Alphaeus Hunton, Jr. was the executive director of the Council on African Affairs (CAA) and editor of the CAA’s publication, New Africa, from 1943 through the organization’s dissolution in 1955.
Hunton was born in Atlanta in 1903. His grandfather, Stanton Hunton, was a slave, an abolitionist and a close friend of John Brown who participated in the planning of the battle of Harper’s Ferry. In 1906, his family migrated to Brooklyn in the wake of the Atlanta race riot.
After completing high school, he attended Howard University where he graduated in 1924. He later earned a master’s degree in Victorian literature from Harvard in 1925, and studied for a doctorate at New York University from 1934-1938.
While attending New York University, Hunton’s political voice began to emerge. He was attracted to Marxism-Leninism. He got involved in union organizing, joined the Communist Party, and served on the executive board of the National Negro Congress in 1936.
Hunton led and participated in several campaigns to “end Jim Crow in Washington.” In 1960 he moved to Guinea and shortly thereafter joined W.E.B. Du Bois in Ghana. Hunton was expeled from Ghana, following the expulsion order, he and his third wife sailed to New York in late 1966. William Alphaeus Hunton died of cancer in Lusaka on January 13, 1970 at the age of 63.