1-20 of 75 results  for:

  • rebels and revolutionaries x
Clear all

Image

Elizabeth Bentley. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109688).

Article

Bentley, Elizabeth Terrill (01 January 1908–03 December 1963), Communist party activist and government witness, was born in New Milford, Connecticut, the daughter of Charles Prentiss Bentley, a newspaper editor and department store manager, and Mary Burrill, a schoolteacher. After growing up in small towns in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, Bentley enrolled in Vassar College and in 1930 received an undergraduate degree in English. While at Vassar, she became involved in a variety of Socialist causes but did not demonstrate any interest in more radical left-wing ideas. For two years following graduation, she taught languages at the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, but left in 1932 for Columbia University, where she earned her M.A. in Italian in 1935. While working on her graduate degree, she accepted a fellowship that took her to the University of Florence for the 1933–1934 academic year....

Image

Alexander Berkman Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103849).

Article

Berkman, Alexander (21 November 1870–28 June 1936), anarchist and political author, was born Ovsei Osipovich Berkman in Vilnius, Lithuania, part of the Russian Empire, the son of Joseph Schmidt Berkman and Yetta Natanson. His father was a wealthy leather wholesaler for the shoe industry in St. Petersburg. His mother was the older sister of Maxim Natanson, a leader of the People’s Will terrorist organization, responsible for the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881. Berkman remained intellectually favorable to the radical political agendas of Russian Nihilist groups throughout his life. He admired those men and women who sacrificed their lives to the principle of equality for all....

Article

Brentano, Lorenz (04 November 1813–17 September 1891), German political leader, journalist, and congressman, was born in Mannheim, in the German state of Baden, the son of Peter Paul Bartholomaeus Brentano, a wholesale merchant, and Helene Haeger. He studied law at universities in Heidelberg, Freiburg, and Giessen and afterward practiced in Rastatt and Bruchsal before returning to Mannheim. In 1837 Brentano married Caroline Lentz; the fate of this union is unclear, but Brentano married a second time in later life. Elected to Baden’s chamber of deputies in 1845, Brentano fell in with a liberal faction clustered around ...

Article

Bresci, Gaetano (11 November 1869–22 May 1901), silk weaver and regicide, was born in Coiano, Italy, the son of Gaspero Bresci, a peasant/artisan, and Maddalena Godi. At age eleven Bresci was apprenticed to learn the art of silk weaving; he later attended a Sunday school to acquire a specialized trade. While still a youth, Gaetano participated in an anarchist group. First arrested for disturbing the peace in 1892, he was subsequently confined to the penal island of Lampedusa for more than a year for his role in organizing a strike. Now identified as a “dangerous anarchist,” Bresci had difficulty securing employment....

Article

Browder, Earl Russell (20 May 1891–27 June 1973), American Communist party (CPUSA) leader, American Communist party (CPUSA) leader, was born in Wichita, Kansas, the son of William Browder, an elementary school teacher, and Martha Hankins. Acute poverty and early politicization marked Browder’s childhood. Kansas was the epicenter of Populism—agrarian protest against federal mercantilist economic policies that protected industry but not agriculture. Wichita suffered a separate calamity: real estate speculation had brought sudden collapse and flight of 30 percent of the population. Even greater hardship befell the Browder family directly. When Earl was nine years old, a nervous breakdown disabled his father, forcing the boy to drop out of third grade to help support his parents and five siblings. At night William Browder tutored him in the “three r’s,” praised Populist heroes, and preached class struggle. Martha Browder imparted passionate anticlericalism, love of literature, and high expectations to all her children. Earl joined the Socialist party in 1906 but never fully overcame his intellectual deprivation. Indeed, he pursued self-improvement projects until his death....

Article

Budenz, Louis (17 July 1891–27 April 1972), labor organizer and anti-Communist government witness, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Henry Joseph Budenz, a bank cashier, and Mamie Gertrude Sullivan. Both parents were devout Catholics. After graduating from Indianapolis Law School in 1912, Budenz served as national organizer for the Catholic Young Men’s Institute. Although he was admitted to the bar, he never worked as a lawyer. A brief stint as editor of the Carpenters’ Union journal from 1912 to 1913 ended with his move to St. Louis to work for the Central Bureau of the Catholic Central Verein, where his main task was to try to secure passage of state workmen’s compensation laws. During his stay in St. Louis, Budenz, an independent radical, helped lead a strike of 4,000 women working in department stores and fought for public ownership of utilities....

Article

Burnham, Louis Everett (29 September 1915–12 February 1960), journalist, activist, and radical, was born in Harlem, New York, the son of Charles Breechford Burnham, a building superintendent, and Louise St. Clair Williams Burnham, a hairdresser. His parents had emigrated from Barbados to the United States in search of a better livelihood, and they bought their own property in Harlem and began providing rooms for new Caribbean immigrants. Burnham attended New York City public schools and graduated from Townsend High School in 1932. In the fall of 1932 he enrolled in City College. He became actively involved in student political activities, serving as president of the Frederick Douglass Society and vice president of the student council. Affable, charismatic, and a powerful orator, he often spoke on campus about racial injustice, the threat of fascism to world peace, unemployment, and the plight of American youth. He graduated from City College in 1936....

Article

Cannon, James (11 February 1890–21 August 1974), revolutionary communist and founder of American Trotskyism, was born in Rosedale, Kansas, to Ann and John Cannon, first-generation Irish immigrants. With the death of his mother in 1904, Jim Cannon began to fend for himself. He lived in a boardinghouse and worked in the rail yards. At the age of sixteen Cannon began to read socialist literature prominent in his father’s house. He returned to school, where he anchored the debate team for a year, but he ran out of money and had to again leave. Meanwhile Cannon and a young teacher, Lista Makimson, cultivated a relationship....

