Hudson, Hosea

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Hosea Hudson was active as a leading militant African American trade unionist and member of the Communist Party from 1931 to 1948, during which time he held prominent positions in both the Party and the United Steel Workers of America.

Born the son of sharecroppers in Georgia in 1898, Hudson received little formal education. In his youth and during the early 1920's, he worked as a sharecropper first with his grandmother and later with his first wife. He become an iron molder in 1923 and for the next two decades worked in various steel foundries in Georgia and Alabama.

Hudson joined the Communist Party in 1931 and was soon elected a unit leader. During the Depression, he was instrumental in organizing various mass meetings of unemployed African American workers in Birmingham, several of which culminated in marches on the Birmingham City Hall. He enrolled in the Communist Party's National Training School, New York in 1934 where he developed his reading and writing skills and studied political economy and the history of the trade union movement. His role as a successful local communist organizer and his activism on behalf of African American representation in successive meetings and conventions of the Council of Industrial Organizations in Alabama led to his dismissal from various industrial plants in the South. Hudson was also an outspoken advocate of voting rights and anti-lyncing legislation in the South. In 1951 he migrated to the North and settled in Atlantic City, New Jersey with his wife.

From the description of Hosea Hudson Papers, 1941-1980 (bulk 1952-1958). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122575780

Hosea Hudson was born April 12, 1898, in Wilkes County, Georgia, to Thomas and Laura Camella Smith Hudson. When his parents separated in 1902, he went to live with his grandmother Julia Smith. From age 14 to 19, he headed up a farm with his grandmother as a sharecropper. At 19 Hosea married Lucy Goosby, his first wife, and continued to sharecrop for another six years until 1923. Hosea and Lucy had one child, Hosea Hudson Jr. They were separated in 1946.

From 1923 to 1947, Hudson's principal means of employment was as an iron molder. He worked in various steel foundries throughout Georgia and Alabama. Chief among these were the Stockham Pipe and Fittings Plant from 1927 to 1932 (Bham, Alabama), the Tennessee Coal and Iron Railroad Company from 1937 to 1938, the Alabama Foundry Company from 1939 to 1942, and the Flakley Foundry Company of the Production Foundry Division Jackson Inc from 1942 to 1947. When unemployed in 1933 and 1938, he worked on projects of the Alabama Welfare Department and the Federal Works Project Administration, respectively.

Hudson's rise to prominence as a leading and militant Black trade unionist coincides with his development as a member of the Communist Party from 1931 to 1948. During these years Hudson held prominent positions in both the Party and the United Steel Workers of America.

He joined the Communist Party in 1931 and soon after was elected a unit leader. Hudson was responsible for the organization's membership among workers in his own plant, the Stockham Foundry. Under his leadership, the party membership in the shop increased from 8 to 35 workers in seven units throughout the plant. When identified as a member of the Party in 1932, he was released from the Stockham plant.

A year later, while working on welfare projects, Hudson was instrumental in organizing various mass meetings of the unemployed in Birmingham, Alabama. The focus of these rallies were the use of unskilled workers to do the work of skilled road construction laborers without commensurate wages and need by the unemployed for more relief. These rallies culminated in marches on the Birmingham City Hall.

In 1934 the Communist Party sent Hudson to its National Training School in New York City. All along, Hudson's local party unit had served an educational role in his political development. He attributed the ten week session at the National Training School with further developing his reading skills and understanding of political economy, the Communist Party and history of the trade union movement.

Hudson next found employment in 1937 at the Wallwork Foundry (Tennessee Coal and Iron Railroad Co.) The steel workers union permitted him to become a member of a shop at another plant because unions were not allowed by the Wallwork Foundry. He became the recording secretary of Steel workers Local 1489 (1937-1938). When the Local elected him to serve as a delegate to the second Southern Negro Youth Congress convention (1938), he served on the Congress' resolutions committee. His resolution that the next convention be held in Birmingham, Alabama, provided him with an opportunity to serve on the planning committee for the next convention with Henry O. Mayfield. The Congress relocated to Birmingham soon after and Hudson remained an active member until the Congress' dissolution in 1948.

