Dorothy Healey remembers a life in the American communist party
Oxford University Press, 1990 - Biography & Autobiography - 263 pages
In a political career that spanned nearly five decades, Dorothy Healey became one of the few women to rise to leadership in the American Communist Party. Joining the Party in 1928 at age fourteen, she served as leader of the Los Angeles district--the second largest in the country--for over twenty years, as well as serving on the Party's National Committee. As a strike leader, opponent of McCarthyism, Vietnam War protester, radio commentator, candidate for public office, and mentor to Angela Davis, Healey won fame as "a tough lady red." Within the Party, she was equally controversial for her increasingly outspoken criticism of its authoritarianism and subservience to the Soviet Union.
Dorothy Healey Remembers recounts this remarkable life in Healey's own words, written in collaboration with historian Maurice Isserman, who has filled out her story by drawing from private letters, the recollections of her friends and relatives, newspaper articles, and secret FBI documents. In this fascinating narrative, Healey recalls the epic labor struggles of California's migrant workers in the 1930s (at one point she had a $10,000 price on her head as she was hunted by vigilantes and police). Accused of being a subversive and arrested under the Smith Act during the McCarthy era, she and her fellow defendants took their case all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled key provisions of the act unconstitutional. In later years, Healey battled the intransigent dogmatism of the American CP, denounced the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and finally resigned in 1973.
Dorothy Healey's engaging narrative, deftly edited and supplemented by Maurice Isserman, provides a candid inside look at American Communism from the 1920s through the 1970s, while unfolding the story of one woman's struggle to combine the roles of wife, mother, and political revolutionary.
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