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Clancy Sigal’s 20th-Century Road Trip

by Marty Roth   “He was a romantic man, Clancy. The Left was then romantic, heroic, monitored by the ghosts of heroes and heroines.” —Doris Lessing THE ROLLER COASTER that was Clancy Sigal’s life and career has shut down, the lights turned off. What is still worth savoring? Although he was celebrated as a legendary figure […]

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March 17: Herbert Aptheker

Radical historian Herbert Aptheker, author of the seven-volume Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States and literary executor for W.E.B. DuBois, whose correspondence he published between 1973 and ’78, died at 87 on this date in 2003. Aptheker was a pioneering and prolific writer about black American history, including about slave revolts […]

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April 30: A Pioneer of Women’s History

Gerda Lerner, who in 1963 began teaching a women’s history course (at the New School) that is considered to be the first of its kind in history, was born in Vienna on this date in 1920. Lerner helped develop women’s history curricula and degree programs in the field at Sarah Lawrence, where she taught from […]

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April 5: The Radical Marries the Millionaire

Labor activist and Yiddish journalist Rose Pastor (Wieslander), who became a founding member of the Communist Party in the U.S. in 1919, and James Graham Stokes, an Episcopalian millionaire involved in the settlement house movement, announced their wedding engagement on this date in 1905, which stoked (no pun intended) a media frenzy in which she […]

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Among Young Communists in the Bronx

by Marissa Piesman Discussed in this essay: A Distant Heartbeat: A War, a Disappearance, and a Family’s Secrets, by Eunice Lipton. University of Mexico Press, 2016, 176 pages. I WILL WILLINGLY read any book in which “YCL” (Young Communists League) and “Tremont Avenue” appear in the same sentence — and Eunice Lipton’s family memoir was […]

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July 24: High Noon

High Noon, Hollywood’s greatest Western, directed by Fred Zinnemann, written by Carl Foreman, and produced by Stanley Kramer was released on this date in 1952, one day after Foreman’s 38th birthday. The film, ranked number 27 on the American Film Institute’s 2007 list of great films, tells the story of a newly married U.S. marshal […]

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Joe and Me: Two Generations on the Left

by Kenneth Kann WE SAT ARGUING AT JOE’S KITCHEN TABLE, with my tape recorder ready for an interview session. Joe had called our publisher to demand that they replace me with another writer for his autobiography. I flung pencils at the wall in exasperation. We were fighting about an attack on Ukrainian peasants. By Jews. […]

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