Born in 1914 in Brooklyn, of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, Gaynor’s family moved to Chicago when he was a child. His father was a tailor and furrier and a member of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union.
Gaynor attended Finger High School in Roseland on Chicago’s South Side. When the Great Depression struck, he had to leave school to help support the family, While working, he met Communist Party USA member Mario Manzardo, who gave him pamphlets and the Daily Worker.
Joining the Communist Party
At the beginning of World War II, Gaynor found work at the Chicago Dodge plant making parts for the B-29 bomber. There he met another party activist, Sam Gold, with whom he had many discussions about the Communist Party’s views and its role in fighting Hitler fascism. He subsequently joined the and remained a member to the end of his life.
Tribute to Golub and Montgomery
ON November 16, 1989, Harry Gaynor and Anne Gaynor served on the Tribute Committee for the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights Tribute to Leon Golub and Lucy Montgomery, held at the Congress Hotel, Chicago.
In 1947 Gaynor married Anne and shortly afterwards they took real estate courses at Wright College and began their own business in the then white South Lawndale community. The discrimination in housing became personal when they were denied renting an apartment because they were Jewish.
The couple became more active in fighting discrimination and racism. They also joined and were active with the NAACP, the Greater Lawndale Conservation Commission, the USA-USSR Friendship Council, Freedom of Residents, the Progressive Party, Chicago Peace Council, ACLU, Anti-Defamation League and the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.
In the late 1950s, the Gaynors owned and lived in a three-family unit in the predominantly white Garfield Park neighborhood. They rented one unit to a newly wed Black couple, both city workers. The community’s reaction was immediate.
The next day over 2,000 white bigots demonstrated outside. Gunfire shattered windows, and the building’s back porch was set afire. Police had to restore order, but the Gaynors and their tenants were under siege for nearly a year. But they persevered with support from many organizations and progressives, among them the Rev. Edwin Bueher of the Third Unitarian Church.
Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights
In 1992 Harry Gaynor and Anne Gaynor were members of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, a long time front for the Communist Party USA, then dominated by members of the newly formed Committees of Correspondence.
1999 May Day greetings
Paul Robeson 100th Birthday Committee
Chicago Communist Party banquet
According to the Peoples Weekly World October 3 1998, Congressman Danny K. Davis interrupted his campaign work for United States Senate candidate Carol Moseley Braun and gubernatorial candidate Glenn Poshard to present an award at the 1998 Chicago Peoples Weekly World banquet. Davis praised Communist Party USA member and Hani-Lozano Award winner Harry Gaynor's "active role in tearing city's segregated walls and working for peace".
- John Randolph, actor
- Johnnie Jackson, Chicago Coalition of Labor Union Women and also an Hani-Lozano Award winner
- Lupe Lozano
- Alma Washington, event chair, Actors Equity member
- Scott Marshall, Illinois Communist Party organizer
- Tim Yeager, lead the singing
- Alyssa Coiley, Young Communist League
This event raised $10,000 towards keeping the Communist Party paper afloat..
- Tribute to Golub and Montgomery: Program, Nov. 16, 1989
- CCDBR 1992 membership list
- Special May Day 1999 Supplement of the People's Weekly World
- Peoples Weekly World, "Chicago Banquet Nets $10,000 for 'World'", p. 3, with photo of Davis, Harry Gaynor, John Randolph - id. CPUSA, Alma Washington, Lupe Lozano, widow of murdered radical Rudy Lozano and whose son is a member of the CPUSA; Johnnie Johnson, former president of Chicago CLUW CLUW (a woman), and Scott Marshall, Illinois District organizer fo the CPUSA.