Milton Cohen

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Milton Cohen

Template:TOCnestleft Milton M. Cohen (February 17, 1915 - January1, 1994) was one of the founders[1] and first Executive Director of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.

American Student Union

A "Milton Cohen", University of Illinois, Chicago, student, was listed as a delegate to the founding of the American Student Union (ASU) founding conference in , on 1934. [2].

The ASU was eventually taken over by the CPUSA and cited as a Communist front by HCUA in their "Guide to Subversive Organizations and Publications, 1961 edition, on page ##.

CCDBR founders

1960 Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights founders were Boris Brail, Milt Cohen, Richard Criley, Ben Green, Prof. Robert Havighurst, Charles Lippitz, Rev.Victor Obenhaus[3].


In the early 1960s, Milton Cohen and Benjamin Friedlander were leaders of the Hyde Park Independent Voters of Illinois[4].

In 1981 Milton Cohen was on the Board of Directors of Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization[5].

National Committee to Abolish HUAC/HISC

Cohen was a listed participant in the April 8-9, 1967 "National Conference" of the congressionally identified Communist Party USA (CPUSA) front, the "National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), held in Chicago, Illinois. He was only listed by home address; no organizational affiliations.[6].

Cohen was also a listed participant in the "Tenth National Committee Meeting", March 22-24, 1969, in Washington, D.C. It was also known as the "Legislative Conference and Lobby In Pursuit of First Amendment Principle to Abolish Inquisitorial Committees & Oppose Repressive Laws." This conference featured the best and brightest of the CPUSA's legal members and supporters, including William Kunstler, Arthur Kinoy, Thomas I. Emerson, and Frank Wilkinson, among many others(Op. cit, P. 104).

Cohen was listed as "Social Worker Plaintiff, Stamler, Hall & Cohen; Constitutional Challenge to HUAC". Of important in the future of American communism was the fact that his friend and identified CPUSA member Dr. Quentin Young was also present(Op. cit, P. 105). This team was later to be present at the 1995 meeting at marxist terrorist (WUO) leader Bill Ayers's house and helped choose a political newcomer Barack Hussein Obama to be the Democratic (and marxist) candidate for the Illinois State Senate seat held by CPUSA sympathizer Alice Palmer.

Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights

In November 1967, Milton Cohen and his wife signed a Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights advertisement in the Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices opposing efforts by Senator Dirksen to re-institute the McCarran Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950.[7]

In 1970, the Board of Directors of the then Communist Party USA front Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights consisted of Rev. Frederic E. Sau, Harry Barnard, Boris Brail, Edward Carey, Milt Cohen, Ernest DeMaio ,Rev.William D. Faw, Richard Galloway, Prof. Charles H. George, Prof. Margaret Y. George, Ben Green, Pearl Hart, Dr. Hyman J. Hirshfield, David C. Jensen, Daniel Kaufman, Rev. S. Hunter Leggitt, Harry Mack, Rev. Daniel J. Malette, Lafayette Marsh, Rev. Francis J. McGrath, Akiro Makino , Ruth Muench, Isadore Pomerantz, Jesse Prosten, Don Rose, Norman Roth, Dr. Boris Rubenstein, Evelyn Salk, Thomas Slater, Walter Soroka, Jack Spiegel, Prof. William Starr, Lynward Stevenson, Edmonia Swanson, Gil Terry, Rev.C. T. Vivian, Otto Wander, Rabbi Burr Yampol, Dr. Quentin Young[8].

New American Movement

In the 1970s Milton Cohen was active in the Chicago New American Movement.

In 1981 the Lucy Parsons Chapter of the New American Movement and friends honored Milton Cohen and Vicky Starr for their many years of activity in the causes for people's progress and democracy. The members of NAM listed were: Alba Alexander, Bill Barclay, Dan Gilman, Roger Gilman, Debby Holdstein, Rob Persons, Miriam Rabban, Ralph Scott, Julie Skurski, Peg Stroebel, Monty Tarbox and Ed Kucinsky. The friends of NAM listed were: Florence Green and Ben Green, Bob Reed of Seattle, Judy MacLean of San Francisco, Max Gordon of NYC, Quentin Young and Ruth Young of Chicago, Clarence Lipschutz and Peggy Lipschutz of Evanston, Miriam Bazell, Florence Gibbon of Chicago, Bronwen Zwirner of New Bedford, Leonard Lamb and Constance Lamb of Astoria, Helene Susman and Bill Susman of Great Neck, Corinne Golden of Chicago, Robert Havighurst and Edythe Havighurst of Chicago, Sara Heslep, Sandy Barty, Clara Diamont, Pete Seeger, Steve Nelson, Hannah Frisch, Sue Cohen, Gil Green of NYC, Joan Powers, Clarence Stoecker and Rebecca Hobbs of Chicago, James Bond of Oakland, Pat McGauley, Gabby Rosenstein of Santa Monica, Karl Cannon and Fay Cannon of Camarillo, Loriel Busenbard and Steven Starr, Daniel Starr, Beth Starr and Bob Starr (children of Vicky Starr) were listed as friends of the Lucy Parsons Chapter of the New American Movement.[9]


Milt Cohen was active in both the New American Movement, and Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee.. [10]

Supporting Timuel Black


In the late 1970s Communist Party USA member Harold Rogers served on a "Citizen's Committee" supporting Timuel Black's unsuccessful campaign for State Representative in the 22nd District.

