Email | Share | Print

Sterling Rochester


Rochester (Group)


Rochester, Sterling Taylor. b. October 15, 1901, Barclay, Maryland, African American, US Navy 1924, served on the Battleship Utah and the Destroyer Dale, Single, Seaman and Party organizer, CP, received passport# 234264 on August 6, 1935 which listed his address as 108 Olive Street, and 503 N. 7th Street, both Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Spain from the Soviet Union where he was attending a party school, Served with the XV BDE, Lincoln BN, MG Company, Jarama, Returned to US on propaganda tour arriving on June 27, 1937 aboard the Lafayette, d. 1978 Norristown, Pennsylvania. 

Sources: SACB, Lincoln, Ancestry.

Photograph: Slavonivitch, Chief of information at Jarama and Brunete, and Sterling Rochester. International Brigade Archive, Moscow: Select Images, Folder 178: Undated Photographs, Box 1, Folder 4; ALBA Photo 177-178005; ALBA Photo number 177-188031. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.


ALB Archival Materials

Search the Tamiment Archives


Top: unidentified volunteers unidentified Mexican, Aurturo Jack Luna Filipino, unidentified Cuban. Kneeling: Sterling Rochester, Jack Shirai (Courtesy Ted Watts).

Full Database Record

Last Name Rochester
First/Middle Name Sterling
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 Rochester was born in Barclay, Maryland, on October 15, 1901. In 1924, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy. After his discharge he served in the Merchant Marine and later worked as a steelworker in Philadelphia. A member of the Communist Party, Rochester was in the Soviet Union when the Spanish Civil War began. Rochester joined the Lincoln Battalion shortly after its formation and served in the Tom Mooney Machine Gun Company. In June 1937, after he was wounded in the trenches at Jarama, Rochester was sent back to the United States to rally support for the Spanish Republic. Rochester toured the nation delivering his speech "I Fought for Democracy in Spain" to a wide range of groups. Following the end of the Spanish Civil War, Rochester returned to Philadelphia where he resumed his Communist activities. In 1939, he ran unsuccessfully for a local office on the Democratic and Fusion tickets. Rochester died in 1978. - Chris Brooks