William L. Patterson (born 1891) belonged to the Communist Party USA from 1926 to 1929 and transferred membership to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1936. When he was appointed to the Central Committee of the American Communist Party, he resumed his membership in it. He was a delegate to the Sixth Congress of the Communist International in 1928 and to the Tenth Plenum of the Executive of the Comintern in 1930. He also served as an official of the Red International of Labor Unions and as a representative of the Communist International in France.
Patterson ran the Chicago Communist Party training school, the Abraham Lincoln School. Its earlier name was the Worker's School of Chicago. The Communist Party USA had a series of schools to both train Communist Party cadre and attract non-communist young people. Patterson's taught courses among in the first category while his friend and associate Frank Marshall Davis's worked among the second group.
Patterson served as the national secretary the Communist front International Labor Defense (ILD) and headed the Civil Rights Congress. Patterson also was on the editorial board of the Communist publication, the Chicago Star.
- Comintern Archives Fond 495, Opis 74, Delo 467, pp. 29-30, quoted in Who Was Frank Marshall Davis?, Herbert Romerstein, USASurvival.org, pp.8, 20-21.
- Gerald Horne, Communist Front? The Civil Rights Congress, 1946-1956 (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1987); Horne, Civil Rights Congress, in Mary Jo Buhle, Paul Buhle, and Dan Georgakas, eds., Encyclopedia of the American Left (New York: Garland Publishing, 1990), 134-135, BlackPast.org