The "Citizen's Committee" included "former" communist Charles Hayes, radical journalist Don Rose, socialist Chicago Alderman Leon Despres, future Democratic Socialists of America members members Saul Mendelson (a former Trotskyist), Danny Davis and Milt Cohen.

North Americans in Support of Angola

Angola conference.JPG

The Angola Support Conference ran from May 28 - 30, 1976 in Chicago. The event was sponsored by the U.S. Out of Angola Committee and the National Conference of Black Lawyers.

Milton Cohen of the Hyde Park Peace Council was a delegate at the conference.[11]

Committee in Support of Southern Africa

Committee in Support of Southern Africa was an anti-Apartheid group active in Chicago in the early 1980s.

Members of the committee iincluded[12];

Charles Hayes, Rep. Carol Moseley Braun, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Bob Simpson, Frank Rosen, Congressman Harold Washington, Harold Rogers, Rep. Monica Stewart, Jim Wright, Alderman Danny Davis, Alice Peurala, Lu Palmer, Milt Cohen, Timuel Black.

DSA Conference delegate

In 1983 Milt Cohen was a Chicago delegate to the Democratic Socialists of America conference in New York City, October 14-16, 1983[13]

Old NAM communists

Kathie Sheldon ‎New American Movement, July 5, 2009


Herman Rosenstein, Milt Cohen, Ben Margolis, Dorothy Healey, Saul Wellman, Ben Dobbs

Photo by Scott Van Osdol, NAM convention 1981.

Supporting Washington and Moseley Braun

Milt Cohen helped elect Chicago's first black mayor Harold Washington and Illinois senator Carol Moseley Braun[14].

In 1982, Rep. Harold Washington issued a challenge to register 50,000 new voters in preparation for the coming mayoral election. Milt helped organize a grassroots movement which met the challenge by more than double. Later he chaired the Chicago Coalition for Voter Registration.
Milt joined the 1983 Washington campaign full-time. He later said that hard-won victory was his greatest satisfaction. The Washington movement clearly reflected Milt's long-time priorities: anti-racism, political independence, and progressive multi-racial coalitions.
A few months after his election, Washington issued a proclamation declaring Milton M. Cohen Day a day for Chicagoans to honor a man "who has dedicated his life to the unceasing struggle for the civil and economic rights of all people and has worked for 50 years in the cause of progressive change and reform politics in Chicago and a more democratic, humane and peaceful America and world." Mayor Washington noted that to honor Milt Cohen is to honor "thousands of rank-and-file activists who work day and night in the struggle for jobs, justice, and peace."
Carol Moseley Braun's election to the Senate in 1992 was another landmark for Milt. He had helped recruit Braun for her first legislative race in 1978, and one of his last projects before leaving Chicago was soliciting DSA members to participate in the Braun campaign.

Harold Washington

Harold Washington for Mayor of Chicago

Circa late 1982, members of the Citizens Committee/Harold Washington for Mayor of Chicago (in formation) included Milton Cohen.[15]

Salute to Harold Washington

On April 6, 1983, the Hyde Park Herald published an endorsement from the Hyde Park/Kenwood Citizens Committee of Democratic Party Chicago mayoral candidate Harold Washington. Signatories to the endorsement included Milton Cohen and Sue Cohen.[16]

DSA leader

Milt Cohen was also a Co-Chair[17]of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was an honoree at the 1989 Thomas Debs Dinner-the award was presented to him by Timuel Black.



  2. Files of the Army's G-2, Military Intelligence Division, 5th Service Command, G2, 11010-2665/##, Box ##, Record Group 165, War Department & General Staffs, National Archives & Records Administration NARA II, College Park, Md
  4. 89th Congress, 1st Session, House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA), (HUAC) hearings entitled "Communist Activities in Chicago, Illinois Area", Part I, May 25, 26, & 27, and June 22, 1965, esp. p. 366, "Testimony of [[Lola Belle Holmes", and further mention of Cohen was found in "Part 2" of the hearings of the same dates regarding the subpoena for Dr. Jeremiah Stamler
  5. IVI-IPO Letterhead July 23 1981
  6. Fifteenth Report: Un-American Activities in California, 1970, Report of the Senate Fact-Finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities to the 1970 Regular Session of the California Legislature, Sacramento, California, p. 96
  7. Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices, Nov. 1967
  8. Full text of "The Nationwide Drive Against Law Enforcement Intelligence Operations : hearing before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, first session page 151
  9. 10th Anniversary Booklet for the New American Movement, 1981
  10. [Chicago Socialist Oct./Nov. 1982]
  11. Letter to all persons who attended the Angola Support Conference, July 8, 1976
  12. CSSA supporters letter Sep. 4 1981
  13. DSA Conference delegate list Oct. 12 1983 update
  15. Undated circa late 1982, HWAC Mayoral Campaign Records, Box 5, Folder 1
  16. Hyde Park Herald April 6, 1983, page 8