An invitation from life-long activist Bea Lumpkin

BY: Cameron Orr| February 25, 2021
An invitation from life-long activist Bea Lumpkin


Bea Lumpkin is an important member of the We’re Not Going Back Host Committee, which, together with the People’s World NY, is hosting a powerful online event this Sunday evening in celebration of African-American culture and struggle.

Lumpkin, a life-long veteran of battles for freedom and equality in the United States, will be giving the appeal at the event as part of the People’s World “100 Days For A Better World” fund drive.

The 102-year-young labor and community activist was recently the subject of a viral photo after the Chicago Teachers Union tweeted a photo of Lumpkin sporting a Hazmat suit to send off her mail-in ballot. A raging pandemic was no match for her determination to defeat Trump.

Of the 10,000+ netizens who liked and shared the photo, many were probably unaware it represented but a small glimpse into a long life of valiant contributions to working-class and democratic struggles in the US.

“Some of my most precious political memories are from the East Bronx, East 165th Street, Southern Boulevard and Hunts Point,” she wrote to the People’s World NY. “We had a mighty multiracial march in Harlem protesting Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia.

“The Communist Party organized Unemployment Councils that saved the unemployed from dying of hunger. I was too young to be in the March 6, 1930 Hunger March that won ‘Home Relief.’ But I was old enough by 1933 to join Unemployment Council protests outside the Relief Office and we refused to leave until the hungry family we were supporting got food. So it’s a great honor for me to be included in the We’re Not Going Back Host Committee.”

Many stories of this kind fill the pages of her books Joy in the Struggle: My Life and Love and Always Bring a Crowd!: The Story of Frank Lumpkin, Steelworker.

“I hope you get the chance to read Always Bring a Crowd,” she writes. “The Lumpkin family were all activists in the freedom struggle with Ma and sister Jonnie, leaders of the NY State Party in Buffalo. Originally sharecroppers in Georgia, growing up in Orlando, FL., and moving in the Great Migration North to Buffalo, their story is so much a part of what we are celebrating this month — the best part of African-American history.”

In the 1960s, Lumpkin began teaching in the public schools of Chicago and co-founded the Coalition of Labor Union Women in 1974. She remains a member of the Chicago Teachers Union today and is active with SOAR, Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees, USW.

Together with the other members of the We’re Not Going Back Host Committee, Lumpkin invites you to join the celebration this Sunday, and to add your name to the growing list of New York’s anti-racist fighters for the 99%.

To register for the online event and get more information, visit the event page at You can also RSVP on Facebook here. Please share the event, and invite your family, friends, fellow activists, co-workers and neighbors to celebrate with us!

To join the We’re Not Going Back Host Committee, send an email to



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