Bea Lumpkin

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Bea Lumpkin


Beatrice Lumpkin is a long time Chicago Communist Party USA activist. She is the wife of Frank Lumpkin and the mother of John Lumpkin.

CLUW founder

In 1973, seven women activists from seven different unions put out the idea of a union women's coalition. The seven included m Addie Wyatt, a packinghouse workers' leader; Clara Day, a Teamsters Union leader; and Florence Criley, an electrical workers' leader. Soon they were joined by Barbara Merrill, a welfare worker and a founder of Black Labor Leaders of Chicago. Their work culminated in a national convention to form a "Coalition of Labor Union Women" . The convention opened in Chicago on March 22, 1974.

Eight hundred women were expected but 3,200 came. Many were young; some like participant Bea Lumpkin, not so young. Almost all had come at their own expense. Some thought it was a near miracle that so many women participated. It was no miracle. The mass sentiment was there. Union women were fired up and "not taking it anymore." The ground work had been laid in well-attended regional conferences. Lumpkin got into the action earlier in 1973, at the Midwest Regional Conference of Union Women. It was attended by 200 women from 20 different national unions and from 18 states. Men were invited to join too, to help fight for women's rights. Frank Lumpkin , was one of the first to join CLUW. [1]

Chicago Citizens Committee to Save Lives in Chile

The Chicago Citizens Committee to Save Lives in Chile sent twelve Chicago-area leaders to Chile, February 16-23, 1974. The delegation included Bea Lumpkin, two local legislators: Anna Langford, veteran Chicago City alderman and Doris Strieter, village board member in Maywood. Abe Feinglass, UFCW international vice president and Ernest DeMaio, UE district director, brought a strong labor voice. Academics included Geoffrey Fox, University of Illinois, Chicago; Father Gerard Grant, Loyola University, Chicago; George Gutierrez, Northern Illinois University and Joanne Fox Prazeworski, University of Chicago. From religious organizations were James Reed, pastor of the Parish of the Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, Chicago; Jane Reed, of the board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church, and Dean Peerman, managing editor, Christian Century.

The twelfth member was Frank Teruggi, Sr., whowanted to find out who had killed his son, Frank Teruggi, Jr., during the coup. When he returned, he said that his questions had been answered. He believed that his son had been detained in the National Stadium and murdered there, perhaps on order of the U.S. government.

The delegation spent one week in Chile. They gave a dramatic report on their return. Over 800 Chicagoans paid admission to hear their report and to support solidarity with Chile. For those who could not attend, Peggy Lipschutz and Bea Lumpkin produced an illustrated booklet with the highlights of the report.[2]

WREE contact

Beatrice Lumpkin, of Chicago, was on a May 2, 1985 mailing list for Chicago Women for Racial and Economic Equality - a front for the Communist Party USA.[3]

Birthday Greetings to William "Red" Davis

In December 1995 the Communist Party USA newspaper Peoples Weekly World published a page of 75th birthday greetings to William Davis - "Lifelong working class fighter and Communist"

In the fight for the unity and integrity of the Party in St. Louis, Missouri, in the post-war years, "Red" has been a rock of confidence and commitment to building the Communist Party.

Greetings were sent from Bea Lumpkin and Frank Lumpkin of Illinois[4].

2000 Chicago PWW banquet

The 2000 banquet, held October 28 at the House of Fortune restaurant featured Congressman Danny Davis as guest speaker.

Local honorees were;

A special award went to Evelina Alarcon, co-ordinator of the Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday.

Lance Cohn was a banquet organizer.[5]

Rally to Lower Gas Bills

In the winter of 2001, the gas bills for heating Chicago homes rose. Members of Bea Lumpkin's South Side Communist Club were angry too when they saw their huge gas bills. We agreed, anger is not useful unless it leads to effective action.

So on February 7, 2001, the Communist club took the first step to start the fightback. They talked to their coalition partners and together acted fast. Within a week they had a rally of 130 people to demand lower gas prices.

