Burt Nelson

BY:Washington District| October 13, 2001

Burt Nelson was born in 1910.

His mother was a school teacher, his father a bricklayer, in Wichita, Kansas.

Burt’s mother died in 1919 and the family came to Seattle in 1921. His father

died in 1923.

Burt went to work in the lumber industry at age 15. He finished high

school at age 20. He qualified to work as a third-year apprectice electrician,

but there were no jobs; he never worked at that trade. He was greatly

affected by the fact that nearly everyone he knew was near starvation.

Burt became employed as a longshoreman in 1932. His first child was born

a month later. He took part in the 1934 maritime strike and learned the

strength of the working class. Burt was deeply influenced by the world-wide

anti-fascist struggle. He took part in the 1936, 1946, and 1948 maritime

strikes. He was a union organizer in the South in the late 1930s, and

suffered the rest of his life from beating he received during that struggle.

He later was elected Seattle CIO Council President in the mid-40s, and

took part in the anti-McCarthy fightback in the 50s and early 60s. Burt

was then a principal spokesman for the Communist Party in Washington State.

He was cited by the McCarren Act Subversive Activity Control Board. Burt

was a delegate to 6 national CPUSA conventions in the 50s and 60s.


Related Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer