Category Archives: Oral History of the American Left

Karl Yoneda

Karl Yoneda (1906-1999) was a Japanese-American union organizer and activist. He was a World War II veteran, and helped to found the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. During the 1920s, he became involved with the Communist Party, and changed his name to Karl in honor of Karl Marx. His family was incarcerated at a California concentration camp in 1942. Even after his retirement in 1972, he continued his membership with the Communist Party.

Hershel Walker

Hershel Walker (1909-1990) was an African-American civil rights leader and trade unionist in St. Louis, Missouri. He joined the Young Communist League in 1930 and later became a lifelong member of the CPUSA. Walker was an activist that fought against racial discrimination in the workplace. He specifically protested against racist hiring policies that disenfranchised black workers at the Wagner Electric Company, among other corporations. Walker was tragically killed in a car accident on his way to deliver petitions to save jobs at a Chrysler Plant.

Annette Rubenstein

Annette Rubenstein (1910-2007) was an educator, a writer and a political activist. She was a member of the Communist Party from the 1930s until the 1950s, as well as an active member and later Vice-Chairman of the New York chapter of the American Labor Party. In her later years, she spent a lot of her time lecturing across the United States, Canada and Eastern Europe.

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 in the Communist Party of the United States Oral History Collection.