Unemployed again in 1938, Hudson found relief work with the federal government's Works Project Administration. He became a central figure in Birmingham's Local 1 of the Workers Alliance union. This was the largest Workers Alliance local in Jefferson County, Alabama. Hudson was elected its vice-president and was one of three officers sent to confer with the head of the Works Project Administration in Washington, D.C., with regard to more projects for workers and increased relief aid. Also around this time, Hudson was vice-president of the Jefferson County Industrial Union Council.

In 1942 he found employment in the Jackson Foundry (Flakley Foundry Co.). There he organized Local 2815, United Steel Workers of America, CIO. While president of the Local and a member of the Birmingham Industrial Union Council, Hudson was named one of the Birmingham World newspaper's “Men of the Year.” This was largely in response to his militant role at the Alabama CIO convention in support of voting rights for Blacks in the state.

At Industrial Union Council meetings Hudson introduced various resolutions. Among these was a resolution to give the CIO Executive Board an additional officer since it was almost impossible for Black delegates to be elected to positions in the state Industrial Union Council (1943). The following year the union's black membership organized a caucus to nominate their own delegates. He introduced a resolution condemning discrimination (1944) and one that condemned the lynching of two Black World War II veterans (1944). Also in 1944, he was chairman of the Labor and Industrial Committee at a conference organized by Rev. Maynard Jackson on voting rights, held in New Orleans, Louisiana. Returning from the conference, Hudson formed a statewide (Alabama) organization for the right of Blacks to vote.

Given his role in carrying out one of the main points in the Communist Party program, industrial concentration, and his continuing role as a local leader of the party, Hudson was nominated to the National Committee of the Communist Party in July 1945. He received more votes than any other candidate. His task as the national representative of the South was to organize the Party in Alabama and Louisiana. In 1947 he was identified as a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party in the Birmingham Post (Oct. 1947). Subsequently, he was discharged from the union and lost his job at the Jackson Foundry.

Hudson found various short term jobs in plants thereafter, including work as a mason. In 1951 he came North and settled in Newark, New Jersey. He remarried in 1962 and lived with his wife, Virginia Larue Marson, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Following his wife's death in 1971, Hudson remained in Atlantic City an additional 13 years before moving to Florida where he now resides (1984).

From the guide to the Hosea Hudson Papers, 1941-1980, 1952-1958, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Guide to the Nell Irvin Painter Papers, 1793-2016 and undated, bulk 1876-2007 Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Guide to the James E. Jackson and Esther Cooper Jackson Papers, 1917-2018 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Hudson, Hosea. Hosea Hudson Papers, 1941-1980 (bulk 1952-1958). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Guide to the James E. Jackson and Esther Cooper Jackson Photographs Collection, 1910-1995 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Painter, Nell Irvin. Nell Irvin Painter papers, 1793-2011 and undated, bulk 1876-2007. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Guide to the Robin Kelley Hammer and Hoe Oral History Collection, 1986-1989 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Hosea Hudson Papers, 1941-1980, 1952-1958 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
referencedIn Guide to the James E. Jackson and Esther Cooper Jackson Papers, 1917-2018 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Patterson, William L. (William Lorenzo), 1890-1980. William Lorenzo Patterson papers, 1919-1979 (bulk, mid-1950s-1979). Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Jackson, Esther Cooper person
associatedWith Jackson, James E., 1914-2007. person
associatedWith Kelley, Robin D. G. person
associatedWith Painter, Nell Irvin. person
correspondedWith Patterson, William L. (William Lorenzo), 1890-1980. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Southern States
Subject
Communism
Communism
Iron and steel workers
Iron and steel workers
Labor unions
Labor unions
Labor unions
Labor unions
Labor unions
Labor unions and communism
Labor unions and communism
African American communists
African American communists
African American labor union members
African Americans
African Americans
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1898-04-12

Death 1988

Information

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