Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Leo Turner
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Description BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Leo Turner was of Finnish ancestry, although born in the United States. His parents divorced when he was five or six years old, and his mother died five years later. After that he lived with his grandparents on the Minnesota Iron Range. Turner joined the Young Communist League at age seventeen, and eventually became the state secretary of the YCL. He moved to Duluth and then to Minneapolis in the early 1930s, where he worked with the Unemployed Councils and the labor movement. He left the Twin Cities in the mid-1930s, and made his way to Chicago. For many years he was an organizer for the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers Union there. At the time of the interview he was retired and living in Oakland, California. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Turner discusses his work with the Unemployed Councils, particularly his arrest at a demonstration of the unemployed at city Hall in Minneapolis. He tells of a similar arrest in Butte, Montana, at a march against fascism. (He went to Butte as a representative of the YCL.) He describes how he survived as a young, single, marginally employed man in the Depression years, and remembers the labor struggles in which he took part (the Strutwear Knitting Mill strike, the ornamental iron workers' strike, the Albert Lea meat packers' strike). He reflects on the Minnesota Finnish community, and talks about his mother's involvement in the Finnish-language political theater. There is a little information about members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and some anecdotal information about James Bartlett, one-time business agent of Warehouse Workers Local 359 and an FBI informant.
Quantity 1.5 hours sound cassette
17 pages transcript
Format Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Measurements 01:15:08 running time
Creation Interviewee: Turner, Leo
Interviewer: Salerno, Sal
Made in Oakland, Alameda County, California, United States
Subjects Made in Oakland, Alameda County, California, United States
Dates Creation: 02/15/1988
Holding Type Oral History - Interview
Identifiers OH 30
Accession Number AV1990.228.40
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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