Rebel against Injustice: The Life of Frank P. O'Hare
by Peter H. Buckingham
University of Missouri Press, 1996
Cloth: 978-0-8262-1055-5 | eISBN: 978-0-8262-6015-4
Library of Congress Classification HX84.O39B83 1996
Dewey Decimal Classification 335.0092


Rebel against Injustice, a carefully crafted biography of Frank P. O'Hare (1877-1960), socialist, political activist, editor, and husband of prominent radical Kate Richards O'Hare, is the first study of a much-neglected but important figure of the American Left whose contributions are often referred to, in passing, in many other works.

Abandoned by his father at the age of four, O'Hare grew up in the Kerry Patch slum of St. Louis. Although he began his career in business, O'Hare turned to socialism with the sublime dream of bringing about a better world. While attending a school for Socialist organizers, he met Kate Richards, and the young couple forged a personal and professional partnership. Settling in Oklahoma, the O'Hares helped build a strong grassroots movement through grueling lecture tours and colorful camp meetings. In 1911, Frank, his wife, and their four children moved to St. Louis, where they transformed the National Rip-Saw into a popular Socialist monthly magazine. It was there that Frank found his niche as a Socialist impresario, editing the writings and arranging the tours of his "stars," Kate O'Hare and Eugene Debs.

A series of calamities, including the breakup of his marriage, brought Frank O'Hare near the edge of despair in the mid-1920s. Divorcing and remarrying, he made a new life in St. Louis. Plunging back into radical activism, he worked for the Federated Press syndicate. During the last twenty years of his life, O'Hare wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, worked as a business consultant, and continued his involvement as a community activist in St. Louis. Although Frank O'Hare has long been dismissed as a lost soul without Kate Richards O'Hare, Rebel against Injustice shows that he continued to be a presence in St. Louis and never stopped his fight against injustice. In 1958, a Teamster newspaper referred to O'Hare as "one of the truly great men of St. Louis--possibly the ONLY one."

Based upon a close study of the largely untapped Frank P. O'Hare papers, this well-written biography will enlighten readers about the organizational choices behind the success of American Socialism, while shedding new light on the lives and activities of many prominent American radicals.

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