Dorothy DeLacy

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Template:TOCnestleft Dorothy DeLacy nee Dorothy Baskin, Dorothy Rose Forest, or Dorothy Baskin Forest, was the second wife of James Frederick Forest and the third wife of Hugh DeLacy.


In December 1941, just after the US entered into the Second World War, James Frederick Forest attended the Communist Party USA’s National Convention in New York. The following August he was assigned as the Party’s Mid-West Educational Director, based in Chicago. In 1943 he and Marguerite moved to Denver, where he was District Secretary for the Party’s Western Region. On January 24, 1943, his second child was born, Richard Douglas Forest. In the summer of 1944 he was assigned to Party work in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1944 he was “swept off his feet” by Dorothy Baskin, a co-worker and comrade in Denver, who became his second wife. Dorothy gave birth to his third child, Rosanne, on November 30, 1944.


With the Cold War and McCarthy Era moving into high gear, James Frederick Forest and Dorothy, were two of five Missouri Communists arrested in September 1952 under the Smith Act, charged with conspiring to advocate the overthrow of the US government by force and violence.

On June 4, 1954, the “St. Louis Five” were convicted. Dorothy got a three-year sentence, shorter because of her maternal responsibilities; the others were sentenced to five years.

In April 1958, the Yates Smith Act case was reversed by the Federal Court of Appeals. In October 1958 the US Department of Justice moved to dismiss more than a hundred similar convictions, including those in the Missouri Smith Act case. The District Court granted the motion.[1]

California Party

In 1958 Dorothy Forest was involved in the District Council of the Communist Party USA of the Southern District of California.[2]

China trip

In April 1974 Hugh DeLacy wrote to Mme. Wu, Peoples Republic of China representative in Ottawa, requesting that a party be allowed to visit the PRC. Those requested to visit were[3];

In December 1974 Delacy received a reply from Hu Hung-fan of The Chinese Peoples Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries, Peking, China, inviting the DeLacy's but declining the rest.

The Association invited the DeLacy's to China in for three weeks in the latter part of March or April 1975 and offered to pay all their expenses in China[4].

Panetta, on the DeLacys

De Lacey - Panetta (2).jpg

In 1983 Leon Panetta placed a tribute to life long communists Hugh DeLacy and his wife Dorothy DeLacy in the Congressional Record celebrating them as "lifelong activists for social justice". It read in part "the causes to which they have dedicated their lives - peace, jobs, an end to race and sex discrimination, a halt to the costly and dangerous arms race, are causes for which we are still working today..."[5]

Remembering Hugh DeLacy

On September 6 1986 a memorial for Hugh DeLacy was held at the Louden Nelson Center, Santa Cruz, California.

Mardi Wormhoudt was the presenter, speakers included Margaret DeLacy, Jack Berman, Hon. Leon Panetta, John McTernan, Gary Patton, songs by Mike Rotkin, readings by Leon Papernow and Linda Bergholdt, a letter from Greta Davis and songs by Steve Turner and Terry Turner[6].



  2. The southern California district of the Communist Party, structure, objectives [and] leadership. Hearings, February 24,25, 1959 page 309
  3. Letter from H Delacy to Mme. Wu April 2 1974, DeLacy papers, University of Washington 3915, box 8, folder 13
  4. Letter from Hu hung-fan to H Delacy Dec. 6 1974, DeLacy papers, University of Washington 3915, box 13, folder 8
  5. Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 20, 1986, A12
  6. Memorial programme brochure, Sep.6, 1986