Strong in the Struggle: My Life as a Black Labor Activist
In the 1950s the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee launched a ruthless smear campaign and outright attack against hundreds of labor leaders, teachers, leftists, Communists, civil servants, filmmakers, civil rights activists, and many others it accused of conspiring to overthrow the government. On the basis of little or no evidence individuals were dragged before HUAC and harassed and threatened. Many lost their jobs or were jailed if they did not cooperate with a Committee that flagrantly trampled the right of freedom of speech and condemned individuals for association with progressive causes. One man who stood tall and refused to cooperate with the diabolical Committee was Lee Brown, an African American labor activist and a leader of an interracial union of waterfront workers in New Orleans. For his courageous act Brown soon lost his freedom but not his dignity. He was tried and unjustly convicted of violating the Taft-Hartley Act that prohibited Communist Party members from also serving as the leaders of labor unions. Brown spent more than two years in federal prison but his militancy and commitment to the struggle for workers' rights and civil rights remained undiminished. Strong in the Struggle tells the powerful story of the political awakening of Brown as a youth from the rural South, his life from childhood among poor black farmers, his encounters with the Jim Crow system of racial segregation and racial violence, his discovery of the changes that could be won when working people organized into unions, his rise to leadership and his time of imprisonment, and his continuing advocacy of the ideals of racial equality and socialism. Told in his own words, it is an engaging story that follows him as a young man from Louisiana to Texas as a shipyard worker, to Arizona as a railroad worker, to Los Angeles and Hollywood where he worked in restaurants and as a bit-part actor during World War II, to the docks of New Orleans and the great hotels of San Francisco as the Civil Rights an
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