Flyer, with photo, advertising a Communist Party-sponsored event, 1946. Nellie Stone Johnson was the featured speaker at the 22nd Anniversary Lenin Memorial Meeting to raise money for striking union workers.
Nellie Stone Johnson (far right) with NAACP leaders, including Anthony Cassius (far left); publisher Milton G. Williams (third from left); and Howard Bennett, later appointed Minnesota’s first black judge (second from right), 1954.
Nellie Stone Johnson was an African American union and civil rights leader whose career spanned the class-conscious politics of the 1930s and the liberal reforms of the Minnesota DFL Party. She believed unions and education were paths to economic security for African Americans, including women. Her self-reliant personality and pragmatic politics sustained her long and active life.
John Francis (J. Frank) Wheaton, a Twin Cities lawyer and orator, became the first African American elected to serve in the Minnesota legislature in 1898. A target of racial prejudice throughout his life, Wheaton believed in the political process as a means to improve the state’s civil rights laws.