On February 13, 2001, USWA and Save Our Jobs Committee co-sponsored a rally in the steel union hall in South Chicago. They formed a new group, "Angry Utility Consumers." They included presidents of three USWA locals, Bea Lumpkin , Frank Lumpkin of Save Our Jobs Committee, Katie Jordan of Chicago Coalition of Labor Union Women; community leaders included Rev. Winfield Phillips, Free Salvation Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Bill Hogan, Saint Bride Roman Catholic Church, and many block club presidents and members.

The next month (March) they brought a busload of protesters to a demonstration against Peoples Gas, a company owned by Peoples Energy. The company claimed they were not profiting from the rise in gas prices. At a later date, the Illinois attorney general proved the company had lied. Peoples Gas was forced to pay back the overcharge to their gas customers.

That demonstration was organized by Pat Quinn, later elected Illinois lieutenant governor. He became governor after Rod Blagojevich was removed. Other community groups came from Bridgeport, Back of the Yards (stockyards) and South Austin. That same evening, at our coalition strategy meeting, they were joined by State Senator Donne Trotter, who was asked to introduce a bill to extend the moratorium on gas shutoffs until the gas crisis ended. He promised to "look into" it. [6]

Endorsed Communist Party Call

On March 30 2002 the Communist Party USA paper People’s Weekly World called for a national holiday in honor of late Farm Workers Union leader Cesar Chavez. The article was followed by a long list of endorsers[7]including Bea Lumpkin, Almost all endorsers were confirmed members of the Communist Party USA.

Communist Party USA

In September 2006 the Peoples Weekly World[8]listed several members of the Illinois Communist Party USA.

Joan Elbert, Barbara Russum, Bea Lumpkin, William Appelhans, Bill Mackovich, Carolyn Black, Carroll Krois, Dee Myles , Doug Freedman, Frank Lumpkin, John Bachtell, Kevin Collins, Lance Cohn, Mark Almberg, Marguerite Horberg, Martha Pedroza, Mike Giocondo, Pepe Lozano, Roberta Wood, Scott Marshall, Shelby Richardson, Sijisfredo Aviles, Sue Webb, Terrie Albano.

ARA leader

In 2001, the national AFL-CIO helped establish the Alliance for Retired Americans , a "progressive retiree organization".

Chicago Communist Party USA members Frank Lumpkin and Bea Lumpkin attended the founding convention, representing the Save Our Jobs Committee. They paid our own fare but stayed with son Paul Lumpkin in Washington DC. [9]

ARA opened its arms to community groups, too. SOJ, the retiree group, had found a new home!

In 2006 Bea Lumpkin was a leader of Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans.[10]

Honoring Frank Wilkinson

Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights organized a "Celebration of the The Dynamic Life of Frank Wilkinson (1914-2006)" on Sunday October 29, 2006. Wilkinson had been a leader of the Communist Party USA, the New American Movement and Democratic Socialists of America[11].

Honoring Committee members included Bea Lumpkin and Frank Lumpkin.

Long time Obama fan

Bea Lumpkin has been a longtime supporter and a fan of Barack Obama.

Beatrice-lumpkin-with-obama-poster.jpg

As a friend, supporter and campaigner for pro communist Chicago mayor Harold Washington, Lumpkin credits the Washington campaigns with blazing the way for Barack Obama.[12]

Sadly, when Washington died in office, the Democratic Party hacks crept back into power. The movement around Harold had not had time to jell into an organization with staying power. Still, the lessons of that campaign, with its spirit of African American, Latino and labor unity, took deep root in Chicago. Those roots nourished the spectacular rise of a new voice for people's unity, Barack Obama. Since then, Obama's strong voice has brought the message of unity to every corner of the country.

