Johnson, Arnold Samuel, 1904-1989.

Alternative names
Birth 1904
Death 1989

Biographical notes:

Arnold Samuel Johnson was a Communist Party, USA official. As a young man, Johnson was drawn to Christian Socialist philosophy, and in 1932 received a B.A. in Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. In 1929 and 1930 Johnson helped to organized Sherwood Eddy's "American Seminar in Europe", first visited the Soviet Union, and in 1931 was involved in the National Miners' Union struggle in Harlan, Kentucky, where, as a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union he was arrested on criminal syndicalism charges.

In 1932 he joined the Conference for Progessive Labor Action and in 1933 he was appointed Ohio organizer of its Unemployed League and later that year was elected its national secretary. Also in 1933, Johnson met and married Aurelia Ricci. Johnson supported the 1936 merger of the Unemployed League with the Communist-organized Unemployed Councils to form the Workers Alliance and became its national secretary and joined the Communist Party. From 1940 to 1947 he was state chairman of the Ohio Communist Party.

In 1947 Johnson left Ohio for New York to become National Legislative Director of the CP. In addition, Johnson also became a representative of the Civil Rights Congress and later was Vice Chairman of New York State CP, Public Relations Director of the CPUSA and Chairman of its Political Action Commission. As Public Relations Director Johnson received and responded to Lee Harvey Oswals's inquiries about the CPUSA in 1963. He also represented the Communist Party in various peace coalition movements such as the New Mobilization against the War in Vietnam (New Mobe).

Johnson's activities on behalf of the Communist Party were interrupted on several occasions by federal investigation, the most serious being his 1951 Smith Act conviction for which he served 29 months in jail from 1955 to 1957. Johnson was indicted on two other occasions, in 1962 under the McCarran Act, for refusing to register as a Communist Party member, and in 1970 by the House Internal Security Committee for refusing to cooperate with the investigation of the New Mobilization Against the War in Vietnam. Arnold Johnson retired from active involvement in the Communist Party in 1979 after a stroke and a heart attack had left him in ill health. He died in 1989.

From the description of Papers, 1926-1989. 1951-1979 (bulk). (New York University). WorldCat record id: 477247311

Biographical notes are generated from the bibliographic and archival source records supplied by data contributors.


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Constellation Information



  • Labor leaders
  • Communist parties
  • Anti-communist movements
  • Communist trials
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • Communism and religion
  • Political candidates
  • Peace movements
  • Prisoners--Correspondence
  • Communists
  • Christian socialism
  • Public relations and politics
  • Miners--Labor unions


not available for this record


  • Kentucky--Harlan (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • Ohio (as recorded)