Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Leata Wigg Pearson
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Description BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Leata Wigg grew up in Duluth in the German American community. Her parents were Edward and Beata Wigg, and her father worked as a dispatcher for the Northern Pacific Railway. Leata attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, graduating in 1939. There she participated in the student movement for peace and justice. She belonged to both the campus chapter of the Young Communist League and the American Student Union. When she moved back to Duluth in 1939, she became involved in the American Youth Congress activities there. Through the Youth Congress she met and married Glenn Pearson, who was already active in the united Steelworkers of America Local 1096, in 1941. Together they raised five daughters and two sons. (Three of them, Patricia, Kathleen, and Marilyn, are mentioned in the interview.) SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Questioning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1940s and 1950s, Labor union organizing among the steelworkers. Activities of the Duluth chapter of the American Youth Congress. Effects of the Second World War on U.S. society. Activities of progressive students on the University of Minnesota campus, 1930s. Leadership development in the Young Communist League. Support for the Loyalist cause during the Spanish Civil War. Life during the Great Depression. American Youth Congress pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., 1940. American Youth Congress national meeting in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, 1940. Presidential campaign of Progressive Party candidate Henry A. Wallace, 1948. Life, influence, and character of Ernie Pearson (her father-in-law). Life, influence, and impressions of Herman Griffiths. Labor union organizing in Duluth in the 1940s. Activities and character of Maney Pearson (her mother-in-law). Working-class life in West Duluth in the 1920s. Role of women's auxiliaries of the Farmer-Labor Party and Congress of Industrial Organizations. Purge of Communists from the CIO in the 1940s and 1950s. Opinions of Gerald Heaney. State senate campaign of 1964 in Duluth. Opinion about the merger between the Democratic and Farmer-Labor Parties, and of the merger between the American Federation of Labor and the CIO. Activities and characters of Pat McGraw and Signe Santabaka. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: This is a lively interview, full of rich memories and characterizations. Leata switches subjects quickly, so sometimes it is unclear to whom her pronouns refer. The transcriber had trouble distinguishing between the voices of the two interviewers, so speaker identification may be inaccurate in places. There are moments when all three spoke at the same time, making verbatim transcription impossible.
Quantity 2 hours sound cassette
35 pages transcript
Format Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Measurements 01:27:33 running time
Creation Interviewee: Pearson, Leata Wigg
Interviewer: Frenkel, Susanna
Interviewer: Hyvarinen, Virginia - Duluth Public Library
Made in Duluth, Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States
Subjects Made in Duluth, Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States
Dates Creation: 04/19/1988
Holding Type Oral History - Interview
Identifiers OH 30
Accession Number AV1990.228.33
More Info MHS Library Catalog
Related Collections Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project'

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