From her book "Joy in the Struggle", pages 244, to 248;

I am sure that Frank and I met Obama in the '80s. That's when he was working on pollution problems at the Altgeld Gardens public housing. The site was close to the steel mills, and Frank was active on similar pollution issues. We certainly knew the community people with whom Obama was working. But I cannot say that we knew the Obama name then. There were two reasons for that. Both Frank and I have a hard time remembering names. More important, was Obama's style. He pushed the community people forward and stayed out of the limelight himself. After Obama became our state senator in 1996, we knew his name, and I am sure he knew ours.
We were also friends with Alice Palmer, a progressive state senator. When she ran for Congress, Barack Obama won the vacated state senatorial seat.

During Obama's years in the Illinois Senate, we heard many good things about him. I helped organize steel worker retirees to visit Obama about health care legislation. He made us happy by telling us he was a sponsor of the legislation we wanted. And we liked his stand against a U.S. invasion of Iraq. He told us he was thinking of running for the US Senate.
Electing Obama to the U.S. Senate was a must-win election for us... The hardest part of the senatorial campaign was winning the Democratic primary...
About that time in the campaign, I heard Michelle Obama for the first time. Barack Obama introduced her in a way that really appealed to me. It showed not only his love for his wife but also his respect for women. "I want to introduce my wife, Michelle. She is taller than I am, smarter, and better looking." Michelle Obama then took the podium and gave a good, progressive review of the issues we care about.
The stakes were high. To win, each one of us had to do more than we could. But Frank was 88 and I was 86. Sure, we were in good shape "for our age." But how good was that? Well we found out. We worked and we worked and worked. And we did a lot of worrying, too. The polls kept teetering back and forth...As it was, he won the nomination in a landslide, 29 percent higher than his nearest Democratic opponent.
With Obama safely nominated, we relaxed just a little. We no longer had to dream the impossible dream. But nobody knew how much racism might cut into Obama's vote. It takes a huge supermajority in Chicago to offset the Republican counties in southern Illinois. So once more we needed to work on voter registration. But Frank and I could not continue the pace of the primary election. We did not have to. Many new activists came forward.
That August, at the 2004 Democratic Convention, Obama gave the speech that became his "trademark," the call for people to unite to benefit the whole country. In November 2004, Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate with 70 percent of the vote...
As an 18-year old, I served as a poll watcher in 1936.1 was not yet 21, not old enough to vote. In fact I served as poll watcher in more local elections than I can remember. But it was not until 1948 that I really threw myself into an election, heart and soul and body, too. That was the Progressive Party campaign to elect Henry Wallace for president. Fast forward to 1983 for Harold Washington, as described above. And then we come to 2008, for Barack Obama. That was like nothing I had ever seen. There had been a high level of enthusiasm when Washington ran for mayor. But nothing equaled the Obama campaign for president.
I was ecstatic when Barack Obama put his name forward as a candidate for the nomination for U.S. president. There were other good candidates, with Kucinich the clearest progressive voice. But my hopes went through the ceiling when Obama spoke. A progressive African American for president? About time and more! With Obama, we could not only reject "W's" years of right-wing destruction, we could move the country forward. Then something I had never seen before happened. People surged forward and took ownership of the campaign. The candidate himself encouraged them to do that. He kept talking about "we" and "you" and repeated "It's not about me." People took him at his word. They believed him, and let their imaginations flow. Soon there was a flowering of people's Obama art and music that flooded "You Tube," kept artists busy and printing presses running. Tee-shirts by the millions were silk screened or whatever method is now used.
My favorite tee-shirt was the one that said, "We Are the Ones We Were Waiting For." This was the feeling of empowerment that was taking root in working class neighborhoods and communities of color. The coffee shop in my neighborhood, the family restaurant two miles away, friend after friend, were inviting me to forums, phone call parties, debate watching, pizza feasts, most with a television hookup to the national campaign. Strangers visited strangers, and all at once we were not strangers anymore. We were sisters and brothers united in the greatest cause of all—saving our people and our country from the Bush disaster and to rebuild America.
Soon after Obama opened a volunteer center in Chicago, I went down to help. They were making phone calls into battleground states. The large office was crowded. All the seats were taken. All the phones were in use. And every inch of floor space was occupied by 16 to 25 year olds, sprawled in various teenage positions. They had thought to bring their chargers for their cell phones and were calling away. The young people were a perfect cross-section of multiracial Chicago, a total blend of purpose and dedication. My heart sang, and I had the rare feeling that I was not needed. My replacements had arrived!
By primary time 2008,1 was nearing my 90th birthday. Did I have one more campaign left in my arthritic legs? "Yes," my heart told me, and my legs kindly cooperated. Of course, I could have spared my knees, sat in a chair, and made telephone calls for the campaign.
When the votes were counted, Indiana came through for Obama-Biden! It was close. The steel retirees felt that they had made a difference, all of us. We are still celebrating our huge victory. Things have never moved so fast. At this writing, it is only six weeks since Obama took office. We are being swallowed up by the biggest economic disaster since the '30s. And it is beginning to look as though nothing smaller than a new New Deal can help us. How good it is that we have a president who has made job creation a plank of his crisis program. Had we not worked so hard and elected Obama, we'd be under a president who would let the people drown.
Meanwhile, Frank spent the campaign in the nursing home. I talked to him about Obama every day. I knew he wanted to know. But I could not tell if the news was getting through to him. The day after the election, the first page of the New York Times carried Obama's picture and his name in three-inch letters. I showed it to Frank. He looked at it, hard. Then he drew his right arm out from under the covers, bent it at the elbow, and raised his clenched fist high!

