Communist Party of Maryland

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The Communist Party of Maryland is affiliated with the Communist Party USA.

Celebrating 100 years of the Party

According to Tim Wheeler a multi-racial crowd from the mid-Atlantic region, Sept. 15, 2019 celebrated the founding of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) a century ago in 1919, filling a church here with singing, poetry, and calls for the ouster of President Trump.

Kuya Kemet, chair of the gathering, welcomed people who traveled from Virginia and Washington D.C. to join the Baltimore crowd.

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Keynote speaker Carol Widom, a leader of the CPUSA from Brooklyn, N.Y., assailed Trump for abandoning Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria two years ago. It triggered a massive uprising, she said. “It was a broad struggle that went beyond just trying to get rid of the government.”

Herself Puerto Rican and a retired New York City school teacher, Widom said the suffering unified long-divided advocates of statehood and independence. A general strike swept the island led by school teachers, electrical workers, and other unions. The women’s equality movement, youth, and community groups joined. The “corrupt governor” was forced out, she said, although the “Junta” still enforces colonial domination.

“As Communists, our role is to expose colonialism,” she said. Solidarity with Puerto Rico must be a demand in the campaign to defeat Trump, she said. The insurrection in Puerto Rico, Widom continued, “showed the power that workers have to change the world.” The crowd applauded and Luci Murphy, a Washington, D.C. singer, led the crowd in singing, “No more racism, we are going to change the world.”

Lady Brion, a spoken-word performer, recited her “Prison-Industrial Complex,” a modern-day “plantation,” with inmates taking the part of chattel slaves.

The church was bedecked with banners and placards: “People Before Profits,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Que Viva! Puerto Rico Libre.”

Jaime Cruz, a Puerto Rican, now chair of the Claudia Jones CP Club in Washington D.C., praised Widom’s call for solidarity. He called for celebration of Claudia Jones, born in Trinidad-Tobago, a leader of the CPUSA imprisoned under the infamous Smith Act and deported to the U.K. during the years of Cold War repression.

Cindy Farquhar, chair of the Baltimore CP Club, presented a history of the Communist Party in Maryland. Highlights included George Meyers’ organizing Celanese workers in Cumberland, Md., into the Textile Workers Union in the 1930s. He was later elected president of the Maryland-D.C. CIO. He and a fellow Baltimore CP stalwart, Roy Wood, were imprisoned for four years under the Smith Act.

Joseph Henderson, an African-American steelworker at Bethlehem Steel’s Sparrows Point mill signed up thousands of Black coke oven workers into the United Steelworkers. Henderson was hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee and blacklisted. When Meyers was released from prison, he and Henderson installed awnings on people’s houses for a living. Also on the list of party heroes were National Maritime Union members Jake Green and Howard Silverberg. Silverberg later was a Sparrows Point steelworker.

In 1948, Maryland Communists led the struggle to end Jim Crow segregation at the tennis courts in Druid Hill Park. Arrested in the sit-down, they were defended by Harold Buchman, Baltimore’s most renowned civil rights and civil liberties attorney. Baltimore ended segregation in its park system in 1955.

The CP organized the Baltimore Committee to Free Angela Davis, later the Baltimore Committee to End Racist and Political Repression. Margaret Baldridge played the leading role in building both the Free Angela movement and the Alliance. She continues that spearhead role in the Baltimore CP today.

This activism was upheld by Margaret’s husband, Jim Baldridge, a shipbuilder who later became a leader of Hospital Workers Local 1199, and Joyce P. Wheeler, a staunch grassroots leader of the Baltimore Teachers Union. Baldridge died in 2018 and Wheeler died in 2019.

Fred Mason, former President of the Maryland-D.C. AFL-CIO said he visited the New Era Book Shop in 1966 and met Bob Lee, then the store manager. Mason said he had come to the celebration “as a friend of the CPUSA…. I learned invaluable lessons that helped me over the last 52 years…. friends I could always count on.”

Former Maryland State Legislator Salima Siler Marriott said she met members of the Baltimore party club 35 years ago. A decade ago, she added, socialism was a scare word. Now, candidates “are not afraid to say they are socialists,” and are winning election.

