Claudia Jones Memorial Collection 1935-1998 (bulk 1955-1964) consists primarily of printed
matter apparently owned by Jones. There is a relatively small volume of material relating to Jones'
personal and political activities. Bon-voyage postcards, letters and telegrams sent to her on her
departure from the United States following deportation are the only documents that deal with her life in the United States. The collection also contains poems Jones wrote while in prison and during her voyage to England.
Statement of responsibility: Collection includes work by Inge Hardison, Henry O. Oduyoye and R. A. Sertimer, among others.
Content: Some photographs bear photographer's handstamp on verso. Some items bear handwritten notations on verso; some items bear printed captions on recto; some items bear printed or typewritten captions attached to verso. Some photographs are cut and taped together to form panoramic group photographs; some items are cropped or bear cropping marks. Some items are duplicates.
The collection (1955-1964) depicts the activities of political activist and communist Claudia Jones after her deportation from the United States to Great Britain. The collection consists of individual portraits of Jones; views of Jones attending conferences, meetings, social events and receptions, and other political gatherings; views of Jones with friends, colleagues and acquaintances, mostly during trips abroad; and individual portraits and candid shots of various friends and colleagues. Views of Jones's funeral and funeral procession (1964) are also depicted. The collection includes a single view of Jones with some of the other Smith Act defendants in New York (1953).
Biographical/historical: Claudia Jones (1915-1964), political activist, communist, journalist, and community leader was born in Trinidad, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1924 with her parents and siblings. During the 1930s and '40s she became a strong advocate for human, civil and women's rights and rose in the Communist Party USA to a position of leadership. She was appointed editor of Negro Affairs for the Daily Worker in 1948 and that same year she was arrested for violation of the Smith Act. Between 1948 and 1955 Jones was arrested and imprisoned twice and finally deported to England in December 1955 after serving a sentence of a year and a day at the Aldersen Federal Women's Prison.
From 1955 to 1964 Jones worked with London's African-Caribbean community doing political and cultural organizing. She founded and edited The West Indian Gazette and the Afro-Asian Caribbean News, and in 1959 helped organize a series of cultural events that grew to become the Notting Hill Carnival. Jones died on December 24, 1964 after a long illness.