Abraham Isserman - Memorial Service 1988

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The Abraham Isserman - Memorial Service 1988

About the Service

A longtime identified Communist Party USA member and attorney, Abraham Isserman died on April 22, 1988. A memorial service was scheduled for him on November 17, 1988, at the Martin Luther King Center of District 1199, 310 West 43rd St, NYC.[1]

An article advertising the event which was published the Nov. 15 People's Daily World made the following comments:[1]

"The late Abe Isserman, an attorney who served a prison term and was disbarred for 13 years for his legal defense of the constitutional rights of Communists in the 1949 Smith Act trial, will be honored at a memorial meeting this Thursday, Nov. 17. Rep. George Crockett (D-MI), who also was a fellow defense attorney and who was also jailed, will be the keynote speaker. Isserman died on April. 22.
The legal prosecution of Communist Party leaders, was one of the opening shots of the McCarthy era in the early years of the cold war. It led to hundreds of Communists and other progressives being sent to prison on various trumped-up charges, and thousands of others hounded out of their jobs and professions. Inevitably, it resulted in the silencing of millions of people throughout the country through fear of economic and political reprisals for their views.
Isserman, who was admitted to the bar in 1923, was a prominent labor and civil rights attorney in New Jersey for more than two decades, beginning with the Paterson silk strike of 1926. He was attorney for the N.J. State Federation of Labor, a number of union councils, and unions across the country.
He was also attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Consumers Union. A member of the ACLU National Board from 1935 to 1939, he resigned in 1939 in protest at the expulsion of founding member, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
He also represented the Jehovahs Witnesses in their fight against compulsory allegiance to the American flag, later upheld by the Supreme Court."

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a longtime CPUSA leader. The Consumers Union was once dominated by the CPUSA for a short period of time.


The following individuals and organizations sponsored the event. They included the "legal heart" of the CPUSA and its sympathizers/fronts:[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Article in the People's Daily World, November 15, 1988, page 10-A.
  2. Personal communication from Max Friedman, research journalist, who spoke to one of her friends who gave an eulogy at her memorial service, and she said that she believed Abzug was a CPUSA member. Government documents supporting this possibility have not been made public and researchers have not been able to find identified documents in the National Archives so far.