Angelo Herndon was a labor activist, revolutionary, and freedom fighter. Born into an impoverished family in 1913, he quickly learned that the only way change will result was through revolutionary struggle, both from his own experience along with the knowledge he gained from the infamous book, The Communist Manifesto. To this end, he became actively involved in issues pertaining to workers’ rights.
He traveled around the South, working to organize an interracial communist party several massive hunger marches and demonstrations in Atlanta. However, during this period, officials actively worked towards the repression of those with Communist ideals. Herndon was eventually arrested, the pretext being that he violated an archaic law against “insurrection;” the prosecuting attorney and police department made their case around the fact that Herndon had been in possession of “communist literature.”
He spent six months in jail before his bond was paid by the International Labor Defense, which was also involved in defending the Scottsboro Boys, anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, and played an extremely active role in anti-lynching and broader civil rights issues. Despite an all-white jury, unconstitutional charges found against him, and receiving a prison sentence of almost two decades behind bars, the Supreme Court overturned his case in 1934.