Category Archives: oral histories

James Jackson

James E. Jackson (1914-2007) was an African-American communist and civil rights activist, best known for his role in founding and leading the Southern Negro Youth Congress (1937-1948). He became  head of the Louisiana state organization of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) in 1946, and was a Party organizer in the automobile industry in Detroit from 1947 to 1950. He then moved to New York, becoming the Southern Director for the Communist Party. In 1951 he was indicted under the Smith Act (charged with advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government), and became a fugitive until 1955. He later served as the CPUSA’s Educational Director and International Affairs Secretary, retiring in 1991.

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.