Barbara Larcom, leader of a Nicaragua solidarity group, said, “We are with you for democracy, justice, against racism and white supremacy. And for sovereignty of the nations.”

Marc Steiner, a popular radio talk-show host, said he joined a Communist youth organization when he was 15 years old. He warned that “right-wing white nationalists” are “taking over our country,” adding, “We need to work together and stand together” to defeat this menace to democracy.[1]

Honoring Joseph Henderson

On September 4, 1999, the following added their names to the below greeting. The list is mainly made up of members of the CPUSA in Baltimore, Maryland, if not exclusively of them, as Henderson was a key CPUSA leader in the Baltimore CPUSA for many decades.[2]

"We think often of our believed Joseph P. Henderson, steel union organizer, Communist and the life of the part. We try to live up to the example he set in the struggle for peace, equality and Socialism"

Ellen Pinter showed up as a member of the Baltimore Jews For Peace phone-booth operation in 1971, at a "service" re peace in Vietnam. What remained of the core of the old Baltimore/Maryland CPUSA also attended this event and attempted to take it over. They were exposed by a group of liberal & conservative Jews who know who they really were and what they were up to.[4]. GET COMPLETE CITATION. (Need to check who her husband was. Believe he was an identified member of the CPUSA from the 1950s hearings)

May Day Cinco de Mayo Greetings

1996

The following May Day greeting was included in the Special May Day 1996 Supplement of the People's Weekly World.[5]

"In memory of Joseph P. Henderson, Steelworker, active trade unionist, Communist leader, 1912-1995. Joe brought joy and happiness to all of us. He gave us confidence that the people, united, will win. We strive to live as he lived, in the struggle for jobs, equality, peace and a Socialist USA. He was a star to steer by."

Henderson was one of the top leaders of the Maryland CPUSA, especially during the heydays of Joseph Stalin and Nikita Kruschchev

This list is dominated by the names of members of the Baltimore CP Maryland CP, though there are other regional and national CPUSA leaders also included in the list.

The following put their names to the greeting (the list is dominated by the names of members of the Baltimore CPUSA and Maryland CPUSA):

Many of these Maryland/Baltimore names will show up in other "Greetings" including the "Special May Day 1998 Supplement of the People's Weekly World" - i.e. Green, Gilbert, Schmerler, Silverberg, Meyers) and at the Footnote 3 link below to the PWW, July 27, 2007 article - "We Salute Joyce Wheeler" and names list.

1997

The following May Day greeting was included in the Special May Day 1997 Supplement of the People's Weekly World.[8]

"We honor George A. Meyers, native son of the Maryland working class, who first felt the "fresh winds" in the ranks of organized labor. He helped make that wind blow strong. With pride from his many friends, neighbours, and comrades."

Signatories were:

1999

The following May Day greeting was included in the Special May Day 1999 Supplement of the People's Weekly World.[9]

"May Day Greetings to George A. Myers. Your friends, neighbours and comrades in Maryland and across the country are proud of your lifelong leadership in the struggle for the rights of the working class and for a Socialist USA. You have always had your finger on the pulse and a song in your heart. "

The following put their names to the greeting:

Dedication to Joseph P. Henderson

In the Labor Day supplement People's Weekly World, September 4, 1999 a dedication was placed for Joseph Henderson.

Dedication to Howard Silverberg

In the June 28, 2003, Page 16 of People's Weekly World a dedication was placed to Howard Silverberg. "We mourn the passing of our beloved Howard Silverberg. We celebrate his lifelong struggle for equality and against racism, for union rights, jobs and health care, world peace and socialism. We pledge ourselves to continue his fight".

Marylanders Identified as Affiliated with the CP of Maryland or Its Members

In the July 14, 2003 People's Weekly World (PWW) article about the life history and death of Howard B. Silverberg, several names appeared of people who knew him and in some cases, worked with him in various groups. Not all of them have been identified as members of the CP of Maryland, and some may not be members but only acquaintances worthy of note.

Maryland CP memorial

The PWW May 1, 2004 remembered several late members of the Maryland Communist Party.

Miscellaneous Identifications of People in the CPUSA and/or Its' Youth Arms

This section is a collection of miscellaneous sources/identifications of people who were members of the CPUSA and/or its' various youth arms over time. The sources will be posted with the individual's name rather than as a footnote in order to save space.

