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A Red Family Junius, Gladys, and Barbara Scales by Mickey Friedman, Barbara Scales

A Red Family Junius, Gladys, and Barbara Scales



A Red Family Junius, Gladys, and Barbara Scales by Mickey Friedman, Barbara Scales

One of the few publicly known communists in the South, Junius Scales organized textile workers, fought segregation, and was the only American to be imprisoned under the membership clause of the Smith Act during the McCarthy years. This compact collective memoir, built on three interconnected oral histories and including a historical essay by Gail O'Brien, covers Scales's organizing activities and work against racism in the South, his progressive disillusionment with Party bureaucracy and dogmatic rigidity, his persecution and imprisonment, as well as his family's radicalism and response to FBI hounding and blacklisting. Through the distinct perspectives of Junius, his wife Gladys, and his daughter Barbara, this book deepens and personalizes the story of American radicalism. Conversational, intimate, and exceptionally accessible, A Red Family offers a unique look at the American communist experience from the inside out.


A powerful reminder of the sacrifices made to make racial and labor justice a reality. --People's Weekly World A welcome addition to the literature on southern radicalism. --Journal of Southern History This book fascinates by entwining personal history with wider US history; the interviews evoke the atmosphere of racism in the South and the frightening isolation caused by the McCarthy witchhunts but also the warmth of comradeship and the persistence of their vision of a better world. --Socialist Review

About the Author

Mickey Friedman is a documentary filmmaker and writer and the founder of Blue Hill Films, where he has directed several films, including Good Things to Life: GE, PCBs, and Our Town. He lives in Massachusetts. Gail O'Brien is a professor emerita of history at North Carolina State University and the author of The Color of the Law: Race, Violence, and Justice in the Post-World War II South.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th January 2009


Mickey Friedman, Barbara Scales

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University of Illinois Press


216 pages


Marxism & Communism
Political activism
Oral history
Biography: historical, political & military



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