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The Fierce Life of Grace Holmes CarlsonCatholic, Socialist, Feminist$
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Donna T. Haverty-Stacke

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479802180

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479802180.001.0001

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(p.41) 2 Conversion
The Fierce Life of Grace Holmes Carlson

Donna T. Haverty-Stacke

NYU Press

Chapter 2 examines Grace’s undergraduate years at the College of Saint Catherine during the mid–late1920s and then her gradual conversion to socialism during the 1930s. Included among the various factors that led to this shift were her experiences at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where she went in 1929 to pursue a doctorate in psychology. Grace maintained her commitment to social justice that she had developed in her youth as a working-class Catholic in St. Paul, but now channeled it in a revolutionary direction in a new city. Both her encounter with the 1934 Minneapolis Teamster strikes and her first job as a vocational rehabilitation counselor in the Minnesota Department of Education that she began in 1935 intensified Grace’s evolving view that a socialist society was the only way to address the needs of workers and the exploited. In 1938 Grace entered the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) as a delegate to its founding convention. By September 1940, she left her job at the Minnesota Department of Education—in part because of red baiting during the “little red scare”—to work full-time for the party, leaving the Church (and her husband Gilbert, whom she had married in 1934) behind.

Keywords:   College of Saint Catherine, University of Minnesota, 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters strikes, little red scare, Socialist Workers Party, Minnesota Department of Education

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