Obama '08

Bea Lumpkin was a strong supporter of Barack Obama.

I was immediately attracted to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential primary. We knew Obama as our Illinois state senator with a progressive record. For me, even more exciting than Obama himself, was the vast network of volunteers who came forward to elect him. I decided to visit the Obama volunteer center in Chicago to see how I could help. I was thrilled to see hundreds of volunteers, almost all in their teens or 20s. Some were at desks but most were sprawled on the floor in comfortable teenage positions. They were calling voters, talking into all kinds of phones and cell phones.
I heard Obama speak out against invading Iraq before the war started. It was a nasty cold, windy day. In spite of the weather, Frank and I joined the march organized by the Hyde Park Peace Council. We still hoped to avoid the catastrophe of a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Our spirits were lifted when a state senator mounted the makeshift podium we had set up in the little park. The state senator was Barack Obama. After the disastrous war started, the most important issue for working families became, "End the war in Iraq." So when Obama entered the presidential primary, it was an easy choice: Obama for president...
I was one of hundreds of thousands who gave their all to elect Obama.[13]

Obama 2012

1111 (3).jpg

In 2012 Communist Party USA member Pat Flagg and her friend Bea Lumpkin were supporting the re-election campaign of president Barack Obama, through their association with Seniors for Obama.

References

  1. [Joy in the Struggle, My Life and Love, Bea Lumpkin, page 163]
  2. [Joy in the Struggle, My Life and Love, Bea Lumpkin, page 195]
  3. WREE Chicago mailing list, May 2, 1985, Sandy Patrinos papers, Tamiment Library, New York
  4. Peoples Weekly World December 9, 1995 page 19
  5. PWW October 7, 2000
  6. Joy in the Struggle, Bea Lumpkin, page 220]
  7. http://www.pww.org/index.php/article/articleview/882/
  8. We salute the labor movement!, People's World, September 1, 2006
  9. [Joy in the Struggle, Bea Lumpkin, page 226]
  10. PW Chile revisited a hopeful time, by: Beatrice Lumpkin, May 19 2006
  11. http://www.ccdbr.org/events/wilkinson/Wilkinson_Committee.html
  12. [Joy in the Struggle, Bea Lumpkin, page 243]
  13. [Joy in the Struggle, Bea Lumpkin, page 167]