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Abraham Lewis


Abraham Lewis

Lewis, Abe. b. 1905, Louisiana; African American; Single; Cook; CP 1930; received passport# 6397 New York series on March 19, 1937 which listed his address as 1524 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio (5810 Thackary Street, Cleveland, Ohio); Sailed March 27, 1937 aboard the Paris; Arrived in Spain on April 14, 1937; Served with the IB Commissary Services; XV BDE Headquarters, Adjutant Commissar; Returned to the US on February 4, 1939 aboard the President Harding; WWII civilian; d. 1948.

Source: Sail, SACB, Cadre.

Photograph: Abraham Lewis, Brigade Commissariat, December 1937. The 15th International Brigade Photographic Unit Photograph Collection; ALBA Photo 11; ALBA Photo number 11-0955. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.



Abraham Lewis was born in Louisiana to a family of sharecroppers in 1905. At the age of seventeen, he ran away from home living first in Arkansas, later in St. Louis, Missouri, and finally settling in Ohio where he was employed in a laundry worker and as a cook. In 1930, Lewis joined the Communist Party and became a leader in the Future Outlook League, a local African-American community organization. He contributed articles to black community newspapers and was active in the Scottsboro Defense Campaign, the NAACP, and other organizations. He achieved local notoriety when he forced Cleveland's St. Luke's Hospital to perform surgery on him. Lewis departed for France aboard the Paris on March 27, 1937. Among the highest-ranking African-American volunteers, Lewis initially served in the transport service and was rapidly promoted to Brigade Quartermaster for the XVth Brigade. Four months after his promotion he was made an assistant to the Brigade's Commissar Dave Doran. In January 1938, Lewis was injured in a truck accident, an injury requiring surgery and effectively ending his front-line service. After recovering, Lewis was attached to the Headquarters of the International Brigades in Albacete where he served in the Commissariat Department and was responsible for personnel. Here his job was to approve all reports and evaluations of U.S. volunteers in Spain. Lewis was among the last Internationals to leave Spain, returning on the President Harding, on February 4, 1939. Lewis resumed his community activities in Cleveland until his death in 1948. ~ Chris Brooks

ALB Archival Materials

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Abe Lewis in Argente, January 1938 (ALBA Collection).

Full Database Record

Last Name Lewis
First/Middle Name Abraham
Ethnicity Note
Immigration Status
AKA Last Name 1
AKA First / Middle 1
AKA Last Name 2
AKA First / Middle 2
Foreign Nation
Foreign Nation City
Alt Pob State, City
Family: Name
Family: Relationship
Family: Begin Date
Family: End Date
Family: Comments
Education HS
Education College / Univ 1
Education College/Univ Notes
Education College/Univ 2
Graduate or Doctoral Work
Graduate or Doctoral Work Notes
Prior Military Service
Passport #
Passport Series
Passport Reported Lost in Spain
Passport Age
Passport Date
PP or Known Address Street
PP or Known Address City
PP or Known Address State
ALT City
Alt State
Sail Date
Marital Status
Marital Notes
Vocation 1
Vocation 2
Vocation 3
Party Affiliation
Date Affiliation
ALT Affiliation
ALT date
ALT affiliation 2
Arrival (in Spain) Date
Units served with
Battle action
Returned Date
Returned other
WWII Service
Place Died City
KIA/MIA/Died other
KIA/MIA/Died other Date
KIA/MIA/Died other Location
KIA/MIA/Died other Battle
Additional Notes