H.D. Coke was an African-American Communist Party member from Birmingham, Alabama.
This interview was conducted on November 25, 1986.
Nannie Washburn (1900-) was a civil rights activist, an advocate for internationalism and a Communist Party member who was born into a sharecropper’s family in Georgia. She spent her childhood working in the textile industry starting at the age of eight. She joined the Communist Party in the 1930s during the Great Depression. She spent the majority of her life fighting for equal rights for African-Americans, claiming that “I won’t be free until all of us are free.”
John Abt (1904-1991) was a prominent American lawyer and spent most of his career as the chief counsel to the Communist Party of the United States of America. He is known for joining Vito Marcantonio in defending the CPUSA on charges from the McCarran Act, and party members on charges stemming from the Smith Act. One of Abt’s greatest legal victories was the unanimous Supreme Court ruling in 1965 which allowed individuals to invoke their constitutional privilege against self-incrimination by declining to register with the government that they were members of the Communist Party. Abt is said to have remained a member of the CP up until his death in 1991.