From The Administrator's Desk section of the "Daily World"

  • H. B. - Baltimore, $10 donor to the Daily World (DW) fund drive, DW, July 24, 1971, "From the Administrator's Desk" (FAD)list of nationwide donors. ([[Harold Buchman, an identified CPUSA member and attorney, lived in Baltimore at this time. He was convicted of advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government in the 1950 and served a jail term. He was disbarred from practicing law but many years later fought for reinstatement as a lawyer. A court turned him down.
  • R. L. - Baltimore, $5.00, DW, Nov. 17, 1971, FAD
  • William D - Maryland-DC donors, $10, DW, FAD, Sept. 6, 1974
  • S. Bencich - $50, FAD ""
  • Roger - $5, FAD ""
  • L. G. - Adelphi, Md, DW 5/26/71, P. 11
  • F. H. - Baltimore, $5.00, DW, 5/23/73
  • S.E., George Murphy and J. Green, donors, DW, 12/30/72 - "Greetings to Contributors', "Maryland-DC" (party)


  • S.E. - $25 = id. CP member Sidney Efross - Contributions Acknowledged, DW, April 20, 1973, P. 11 (4 donations totaling $260.00)

From the DW article "Afro-American delegation honors Robeson USSR", July 25, 1973, dateline Washington, D.C. , ".. an Afro-American friendship delegation will visit the Soviet Union August 1-15 (1973) to pay tribute to the strong bonds of friendship between Afro-Americans and the Soviet people fashioned over many years by the world renowned artist and freedom-fighter Paul Robeson and his late wife, Eslanda Robeson, noted writer and anthropologist."

"The delegation, led by George B. Murphy, Jr. of Washington D.C., a friend and colleague of Robeson for many years and a semi-retired staff member of the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper chain, includes,



  • Joe Valeriano - Baltimore, Letter to the Editor, DW, March 31, 1972, "What's A Fiver Worth?"
  • Carl Gentile - "a Baltimore YWLL member", DW, Oct. 19/20/1972, "The hospital campaign - In Baltimore"
  • Simon Jeffries - "Black Baltimore YWLL chairman", DW, 10/19/72, same article
  • Robert W. Lee - "manager of the "Progressive" New Era Bookshop New Era Bookshop, and a life-long Marxist leader, died Sunday at the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Washington, D.C. He was 57". Daily World, Dec. 20/21/1971 - "Robert Lee dies at 57; fought Baltimore Klan". "He was a member of the District Board of the Communist Party of Maryland -D.C." at the time of his death.
  • Sirkka Lee Sirka Lee - wife of CPUSA member Robert W. Lee, DW, 12/20/71. Had a Letter to the Editor in the DW of Jan. 11, 1972, spelled Sirka Lee
  • Harry R. Lee and Mrs. Harry R. Lee - parents of Robert Lee, DW 12/20/71
  • Jack Lee - brother of Harry Lee. DW, 12/20/71

References

  1. PW Baltimore crowd celebrates 100 years of the Communist Party USA September 17, 2019 1:20 PM CDT BY TIM WHEELER
  2. September 4, 1999, Labor Day Supplement of People's Weekly World, Page E
  3. Notes of Max Friedman, a native of Baltimore, Md.
  4. Personal communication from Max Friedman, a Baltimore native, who attended the meeting and took notes of those present. He also got inside information from one of the Jewish anti-communists, Marion Buchman, the then wife of CPUSA member/attorney Harold Buchman, the local NLG leader. Buchman took the Fifth Amendment before HCUA on May 5, 1957, Hearings, Communist Party, Baltimore, Maryland, Part 2
  5. Special May Day 1966 Supplement of the People's Weekly World, P. B.
  6. People's Weekly World, July 14, 2003, "Howard B. Silverberg: Fighter for peace and equality", Page 16
  7. People's Weekly World, July 14, 2003, "Howard B. Silverberg: Fighter for peace and equality", Page 16
  8. Special May Day 1997 Supplement of the People's Weekly World, Section G
  9. Special May Day 1999 Supplement of the People's Weekly World, P. B.