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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 ...


Orion A. Teal

civil rights activist, lawyer, and Communist Party official. William L. Patterson was born in San Francisco, California, on 27 August 1891; the record of his birth was lost in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and his New York Times obituary gives his birthday as 29 August 1890. At an early age he moved across the San Francisco Bay to Oakland, where he spent much of his young life. After graduating from high school at age twenty, Patterson attended the University of California, Berkeley, for several years with the intention of becoming a mining engineer. He eventually graduated from the Hastings College of Law at the University of California in 1919. During this time he had become involved in antiwar activism and became interested in socialism.

After an aborted attempt to relocate to Liberia Patterson moved to New York where he worked for a black law ...


Jalane Schmidt

Born and raised in the San Francisco area, William L. Patterson attended local public schools and later abandoned studies in engineering at the University of California at Berkeley to pursue a J.D. at the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. At Hastings Patterson began a lifelong involvement in political issues, protesting racism and arguing against African American participation in the “white man's” World War I. Earning his law degree in 1919, Patterson moved to New York City and established a legal practice in Harlem with two colleagues. His years in New York coincided with the height of the Harlem Renaissance, and Patterson developed relationships with Paul Robeson, W. E. B. Du Bois, and other prominent African American activists. He began to work increasingly with left-wing causes, and was active in the ultimately fruitless campaign to free Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti immigrant Italian anarchists ...


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 ...