DescriptionThis political biography of James and Esther Cooper Jackson illustrates that the United States’ diplomatic relationship with the Soviet Union shaped the way activists approached the twentieth century Black freedom movement precisely because this relationship also shaped their personal lives. A Black Communist couple, James and Esther Cooper Jackson’s experiences offer a way of understanding how individuals developed, adapted, and understood their own politics and participated in multiple movements as the Cold War shaped U.S. political discourse. The dissolution of the U.S.-Soviet World War II alliance led many leftwing activists to step back from the political spotlight, but others, like the Jacksons, believed in the urgency of the Black freedom movement and continued to act in ways that drew on their Communist background and personal convictions. The start of the Cold War inaugurated a period of trial and error for leftist Black activists, as the methods they had used before and during World War II no longer reflected the political climate in the United States. My work offers insight into the relationship between the Communist Party, USA (CPUSA) and the civil rights movement, the CPUSA’s progression on the subjects of race and gender, and the life of a couple whose love sustained their activism, and whose activism nourished their relationship. Following the Jacksons’ lives throughout the Black freedom movement demonstrates that while the Cold War restricted more radical forms of activism in the United States, dedicated leftists continued to challenge conventional thinking and remained engaged in civil rights struggles. The Jacksons’ lives reveal that anticommunism influenced the direction and methods of the civil rights movement, but did not prevent Communists from contributing to the broad ideological struggle against racial injustice in the United States.