Paul Neal

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Paul Neal


Paul C. Neal was a Connecticut activist. He died suddenly on August 2, 2013, one month before his 64th birthday.

Background

Paul was a letter carrier and head trustee of his union local, NALC Merged Branch 86. At the memorial celebrating his life, in addition to many wonderful stories from his family, his union president and a minister who lived on his mail delivery route both spoke eloquently.

This minister had been called to serve in the Iraq war. She was far from home and far from her children. She was amazed when she began to receive many stacks of cards to cheer her. How did this happen? It turned out that Paul Neal, her letter carrier, had suggested the idea to her neighbors! He knew what it would mean, as a Vietnam War vet.

As his union president said at the memorial, "I always made sure Paul was on the executive board. He was the kind of person you need there."

When Neal returned from the Vietnam War, he made the transition from military to civilian life. A trained chemist, he was unable to develop a career in environmental science due to racism. He worked as a letter carrier for 28 years.[1]

Communist Party

Paul Neal "found a home" in the Communist Party USA, and he became a leader in the party, chairing the meetings of the Connecticut State Committee. He was proud to stand up for the vision of a society built on the rights and needs of working people of all races, nationalities, and generations.

He welcomed comrades from Hartford into his home when they came to bring the People's World to his neighborhood in Vernon. He helped lead classes with new members about how they, too, could be a part of making change and making history.

Paul was known for his dreads. After retirement, he cut them. At the next big event at the People's Center, when he stepped up to the podium to welcome everyone, some people didn't recognize him at first without his dreads. So he told the story of how he had been harassed on the job to cut his dreads. It became a principle not to, even though he had gotten tired of them. So he kept his dreads as long as he was at the post office in defense of his right and anybody's right to wear their hair as they chose. As soon as he retired, he said, "Now I can finally cut my hair!"[2]

90th anniversary of the Communist Party USA/People’s World Amistad award

Paul Neal

The diverse and inspired overflow crowd stayed to the end of the remarkable celebration of People's World Amistad Award honorees Anna Montalvo, Gwen Mills and Art Perry on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party USA, Dec. 2009. The theme of the event was "Keep the Ball Rolling....to win jobs with union rights, health care, peace and equality!" Unity and struggle were the messages of the day.

Bill Collins of the Rabble Rousers got everyone going with his new song "Health Care is Our Right," followed by a film, "Building on 90 Years of Struggle," which highlighted Connecticut struggles and activists and the role of the Communist Party for People before Profits policies. Everyone enjoyed all the photos.

Beto Castillo performed two Mexican songs to the delight of all. And then it was time for the award presentations.

Event chair Paul Neal presented Anna Montalvo, president of AFSCME Local 1522 in Bridgeport with citations from the New Haven Board of Aldermen and the Connecticut General Assembly. As he presented the large framed Amistad Award, AFSCME Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano brought out how strong Anna has been in leading a large local with many different worksites including public works where the guys had to learn to take leadership from a woman.

The 90th anniversary of the Communist Party proud was done proud![3]

Veteran's petition

August 25, 2012, a "group of veterans" called on Governor Dannel Malloy to restore the request for funding for restoration of 37 Howe Street, site of the Communist Party USA's New Haven People's Center.

The Governor removed the item from the state bonding budget after an opposition group from outside New Haven, citing their veteran status, protested the proposed funding on the grounds that Communists are part of the building. The bonding request would restore brick work on the 1851 Italianate structure which is a site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail.

The announcement was made as the New Haven Peoples Center celebrated its 75th anniversary with a family backyard cookout and cultural event including music and children's crafts. After supporters crowded on the front lawn for a group photograph, messages of solidarity and support were delivered by elected officials, labor leaders and community activists.

The letter from the veterans reads in part: "We deplore the manipulation of a few Veterans, for narrow political purposes, who do not understand that the New Haven Peoples Center is an historic building,

We call for the restoration of the request of the New Haven Peoples Center for funding.

  • Paul Neal, U.S. Army, Vietnam 1970[4]

References