The Communist Party of the USA: 90 Years of History

The Communist Party traces its origins to the militant labor struggles of the early years of the twentieth-century. It was forged by the industrial union movement of the 1910s, opposition to World War I, and the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Throughout its history the Communist Party and the nearly one million people who were at one time Party members made important contributions to the civil rights, labor, peace movements, and the struggle for progressive social change in the United States.

This Flickr exhibition traces the history of the Communist Party, USA from its origins in the militant struggles of the Industrial Workers of the World at the beginning of the twentieth century, through the labor and civil rights organizing of the Depression Decade of the 1930s, World War II, the McCarthy period, and the modern civil rights movements in the 1960s and beyond.

In 2006 the Communist Party donated its archives and the Library of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies to the Tamiment Library in order to make its history accessible to students, scholars, and activists. The historical memory that this archive represents can help us to better understand the American Left, the struggle to defend our civil liberties, the peace movement, and the complex relationship between class, race, and gender in America.

This exhibit was curated by Peter M. Filardo and Michael Nash of the Tamiment Library. Materials were on display in the library’s reading room from March through July 2007. The electronic edition of the exhibit was designed and adapted for Flickr by Deenah Vollmer and produced by Donna L. Davey, Tamiment Library.

Please note that images are provided for reference purposes only. Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the Director of the Tamiment Library / Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, New York University, 70 Washington Square South, New York, N.Y. 10012.

Researchers may contact us by phone 212-998-2630 or e-mail

Explore posts in the same categories: Archives, exhibits, history, images

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