Patterson, Louise Thompson, 1901-1999

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Louise Alone Thompson Patterson, born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 9, 1901, the only child of William Toles and Lula P. Brown. After the divorce of her parents when she was four, Patterson spent her childhood in numerous western cities. She graduated cum laude from the University of California at Berkeley in 1923 with a degree in economics. She worked various jobs and taught for two years before going to New York City to study at the New York School of Social Work (now part of Columbia University). After completing her yearlong study, she began working as a typist for a number of Harlem Renaissance writers and met poet Langston Hughes, starting a friendship that would last until Hughes' death in 1967. She worked on several projects with Hughes and his artistic collaborator Zora Neale Hurston including Mule Bone, the play that eventually caused the disintegration of the Hurston-Hughes partnership. Patterson also typed the manuscript for The Blacker the Berry, a novel by Wallace Thurman, to whom she was married for a short time in 1928-1929.

Louise's apartment in New York, which she shared with Sue Bailey, was a center of activity during the Harlem Renaissance, the Black cultural and artistic movement in the 1920's and 1930's. She became involved in several projects during this time, including the controversial and unrealized Soviet film project "Black and White," which looked at Black life in the United States.

Louise married prominent attorney William L. Patterson in 1940. A member of the American Communist Party, Patterson organized the Civil Rights Congress. He also worked with actor/singer Paul Robeson. Together Patterson and Robeson delivered the petition "We Charge Genocide" before the United Nations, charging the United States Government with genocide against African peoples. Louise was herself an organizer; she led a march in Washington, D.C. for the "Scottsboro Boys" in the 1930s and headed the Angela Davis Defense Fund in the 1970s. During her adulthood, Louise served with the International Workers Order, the Council of African Affairs, and the National Alliance. Louise Thompson Patterson died in New York City on August 27, 1999.

From the description of Louise Thompson Patterson papers, 1909-1996. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 123402123

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Patterson, William L. (William Lorenzo), 1890-1980. William Lorenzo Patterson papers, 1919-1979 (bulk, mid-1950s-1979). Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University
creatorOf Patterson, Louise Thompson. Louise Thompson Patterson papers, 1909-1996. Emory University. Special Collections and Archives
Patterson, Louise Thompson. Louise Thompson Patterson papers, 1909-1996. Emory University. Special Collections and Archives
creatorOf Patterson, Louise L. A history of "The Hound & horn". Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Childress, Alice. Alice Childress papers, 1937-1997. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Guide to the Oral History of the American Left Collection, 1940-2011 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Guide to the Communist Party of the United States of America Oral History Collection, 1962 - 1992 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Louise Patterson scrapbook, 1915-1925. San Diego State University Library, SDSU Library and Information Access
referencedIn Alice Childress papers, 1937-1997 Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Archives Section
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Angela Davis Legal Defense Fund. corporateBody
associatedWith Childress, Alice. person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. History Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Davis, Ossie person
associatedWith Harlem Suitcase Theater. corporateBody
associatedWith Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967. person
associatedWith Hurston, Zora Neale. person
associatedWith Licht, Mary person
correspondedWith Patterson, William L. (William Lorenzo), 1890-1980. person
associatedWith Sojourners for Truth and Justice. corporateBody
associatedWith Tamiment Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Thurman, Sue Bailey, 1903-1996. person
associatedWith Thurman, Wallace, 1902-1934. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Soviet Union
American literature
African American authors
African American communists
African Americans
African Americans
African American women social reformers
Civil rights and socialism
Harlem Renaissance
Scottsboro Trial, Scottsboro, Ala., 1931


Birth 1901-09-09

Death 1999-08-27



Ark ID: w6x646dn

SNAC ID: 51838661