Paul Robeson

After the Spanish Civil War the Abraham Lincoln Brigade continued to support the Spanish people in their opposition to Franco. Paul Robeson continued to support this cause, and in a February 12, 1945 letter, Robeson asked a potential donor to support the publication of a newspaper ad featuring a petition opposing the Franco regime. This document can be found in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives at Tamiment Library as well as this link on the ALBA site.

Canute Frankson

Frankson was born in the Parish of St. Catherine, Old Harbor, Jamaica on April 13, 1890. In 1917, together with his wife, Rachel, he emigrated to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, where Frankson worked as a machinist. Frankson eventually settled in Detroit, where he worked in the auto industry. Frankson joined the Communist Party in 1934. He sailed for Europe aboard the Queen Mary on April 21, 1937.

In Spain, skilled machinists were scarce and Frankson with his proven ability was rapidly promoted. He was appointed Head Mechanic at the International Garage in Albacete. Fellow International Garage veteran, Marion Noble, noted that Frankson’s fluency in Spanish was a great asset and that many hours of his free time were spent teaching engine repair classes to young Spaniards.

Frankson returned to the United States aboard the President Harding on September 24, 1938. Frankson was killed in an auto accident in either 1939 or 1940.

In this letter from Canute Frankson to “Friend” dated July 6, 1937, Frankson discusses race and its part in the international struggle he is fighting in.

Crawford Morgan

Morgan was born November 4, 1910 in Rockingham, North Carolina. While still a child, he moved with his family to Norfolk, Virginia where he attended high school. After graduation, Morgan studied to become a printer. In 1932, he joined the Young Communist League. During the Depression he became involved in organizations of the unemployed in New York and was on one occasion arrested in a demonstration at the Home Relief Bureau.

On March 10, 1937 Morgan boarded the Washington bound for France. In Spain he was assigned to the infantry attached to the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion and later transferred to the Lincoln-Washington Battalion. His battalion went into action at the end of August 1937 on the Aragon front and Morgan received a leg wound storming the town of Quinto. After recovery, Morgan rejoined the Lincoln-Washington Battalion’s Third Company. This was shortly after the action at Fuentes de Ebro in October 1937. Complications from his leg wound resulted in his transfer to the 15th Brigade’s Transport Unit where Morgan remained for the remainder of the war. Morgan returned from Spain, on the SS Paris, on December 15, 1938.

On September 15 and 16, 1954, Morgan testified at length on behalf of the VALB in hearings before the Subversive Activities Control Board (SACB) of the U.S. Department of Justice. The SACB was in the process of declaring the VALB to be a subversive organization. The VALB attorney called Morgan as a defense witness. Read and download Morgan’s testimony, taken from the book This Ain’t Ethiopia, But It’ll Do: African-Americans in the Spanish Civil War, by Danny Duncan Collum, Editor, and Victor A. Berch, Chief Researcher.

Morgan remained an active member of the VALB. In the early 1970’s, he worked with the group’s Historical Commission to gather information on other African American volunteers. Morgan died on August 27, 1976.