Category Archives: CPUSA Oral History Collection

James Dolsen

James Dolsen (1885-1988) was a founding member of the CPUSA and a writer for The Daily Worker. He attended Beloit College in Wisconsin and Northwestern University Law School in Chicago. While in Chicago, Dolsen joined the Socialist Party in 1910. In 1917, he became an Organizer for the National Organization of the Socialist Party, and went on to help form the Communist Labor Party of America, which was one of the predecessors of the CPUSA. Dolsen remained a Party member until his death in 1988.

Click here to listen to James Dolsen’s interview from the Oral History of the American Left Collection.

Mildred McAdory Edelman

Mildred McAdory was an African-American woman, Communist Party leader, domestic worker and Southern Negro Youth Congress leader. McAdory became one of the first civil rights activists to use an approach that would be adopted by the broader civil rights movement by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1940s. Rosa Parks later credited Communist Party leaders like McAdory for helping to develop strategies that defeated Jim Crow discriminatory laws.

Si Gerson

Si Gerson (1909-2004) was a leader of the Communist Party of the United States and the CP’s leading expert on political campaigns and elections. He was arguably most famous for being the party’s choice to fill the New York City Council opening left by the death of Peter Cacchione, even though the council refused to approve the appointment. In the 1950s, he became an editor of The Daily Worker and later to The Daily World.

Marvel Cooke

Marvel Cooke (1903-2000) was an American journalist, writer, and civil rights activist. In 1928, she was the first woman reporter at the New York Amsterdam News and the first African-American woman to work at a mainstream white-owned newspaper. While working for Amsterdam News in the 1930s, Cooke helped create a local chapter of the Newspaper Guild, held union meetings in her home, and joined the Communist Party. She later went on to volunteer as national legal defense secretary for the Angela Davis Defense Fund in 1971. Cooke died of leukemia in 2000 at the age of 97.

John Pittman

John Pittman (1906-1993) was an African-American journalist, writer and communist. He graduated from Morehouse College and received a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley. He founded the San Francisco Spokesman in 1931 and eventually became an editor for the People’s World. Pittman became a foreign correspondent for the Daily Worker and the Chicago Defender.