Image

Whittaker Chambers Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114739).

Article

Chambers, Whittaker (01 April 1901–09 July 1961), magazine editor and anti-Communist, was born Jay Vivian Chambers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Jay Chambers, a staff artist on the New York World, and Laha Whittaker, an actress. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Brooklyn, New York, then settled in Lynbrook on Long Island’s south shore. The family home was spartan and contentious, and his parents separated around 1908. It was at this time that he took the name David Whittaker. After graduating from high school, Chambers, now calling himself Charles Adams, and a friend obtained work for four months as day laborers in Washington, D.C. They then unsuccessfully sought employment in New Orleans. Late in 1919 Chambers returned to Lynbrook, agreeing to work at his father’s advertising firm in New York City. Now known as Whittaker Chambers, he also enrolled at Columbia University. Discarding the conservative Republicanism of his parents and influenced by a cadre of young intellectuals, he was attracted to Marxism. As editor in chief of the ...

Article

Childs, Morris (10 June 1902–02 June 1991), Communist official and American intelligence double agent, was born Moishe Chilovsky in Kiev, Ukraine, the son of Joseph Chilovsky, a cobbler, and Anna Chilovsky. Joseph Chilovsky, a Jew, fled Tsarist oppression, arriving in America in 1910; he sent for the rest of his family late the next year. (In 1926 the spelling of their name was Americanized, and Morris became a naturalized citizen the following year.) In 1916 Morris went to work as an apprentice in his father's business; then he became a milkman. In 1919 he joined the Communist party in Chicago. Twice arrested for participating in street demonstrations, he soon became a protégé of future party leader ...

Article

Ciancabilla, Giuseppe (21 August 1871–16 September 1904), anarchist and journalist, was born in Rome, Italy, the son of Alessandro Ciancabilla, a lumber merchant, and Appollonia Corinaldini. Raised in modest circumstances, but studious and intelligent, Ciancabilla pursued classical studies in secondary school, and in his late teens he began to write poems and articles for various publications....

Image

Roy Cohn Right, with Joseph McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy hearings. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114995).

Article

Cohn, Roy (20 February 1927–02 August 1986), anti-Communist crusader, powerbroker, and attorney, was born Roy Marcus Cohn in New York City, the son of Al Cohn, a state judge and Democratic party figure, and Dora Marcus. Dora’s father, Sam Marcus, had founded the Bank of United States, which served a largely Jewish, immigrant clientele. The bank failed during the Great Depression, and the trial of Dora’s brother Bernie Marcus for fraud was one of the formative influences of Roy’s childhood. Al Cohn was the son of a pushcart peddler, had attended law school at night, and used his political influence in the Bronx, as well as Dora’s money, to gain a position as a state trial court judge and later a seat on the intermediate state appellate court. Roy was educated at the Horace Mann School. He had an undistinguished career as an undergraduate at Columbia College and was only admitted to Columbia Law School because of the dearth of students caused by World War II and his father’s political influence. Roy did, however, finish both college and law school in three and a half years and, at age twenty, was too young to enter the bar. He spent a year as a clerk/typist for the U.S. attorney for New York and was promoted to assistant U.S. attorney after his twenty-first birthday....

Article

Cortina, Juan Nepomuceno (16 May 1824–30 October 1892), revolutionary, politician, Mexican governor, and rancher, was born in Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, the son of Trinidad Cortina, the town mayor and an important landowner, and María Estéfana Goseascochea. Little is known of Juan Cortina’s early life and education. Upon the death of his father in the early 1840s, his family moved to the Espíritu Santo grant, part of the area between the Nueces and Río Grande claimed by both Mexico and Texas and the future site of the city of Brownsville, Texas. This land belonged to Cortina’s mother. Cortina associated with ...

Article

Cvetic, Matthew C. (04 March 1909–26 July 1962), anti-Communist and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) "confidential informant", anti-Communist and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) “confidential informant,” was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Frank Cvetic and Barbara (maiden name unknown), who had emigrated from a Slovenian village in 1890. His father, after some travail, earned a comfortable living as a small businessman; his ventures included renting out a former hotel and running gas stations. Cvetic graduated from St. Mary’s parochial school, spent two years at St. Vincent’s College Preparatory School, and in 1927 completed a two-year course of study at Curry Business College in Pittsburgh. During the early 1930s he rounded out his education with mail-order courses in penology from the Seattle-based International School of Criminology....

Image

Benjamin J. Davis. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-111435).

Article

Davis, Benjamin Jefferson (08 September 1903–22 August 1964), Communist party leader, was born in Dawson, Georgia, the son of Benjamin Davis, Sr., a publisher and businessman, and Willa Porter. Davis was educated as a secondary-school student at Morehouse in Atlanta. He entered Amherst College in 1922 and graduated in 1925. At Amherst he starred on the football team and pursued lifelong interests in tennis and the violin. He then attended Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1928. He was a rarity—an African American from an affluent family in the Deep South; however, his wealth did not spare him from the indignities of racial segregation. While still a student at Amherst, he was arrested in Atlanta for sitting in the white section of a trolley car. Only the intervention of his influential father prevented him from being jailed. As he noted subsequently, it was the horror of Jim Crow—the complex of racial segregation, lynchings, and police brutality—that pushed him toward the political left....