Woman Making History #30: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

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Elizabeth Gurley FlynnWoah. I had no idea how cool E.G. Flynn was...

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was born in New Hampshire in 1890. She was educated in socialism by her parents early on, and was dismissed from high school in 1907 for her political activities, at which time she became a full-time organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Flynn organized garment workers in Pennsylvania, silk weavers in New Jersey, restaurant workers in New York, miners in Montana and Wyoming, and textile workers in Massachusetts. She also helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union and campaigned against the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti.

Flynn married in 1908, and gave birth to two children, one of whom died in infancy. She and her husband where separated by the time their second child was born in 1910 and divorced in 1920. Flynn was also partnered with Italian anarchist Carlo Tresca during the 1920s.

In the context of her union work, Flynn worked tirelessly for women's issues. She was concerned with suffrage, birth control access, and male domination of unions. During World War II, she fought for equal pay for women and the establishment of day care centers for working mothers.

Her political activities were limited by ill health in the in the early 1930s, but in 1936 Flynn officially joined the Communist Party, and begin writing a feminist column for the communist newspaper The Daily Worker. In 1938, she was elected to the national committee of the party. In 1940, she was removed from the board of the ACLU for her Communist activities. In 1951, Flynn was arrested and prosecuted under the Smith Act for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government. Found guilty in 1953, she spent two years in the women’s prison at Alderson, West Virginia, where she wrote The Alderson Story: My Life as a Political Prisoner.

After her release from prison, Flynn resumed her Communist activities, and she became the chairman of the U.S. Communist Party in 1961. She died of heart failure on a trip the Soviet Union in 1964, and she was given a state funeral in Red Square. In 1976, her ACLU membership was posthumously restored.

Sources:
Wikipedia
About: Women's History
Women and Marxism

2 Comments

Where is Massachutes?

Point taken, smart ass.

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