Minor, Robert

Minor, Robert

(1884–1952) cartoonist, radical activist; born in San Antonio, Texas. A distant relative of Sam Houston, he was an editorial cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (1904) who joined the Socialist Party (1907), but was drawn to anarchism. After visiting France (1912), he became a cartoonist for the New York World (1913), but was fired after doing a cartoon for the radical Mother Earth. He was hired by the Socialist New York Call (1915) and then joined John Reed and Boardman Robinson, covering the Eastern Front in Europe. He visited Mexico to cover the Pancho Villa episode (1916) and went to Moscow (1918), where he became disillusioned with Leninism, if not Lenin, whom he met. Visiting France, he was almost executed by the United States military there on charges of undermining military morale. Speaking and writing on the Russian Revolution (1920), he joined the new Communist Party and soon became a member of its hierarchy. He attended the Communist International as a delegate (1922–24), edited the Daily Worker (1928–30), and championed the cause of American blacks and the unemployed. He was arrested for illegal assembly after a labor demonstration in New York's Union Square, and was sentenced to three years in prison (1930); he served about six months. He ran unsuccessfully as the Communist candidate for governor of New York (1932) and the next year for the mayor of New York City. An unsuccessful candidate for one of New York's U.S. Senate seats (1936), he went to Spain as both a war correspondent for the Daily Worker and as the American Party's commissar in the International Brigades. Returning home (1937), he became acting general secretary of America's Communist Party (1940); he promoted U.S. involvement in World War II and worked with the Roosevelt administration to change U.S. policy toward Chinese Communists. Repudiating many of his earlier beliefs after the war, he lost credibility in the party, but assisted in defense of its leaders who had been arrested under the Smith Act of 1940 and were jailed (1951).

Minor, Robert

 

Born July 15, 1884, in San Antonio, Texas; diedNov. 26, 1952, in New York. American graphic artist. Mem-, ber of the Communist Party of the USA (1920).

In the 1920’s, Minor was the editor of The Liberator and the Daily Worker. In his poster-like drawings, he condemned militarism and the anti-Soviet intervention of 1918-20, exposed the vices of bourgeois society, and revealed the significance of revolutionary transformations in the world (The Ideal Soldier, The Face of Trade Union Democracy, both 1920’s).

REFERENCE

North, J. Robert Minor. New York, 1956.
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