Watson, Alonzo.


k-Watson, Alonzo b. February 4, 1892, Chicago, Illinois; African American; Father Robert B. Watson (b. July 7, 1862, Henderson, Kentucky – deceased); Prior Military Service in the US Army, 365th Illinois Infantry during WWI; Married; Decorator and Painter; CP Harlem Division; Received Passport# 6227 New York series on December 23, 1936 which listed his address as 47 East 12th Avenue, NYC; Sailed December 26, 1936 aboard the Normandie; Served with XV BDE, Lincoln BN, Co. 1, Plana Mayor, Quartermaster; KIA February 25, 1937, felled by a sniper, Jarama; Death reported in the May 16, 1937 Daily Worker.
Sibling: sister Mrs. Hazel M. Coney.
Sources: Scope of Soviet Activity; RGASPI Fond 545, Opis 6, Delo 1009, ll. 51 (fiche); Voros-Jarama; African Americans.
Biography: Alonzo Watson was born in 1891. Originally from Chicago, Watson served in World War I with the 365th Illinois Infantry. After the war Watson moved to New York worked as a painter and joined the Harlem branch of the Communist Party. Together with William Edward White, he was one of the two black volunteers among the first group of ninety-six who left New York, on the Normandie, on December 26, 1936. Watson served in the Lincoln Battalion. A sniper shot him as he moved across a short stretch of roadway that interrupted the trenches at the Jarama Front. His death on February 25, 1937 made him the first African American volunteer killed in action. ~ Chris Brooks
Photograph: Alonzo Watson, Passport Photograph.