Avro Halberg, the son of immigrants from Finland, was born in Mesabi Iron Ridge, Minnesota, on 8th October 1910. His father was active in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and a founder member of the American Communist Party.
Halberg joined the Young Communist League (YCL) in 1927 and helped to recruit members in the mining towns of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
In 1931 Halberg went to the Soviet Union and spent two years studying at the Lenin Institute in Moscow. On his return he was one of the organizers of the Minneapolis Teamsters strike led by Farrell Dobbs. This resulted in Halberg being blacklisted and so he changed his name to Gus Hall.
Hall moved to Ohio where he led the Warren-Youngstown steel strike. Soon afterwards he became a staff member of the Steel Workers of America.
During the Second World War Hall served in the U.S. Navy. He saw action in the Pacific and on his return was elected to the National Executive Board of the American Communist Party.
Hall was indicted under the Alien Registration Act in 1948. Sentenced to a five year prison term, Hall fled to Mexico and in 1950 was elected as the party's National Secretary. The following year he was arrested by the authorities and was brought back to the United States where he was sentenced to an additional three years.
On his release Hall became General Secretary of the Communist Party. He ran for president in 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1984.
Books by Hall include The Energy Rip-Off: Cause and Cure (1974), Basics for Peace, Democracy and Social Progress (1980), Fighting Racism (1985) and Working Class USA: The Power and the Movement (1987). Gus Hall remained National Chairman of the Communist Party U.S.A. until his death on October 13th, 2000.