The Alabama Communist Party

The Alabama Communist Party, 1930-1950

From fighting to free the Scottsboro boys, to organizing sharecroppers, the Communist Party of Alabama were crucial leaders in a number of fights for racial and economic justice. Party organizers had a dangerous and uphill struggle in front of them. Police and mob violence were real threats. Deeply entrenched racism posed a real barrier to workers’ solidarity. Yet, in spite of these harrowing obstacles, organizers in Alabama were able to build a majority-Black Communist Party whose struggle for justice helped to in some ways prefigure the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s.


This session will be led by Mary Stanton. Stanton is the author of Red, Black, White: The Alabama Communist Party, 1930–1950, the first narrative history of the American communist movement in the South since Robin D. G. Kelley’s groundbreaking Hammer and Hoe and the first to explore its key figures and actions beyond the 1930s.

Stanton is a noted chronicler of the left and of social justice movements in the South and has taught at the University of Idaho, the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey, and Rutgers University. Her past books include From Selma to Sorrow: The Life and Death of Viola Liuzzo and Journey toward Justice: Juliette Hampton Morgan and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (both Georgia); and Freedom Walk: Mississippi or Bust

Below, you will find a recording of the session.