Person - Hunter, Oscar (1908-1983)

Hunter, Oscar (1908-1983)

Identification

Type:

Person

Preferred form:

Hunter, Oscar (1908-1983)

Fechas de existencia:

1908-05-22 - 1983-01-01

History:

Hunter, Oscar was born in Orange, New Jersey, on the 22th of May 1908. His father's surname, Lannier, was Hunter's legal name before his mother changed it into Hunter. Hunter's mother died when he was in the fourth grade. At fourteen, he hitchhiked to Detroit, expecting to get a job in the auto industry. Along the way, in Cleveland, a local black family helped him to get a job as a window washer in a department store. A supervisor at the store, also a black man, noticed that Hunter spent his spare time reading and offered to help him return to school. Oscar Hunter attended the Hampton Institute in Virginia for five years. It was at Hampton where he became radical. This was due in part to the influence of a Bible teacher who gave Hunter books on socialism. In 1931 Hunter went to West Virginia State College on a football scholarship. The following year, he attended Brookwood Labor College; a school for labor organizers headed by the radical Protestant minister A. J. Muste. While at Brookwood, Hunter joined the Communist Party. In 1932, Hunter became an organizer for the Party, working first in New York for a year and then transferring to Chicago where he was involved in the Party's drive to organize stockyard workers. At the same time, he also studied journalism at Northwestern University, ran a bookstore on the Campus of the University of Chicago, and joined the local John Reed Club.

Hunter volunteered to join the International Brigades in 1936. In the company of Oliver Law, James Miller Robinson, Bill Lawrence, and Morris Teitelbaum, he traveled from Chicago to New York. Hunter departed for Europe, aboard the "Paris", on the 16th of January 1937. In Spain, Hunter served first with the Lincoln Battalion's Tom Mooney Machine Gun Company. There he formed a close comradeship with Douglas Roach, another African American, with whom he shared a trench and attempted to operate a World War I-era Russian machine gun. He was wounded in action at Jarama, he was sent to the American hospital in Murcia run by Dr. Edward Barsky. Hunter eventually became political commissar for the hospital, responsible for the morale of English-speaking patients. Later, he was transferred to Barcelona as Commissar of an International Auto Park.

In the fall of 1938, Hunter was sent back to the United States to arrange hospital space and care for returning wounded volunteers. He arrived on the 21st of September 1938 aboard the "Ile de France". In Chicago, Hunter helped organize the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB) Post and resumed his political activities. Eventually, the Party informed him that because of his political activities he was in danger of arrest and should leave town. Hunter moved to New York where, with the help of Joe Gordon, a fellow veteran, he found a position in the furrier trade. Hunter worked in the field for more than a decade. During the 1950s the FBI harassed Hunter. Hunter left the Communist party. During the 1960s Hunter was active in anti-Vietnam War protests. During his last years, Hunter served as National Secretary of the VALB and was one of the founders of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives. Hunter died in New York on the 1st of January 1983.

Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Date of the event: 1936 - 1939

 

Occupations

actividad:

Brigadistas

Places

Lugar de Residencia:

Estados Unidos

Sources

Martínez Reverte, Jorge. Guerreros y traidores: de la guerra de España a la Guerra Fría. 1ª edición. Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg. 2014. 242 páginas. ISBN: 978-84-672-5803-5 .

External Links

Recurso web:

The volunteer

Documents

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