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A Black Communist in the Freedom StruggleThe Life of Harry Haywood$
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Harry Haywood and Gwendolyn Midlo Hall

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816679058

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816679058.001.0001

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World War II and the Merchant Marines

World War II and the Merchant Marines

(p.248) 13 World War II and the Merchant Marines
A Black Communist in the Freedom Struggle

Harry Haywood

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall

University of Minnesota Press

In this chapter, Harry Haywood reflects on his experience as part of the Merchant Marines that fought in World War II. Haywood enlisted as a seaman in the Merchant Marine at San Pedro, California, in June 1943. Just like millions around the world, he wanted to make some contribution to the fight against fascism. He knew the history of struggle of the National Maritime Union (NMU), the largest of all seamen’s unions, and had long been an admirer of the militant organization. The Merchant Marines left San Pedro on November 9, 1943, bound for the South Pacific and eventually Bombay, India. Approximately 5,000 troops were on board. When they docked in Bombay, Haywood visited the Communist Party of the United States headquarters. They then headed for Cape Town, where Haywood also made his way to the Communist Party headquarters. The Merchant Marines sailed for the Pacific war zone, with the Philippines as their destination.

Keywords:   Harry Haywood, Merchant Marines, World War II, National Maritime Union, South Pacific, Bombay, India, Communist Party of the United States, Cape Town, Philippines

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