Contact Number: 512.552.7343.
AUSTIN, TEXAS—On Dec. 8, author-activist Beatrice Lumpkin will speak at 21st Street Co-op in Austin about the history of Communist Party U.S.A.
Sponsoring the event is the local chapter of CP-USA. Lumpkin’s presentation is expected to last from 6-7:30 p.m. The street address is 707 W. 21st Street.
Her books include, Joy in the Struggle, My Life and Love, and Always Bring A Crowd, the story of Frank Lumpkin, Steelworker, both of which are published by International Publishers.
Beatrice Lumpkin began as a teen activist during the Great Depression when many of her neighbors were out of work and the New Deal had yet to go into effect. Seeing their suffering made Lumpkin question why ordinary people paid the price for the misdeeds of Wall Street investors.
Lumpkin found herself in the midst of a free speech fight at her high school, where some called her debate team’s topic of unemployment insurance a Communist idea. Defending her team’s topic led her into joining the Young Communist League.
“I suppose if you proved it was Communist, it was supposed to be bad,” Lumpkin recalls. “But millions of people rejected the red-baiting. They fought for unemployment insurance and Social Security and won.”
She went on to help organize laundry workers in New York City, which deepened her understanding of how racism plays a role in piding workers against a united management.
In the late ‘40s, Beatrice and her husband, Frank, moved to Chicago, where she found a vital cause to champion. A fire killed five little children in a garage illegally converted to an apartment. This incident led the Lumpkins and other residents into forming a committee to fight for better safeguards to prevent further horrific deaths.
After many years of blue-collar work in laundries, machine shops and assembly lines, Lumpkin became a technical writer and later an accredited math teacher. Lumpkin devoted time to researching and writing articles about ancient Egyptian mathematics, among other subjects, in an effort to balance the prevailing Eurocentric bias in teaching of math and science.
Says Lumpkin, “Although I have been out of the classroom for years, I am still deeply interested in multicultural education and re-inserting into the school curriculum the contributions of people of color, women and working people in general.”
Lumpkin is currently a Chicago delegate to the National Executive Board of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. She is on the executive board of Illinois Alliance for Retired Citizens, the South Chicago chapter of SOAR, Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees, a delegate to the House of Representatives of the Chicago Teachers Union and a member of Citizen Action – IL Policy Council.
Some of her professional work included being an Associate Professor of Mathematics from 1967 to early retirement 1982 at Malcolm X College in Chicago, a consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education, worked on the Portland, Oregon Public Schools Multiethnic Curriculum Project, Mathematics Consultant for a new curriculum highlighting contributions of Africans, Asians and Native Americans, Chicago Public Schools Multicultural Mathematics and Science Project, worked in Detroit Public Schools "African Contributions to Mathematics and Science," teacher workshops for several years, worked with Atlanta Public Schools Mathematics and Science Teachers Assembly, Indiana University Center for Urban and Multicultural Education, and on many other initiatives.
Communist Party U.S.A. Austin, Texas