February is African American History Month. It is also the 100th anniversary of the birth of Henry Winston, former national chairman of the Communist Party USA. On Sunday, February 19, 2p.m., the Communist Party will hold a celebration and tribute on Winston’s legacy in New York City. The event, “The Legacy of Henry Winston: Fight against Racism and the Far Right in 2012” will be livestreamed. Speakers will include professor and political activist Angela Davis, CPUSA Exec. Vice Chair Jarvis Tyner and Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism founder Charlene Mitchell.
People Before Profits Education Fund, New York State Communist Party, Young Communist League and Longview Publishing are sponsors. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door with a special discounted price of $5 for low-income attendees. Make checks payable to People Before Profits Education Fund. Checks can be sent to 235 W 23rd St. 7th floor New York, NY 10011. For more information call 646 556-7409. Click here for the event invitation.
Henry Winston lived a heroic life. Born in Hattiesburg, Miss., into a poor working-class family in 1912, Winston at a young age became active in the unemployed movement during the early years of the Great Depression. It was then that he joined the Young Communist League and was soon elected as a national leader. Winston helped in the building of the 3-million-member American Youth Congress, the Southern Negro Youth Congress and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade whose members fought fascism in Spain.
Winston served in the armed forces, which were segregated, during World War II. Upon his honorable discharge, he became national organization secretary of the Communist Party. In 1948, despite his service to his country, he was among the first 12 leaders of the CPUSA who were indicted for their political beliefs under the unconstitutional Smith Act. Winston spent seven years in jail under this infamous thought control act, and became blind due to the racist negligence of his jailers and the Jim Crow prison system. In 1966 he was elected national chairman of the CPUSA, a position he held until his death in 1986.
Winston made profound theoretical contributions to the class and democratic struggles of the United States. His book, Strategy for a Black Agenda, which first came out in 1973 “remains a fundamental contribution to the struggle,” says Tyner. Winston focused on the unity of the class and “national questions,” stressing the need for the “Black liberation movement to come to grips with the long-term economic crisis faced by our community, and to direct the struggle against racism toward a broader struggle against the power of monopoly capitalism and imperialism,” Tyner says.
In addition, Winston was active in the struggles for Black liberation, black-white and working class unity, and among the American pioneers in building solidarity with peoples of Africa, in particular the struggles against apartheid in southern Africa.
Tyner says the celebration of Winston’s life is relevant for 2012 and the elections, especially the struggle against racism. “I think Winston’s legacy is still very powerful for today. Much has changed since Winston’s time, and today holds its own complexities, but we are still confronting racism, economic injustice and reactionary political forces.”
Photo: Henry Winston (PoliticalAffairs.net)
Angela Y. Davis, professor, activist, former political prisoner
Jarvis Tyner, Executive Vice-Chair, Communist Party USA
Charlene Mitchell, labor and political activist, a founder of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Danny Rubin, National Board, Communist Party USA
Vinie Burrows, veteran actor and activist
Harmonic Insurgence, a cappella choral group
Judith Le Blanc, National Field Director, Peace Action
Sunday Feb 19, 2012
Henry Winston Unity Hall
235 W. 23rd Street, 2nd floor
New York, NY
Fruit, Wine And Cheese Reception to Follow
Space is limited, purchase your ticket today!
Donation: $10 in advance • $15 at the door • $5.00 low income
Purchase tickets online
Watch here online on Feb 19 at 2:00pm Eastern!
Call for more information: 646-556-7409
Make checks payable to: People Before Profits Education Fund