Henry Winston centennial celebration to be held in New York


NEW YORK - "There's been a huge response by folks to the upcoming event celebrating Henry Winston's 100th birthday," said CPUSA Executive Vice Chair Jarvis Tyner. "We expect a big turnout." Henry Winston was the long-time national chairman of the Communist Party USA.

The Winston centennial will be held on February 19 at the Winston Unity Center in New York City.

"People are just delighted that Angela Davis is coming," added Tyner. Angela Davis, along with Tyner, Charlene Mitchell and Vinnie Burrows, is a featured speaker at the event. Charlene Mitchell, at the time a CPUSA leader and also heading the National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, was one of the principal organizers in the fight to free Angela Davis in the 1970s. Mitchell now heads the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

Davis was framed by then-governor of California Ronald Reagan and the FBI and charged with murder in a shootout during the trial of Johnathan Jackson, a young Black Pather leader.  

A national and international campaign won her release and acquittal. Winston played a key role in the campaign.

"Tributes have been coming in from around the country, heaping praise on the man and his exemplary life," said Gabe Falsetta, one of the event organizers. "Those who had the privilege of working with Henry Winston and learning from his broad understanding will be coming to celebrate his legacy."

Henry Winston, originally from Mississippi, became active in the unemployed struggles of the 1930s and soon became a leader in the Young Communist League. He worked with William L Patterson and others to help free the Scottsboro defendants, displaying extraordinary political and organizational skills.

He soon become a national leader of the Communist Party and served for many years as its organizational secretary. In the 1950s he served eight years in prison under the Smith Act, during which time he lost his sight because of medical neglect.

A campaign to win his release was waged in the U.S. and abroad. Writer Richard Wright headed a French/American committee to free him.

After his release from prison, Winston went on to become the Communist Party national chairman where he worked side-by-side with its general secretary, Gus Hall, until Winston's death in 1986.

"Winnie," as he was called by friends and co-workers, wrote extensively on civil rights, labor and international issues, authoring two books, "Strategy for a Black Agenda," and "Class, Race, and Black Liberation," as well as several pamphlets.

He played a signal role in the movement to develop comprehensive mandatory sanctions against South Africa's racist government and was well regarded by its liberation movement.

On learning of his death, African National Congress leader Alfred Nzo remarked, "We had come to regard Winston as one of our own."

The celebration will take place from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at 235 W 23rd St in Manhattan. Tickets are $10.

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  • We need to recognize all these necessary people. There is a campaign going on for the recongnition of Ka Roger a Philipino communist, and for Winston, and if truth be told for Spartacus, who is recognized on all ships on the sea. Spartacus who upon defeating four Roman Slaveholding legions said to Rome "you must stop ruling the working classes with the whip, there must not be violence directed against the working people of the world. Tell Rome and its senate, that they must cease all violence towards the working class".

    He defeated four Roman Slaveholders Legions, and there was only one more left, showing he nearly won the whole worlds liberation from exploitation and suppression of the workers.

    Every class concious worker on the merchant marine of the world knows that, and is organizing daily for liberation from Imperial aggressive wars, and for a life worth living.

    Too bad the Imperialist Camp has not summed up its lessons and scrapped the war machine and its manufactury, thusly towards freeing the people.

    The fifth slaveholders legion arrived just as Spartacus had killed off the fourth legion, and the slave army he led was destroyed and crucified. Had he won, the world would be free with the workers liberated and without any fear of unjust violence being done to them.

    Workers of the world, unite!! Viva socialist liberation!! End pollution wars, not endless wars for more and more pollution. Re-tool to the renewables such as wind, tidal, and solar power, which transforms to electricity and is more power than society can use. No more blackouts. This non-pollution solution is given freely in natures kinder laws and provides work for all and forever more.

    Restore the matriarchy by electing one man and one woman per constituency at all levels, thusly doubling democracy. Viva Winston.

    Posted by Hans B., 02/24/2012 2:44am (4 years ago)

  • This is an event to celebrate a truly exemplary life.
    The accomplishments of Winston are truly amazing!

    His legacy will inspire us for generations.

    I'm proud to say, that I helped to make this event a reality !


    Posted by Gabriel Falsetta, 02/10/2012 9:42pm (4 years ago)

  • Rather surprised to see that the CPUSA invited Charlene and Angela to participate in this event, since it demonized them so ruthlessly following the 1991 split in the party. Gus Hall even penned a poisonous letter to the leadership of the Communist Party of South Africa appealing to that body to disassociate itself entirely from the Committees of Correspondence, an organization in which Mitchell in particular continues to play an active role. Hall disparaged the organization as "anti-Marxist" and "anti-communist," both characterizations of which completely absurd. The CPUSA's close association with the decidely anti-Marxist and brutally repressive regime of the Communist Party of China is also cause for tremendous concern among progressive people in this country.

    Posted by Christian Simonetti, 02/10/2012 2:43pm (4 years ago)

  • Just like the progressive movement for freedom in Africa regarded Paul Leroy Robeson as one of its own, that movement did Henry Winston.
    Of Mississippians, Henry Winston will be counted with the greats like Frederick L. Mc Ghee, who W. E. B. Du Bois gave full credit for the concept of the N A A C P, who with others, including socialists, this greatest American civil rights organization was founded.
    Again, a vehement opponent of racism, reminiscent of Robeson, of war, poverty, neo-colonialism, and imperialism; immovable proponent of the international working class, Black white unity, and African liberation, Henry Winston is immortal.
    Wonderful was his supreme confidence in the millions of African American workers, and all American workers, their organizations, their spirituality-that we could and would come to the C P U S A. We need his supreme confidence today and will have it, in part, by "Winnie's" very efforts.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 02/10/2012 10:11am (4 years ago)

  • What a wonderful event! Wish I could be in NY for it.
    By the way, although Winston's books have long been out of print, both "Strategy for a Black Agenda" and" Class, Race and Black Liberation" are obtainable. I just searched and find that used copies are for sale from several sources, many for under $10.

    Posted by Barbara R, 02/10/2012 9:50am (4 years ago)

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