Communist Party USA History and Geography

Here are interactive maps and charts exploring the geography of Communist Party activity. Communists split from the Socialist Party in 1919, forming two competing Bolshevik parties that later merged to become the Communist Party USA. A disciplined organization that demanded strenuous commitments and frequently expelled members, the CP was not an open mass organization in the manner of the Socialist Party or the NAACP. Membership levels remained below 20,000 until 1933 and then surged upward in the late 1930s, reaching 66,000 in 1939 and perhaps higher by 1944 as the US and the Soviet Union joined in a World War II alliance. Support for the CP was much larger than that, but how large has been an enduring question. [see brief history].

The CP garned support in particular communities, developing a unique geography. These maps and charts detail (1) electoral support, showing the number and percentage of votes for Communist candidates in every county and state from 1922 to 1948; (2) party membership by state and year.


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Votes for Communist candidates by county and state 1922-1944

This combination of maps and charts suggests the dimensions of support for the Communist Party. The party mounted symbolic but energetic campaigns during each presidential election from 1924 through 1940 and many gubernatorial and congressional races from 1922 to 1944. Move from year to year and filter each map by several variables.


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Membership by District 1922-1939

These maps and charts track Communist Party membership by district during the party's heyday from 1922 to 1939. Membership levels remained below 20,000 until 1933 and then surged upward in the late 1930s, reaching 66,000 in 1939.


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"We Charge Genocide"
: The 1951 Black Lives Matter campaign of the Civil Rights Congress

More than sixty years ago, the Civil Rights Congress, affiliated with the Communist Party, engaged in a campaign to hold the United States accountable for genocide against African Americans. Below are the 152 incidents that the Civil Rights Congress offered as evidence in support of this claim. These killings of unarmed Black men and women by police and by lynch mobs took place between 1945 and 1951. They are displayed on the interactive map and detailed one by one in a descriptive list.