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In memory of Comrade Clark

By Keaten Mansfield1/31/2022
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Almost a year ago, I decided to comb through digital copies of the Communist Party USA’s newspaper – the Southern Worker. In 1937’s fall edition, I noticed a small ad on the side of the paper. It read as follows:

Nellie Clark, young Georgia textile worker, died a little less than a year ago as a result of the brutal treatment she received at the hands of Atlanta police when she was arrested for organizational activities. A member of the Communist Party, she was known and loved by hundreds of workers for her devotion to the common people’s struggle for a better life in the South. Her grave beneath Stone Mountain is unadorned because her parents are unable to buy a tombstone, But her friends and comrades, feeling that her last resting place should be made known, have decided to set up a monument; to the devoted work of this tireless young worker who gave her life that others following her might have more than she had. They ask all of our readers to contribute whatever they can afford to help erect a tombstone at Nellie Clark’s grave, Contributions should be addressed to Nellie Clark Memorial Fund, Box 1871, Birmingham

Having been deeply touched by this profound gesture of inner-Party solidarity, I searched the previous year’s editions of the paper. In the October-November copy, I discovered that several communists had been arrested in Atlanta for demonstrating – naturally, I assumed Clarke was one of them.

After a few more hours of digging, I found her digital grave-marker. The website included photos of her headstone which, to my dismay, show that the top of the slab had been broken off. The digital page is maintained by her nephew, who notes on the site, “The top of her gravestone was cut off sometime in the 30s or 40s by persons unknown.”

This horrible act of vandalism led me to believe that the Communist Party was successful in raising enough money to erect a headstone and, as a tribute to her ultimate sacrifice, had a hammer and sickle or another symbol of socialism engraved on the top. I had a feeling that following Clarke’s burial, a gang of violent anti-communists desecrated her memorial in a hate induced fury. And sure enough, I was right! After revisiting the website, I discovered that a new photo of the headstone has since been uploaded featuring the seal of the Comintern.

As we remember the sacrifices made by our many great predecessors, let us be inspired and refuse to let their deaths be in vain. Let us carry on their legacy of struggle!

Linked below is her digital gravesite. I have already left a “flower” on it and I encourage all readers to do the same.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36402820/nellie-b-clarke

Keaten Mansfield is an author, full time analyst, and organizer for the Center for Political Innovation, as well as a guest commentator for PressTV. Born in the American Heartland, much of Mansfield’s work centers around the conditions of rural workers and farmers and kindling the Christian Socialist tradition.