Henry Winston (affectionately known as Winnie) was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he lived until 1925. At that time his parents, Lucille and Joseph Winston, moved their family of six children to Kansas City, Missouri.
In Kansas City the young Henry Winston came to the fore of his school classes and stood out on the playing field in sports. But the hard ties of the Depression years soon closed in on his school days.
- Winston joined the growing lines of job seekers. He entered the job market to help sustain the family. Already a veteran I the defense of his dignity against racist practices and prejudices, he entered on the road of the class struggle. At this time he made his lifelong commitment to the cause of the workers who produce the nation's wealth. Winston championed a fair distribution of goods to satisfy the material and cultural needs of people, advocated the right of workers to become the owners of the fruits of their labor and to exercise political power to ensure the just and peaceful development of society.
In 1933 Winston joined the Young Communist League USA. He became a leader in the struggles of the unemployed, and for the "civil rights and equality of African American people against racist repression, Jim Crow laws and lynch terror."
By 1936 Winston had become the National Administrative Secretary of the Young Communist League USA, and at the same time he became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party USA. Gus Hall described Henry Winston on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday as "the steel cable that binds together the Party, and the Party with the working class." The Communist Party was the channel of choice for his entire life's work.
- Henry Winston exerted an important influence on progressive developments of his times, in the United States and throughout the world. He was a soldier in the war against fascism for four years. He was a leading personality in the ongoing battle for peace in the world and for an end to the existence of nuclear weapons, on earth and in space. He was an internationalist who championed the brotherhood on nations. He ardently supported the cause of the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa and defended Nicaragua's inalienable right to freely determine its own path of development. He was a loyal friend of the Soviet Union, of Cuba, of Ethiopia, and of all the great community of states which have embarked on the socialist path.
During the "McCarthy period" Winston was sentenced to serve time in prison under the Smith Act. During his time in jail he developed a brain tumor. It took a world wide struggle to get him released for medical attention. By the time he received attention the tumor had affected the optic nerve and as a result he lost his sight. The world wide struggle eventually won Winston a Presidential Pardon. Despite his blindness Winston went on to be elected as Chairman of the Communist Party USA and served in that capacity until his death.
Arrested, Smith Act
Leading Communist Party USA members arrested under the Smith Act were;
- Benjamin J. Davis, Jr. – Chairman of the CPUSA's Legislative Committee and Council-member of New York City
- Eugene Dennis – CPUSA General Secretary
- William Z. Foster – CPUSA National Secretary (indicted; but not tried due to illness)
- John Gates – Leader of the Young Communist League
- Gil Green – Member of the National Board
- Gus Hall – Member of the CPUSA National Board
- Irving Potash – Furriers Union official
- Jack Stachel – Editor of the Daily Worker
- Robert G. Thompson – Lead of the New York branch of CPUSA
- John Williamson – Member of the CPUSA Central Committee
- Henry Winston – Member of the CPUSA National Board
- Carl Winter – Lead of the Michigan branch of CPUSA
Fidel Castro offered to release the imprisoned Bay of Pigs mercenaries in exchange for the release of Winston who was plagued by health problems and medical neglect — and eventually went blind — behind bars.
Herbert Aptheker Testimonial Dinner
On April 28, 1966 Henry Winston was a sponsor of the Herbert Aptheker Testimonial Dinner. The dinner was held on the occasion of Herbert Aptheker's 50th birthday, the publication of his 20th book, and the 2nd anniversary of the American Institute for Marxist Studies. It was held in the Sutton Ballroom, The New York Hilton, Avenue of the Americas, 53rd to 54th Street, New York City. Most speakers, organizers and sponsors were known members or supporters of the Communist Party USA.
Communist delegation at MLK funeral
Communist Party USA National Chairman Henry Winston, lead a Party delegation to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral. It included Claude Lightfoot, Mickey Lima, Arnold Johnson, Charlene Mitchell, Gil Green.
National Anti-Imperialist Conference in Solidarity With African Liberation
Henry Winston, National Chairman of Communist Party USA was named as a sponsor of the Communist Party USA dominated National Anti-Imperialist Conference in Solidarity With African Liberation held at Dunbar Vocational High School, Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, October 19 to 21 1973.
Communist Party Affiliation
- In Chicago on October 27, 1971 - The Presidential Ballroom of the Midland Hotel was packed with more than 400 people last Friday to mark the 8Oth birthday of Wiliam L.Patterson, the man who rocked the world with his charge of genocide against the U.S. imperialists. Spokesmen for the committee sponsoring the banquet told the Daily World that many who had delayed in getting reservations had to be turned away. Veterans of the working class movement said they could not remember an occasion bringing together such a broad spectrum of workers, trade unionists and professionals, in a tribute to a Communist leader.
According to the World-sharing the head table with Patterson and his wife; Louise Thompson Patterson, were Ishmael Flory, master of ceremonies and chairman of the Banquet Committee; Henry Winston, chairman of the Communist Party; Claude Lightfoot and Arnold Johnson, CP leaders; Mrs. Sallye Davis, mother of Angela Davis, Pearl Hart, civil liberties attorney, Rev. John Hill, chairman of the Aliance to End Repression, Ernest DeMaio, director of District 11 of the United Electrical Workers; Jack Kling, secretary of the Illinois CP; Lynn Stinnette, Illnois chairman of the Young Workers Liberation League, and Betty Smith and Tommy Dennis, who led delegations from Minnesota and Michigan respectively.
We Will Make Peace Prevail!
On March 28, 1982 the New World Review organized a gala luncheon "We Will Make Peace Prevail! Disarmament Over Confrontation, Life Over Death", at the Grand Ballroom, Hotel Roosevelt, New York City. Virtually all participants were identified as Communist Party USA.
CPUSA National Office
Pat Barile, lower right, with some of his co-workers at the CPUSA National Office, April 1977. Top row, from left: Joelle Fishman, Ken Newcomb, Beth Edelman, Betty Smith, Ed Teixeira, Margaret Cann, and Lee Dlugin. Bottom row, from left: Henry Winston, Jake Green, and Arnold Becchetti.
- Dinner Program for the Herbert Aptheke Dinner, April 28, 1966
- National Anti-Imperialist Conference in Solidarity With African Liberation - Partial list of sponsors
- Daily World October 28 1971
- Daily World October 28 1971
- We Will Make Peace Prevail! event brochure