer member of the Socialist Party of America and the American Communist Party and a founding member of the African Blood Brotherhood, was born in Georgia to William Campbell, from the British West Indies, and Emma Dyson Campbell, from Washington, D.C. Her family moved to Texas by 1892, then to Washington, and she moved to New York City about 1905. Many sources continue to state in passing that she was born in the Caribbean and studied at Tuskegee, though this is more likely a different woman named Grace Campbell. The important role of Caribbean immigrants in New York's progressive movements may have contributed to this confusion. The historian Winston James offers a more detailed and compelling case that she was born in Georgia, which is consistent with the information Campbell apparently provided to the 1920 and 1930 census.

Campbell became active in Socialist Party ...

Article

Christopher Phelps

revolutionary socialist writer, was born Cyril Lionel Robert James in the village of Caroni on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, a British colony, to Robert Alexander James, a schoolteacher and principal of modest means, and Ida Elizabeth (“Bessie”) James, a devout Anglican and avid reader of English literature. His parents nicknamed him “Nello,” a name later used among friends. His earliest education took place under his strict father in a tiny schoolhouse in North Trace. At age nine James won a scholarship to Queen's Royal College (QRC), the island's best school, in the capital, Port of Spain. At QRC between 1911 and 1918 James indulged his love for the game of cricket and English novels (Thackeray'sVanity Fair was a particular favorite to the detriment of his grades His teachers as had his family impressed upon him the importance of proper manners and fair play ...

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 ...

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Christopher Phelps

labor organizer and socialist, was born in Malden, West Virginia, in the home of his maternal grandfather, a coal miner and Baptist preacher. He and three younger sisters were born to Janie Rice McKinney, a graduate of the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia, and William Tecumseh McKinney, a teacher who later became principal of the Negro school in Huntington, West Virginia, and then, as a loyal Republican, was awarded a post in the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.

To provide the children a superior education, the family relocated to Oberlin, Ohio, where between 1910 and 1913 McKinney attended the Academy, a preparatory school run by Oberlin College. In 1911 he helped found the Oberlin chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) after a visit from W. E. B. Du Bois After encountering a member of the Socialist Party in a Cleveland bookstore ...

Article

minister, author, pamphleteer, and Socialist Party activist, was born a slave in Johnson County, Tennessee, the son of Charles Woodbey and Rachel Wagner Woodbey. While little is known about Woodbey's parents and early life, it is clear that he worked as a manual laborer in his youth. Woodbey was largely self-educated, attending only two terms of common school, yet he learned to read after gaining freedom during the Civil War. His experience of servitude spurred his gradual allegiance to socialism. As Woodbey wrote, he was “one who was once a chattel slave freed by the proclamation of Lincoln and now wishes to be free from the slavery of capitalism” (Foner, 10).

By 1874 Woodbey had been ordained a Baptist minister in Emporia Kansas Like many blacks confronted with the failure of Reconstruction Woodbey migrated westward It is estimated that some seven thousand black families ...

Article

Elizabeth Heath

George Washington Woodbey was born a slave in Johnson County, Tennessee. He was ordained a Baptist minister in Emporia, Kansas, in 1874 and soon became the pastor of the African Church in Omaha, Nebraska. During his tenure as pastor, Woodbey became active in politics and joined both the Republican Party and the Prohibition Party. In 1896 he ran for lieutenant governor on the Nebraska Prohibition ticket but was unsuccessful. Later that year, after reading Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward 2000–1887 and upon hearing a speech by the socialist labor leader Eugene V. Debs, Woodbey embraced the tenets of Socialism. He resigned his pastorship and dedicated the rest of his life to the socialist movement.

Woodbey joined the Socialist Party of America in 1902 and moved to San Diego California In San Diego he lectured widely and often appeared as a soapbox orator around town on behalf of the ...