Edward Silva Teixeira, a longtime activist and leader of the Communist Party USA in New England, died in Boston on Aug. 24. He was 72.

Born to Joseph Teixeira and Dorothy Silva Salley on Feb. 28, 1932, Teixeira grew up in New Bedford, Mass. At the age of 16 he left school to work at Aervox, a manufacturer of electrical capacitors. He was fired from Aervox after he became involved in organizing a union there. He then went to work for the United Electrical Workers Union where he continued his involvement in union organizing. Blacklisted from conventional jobs because of left-wing and union activities, he left New Bedford and moved to Boston.

Arriving in Boston in the 1950s, Teixeira quickly became involved in many community struggles. Early on, he was involved in the struggle to obtain African American political representation. He was a key worker in the campaigns to elect Mel King to the Boston School Committee and John O’Bryant to the state Legislature. Although those initial campaigns were unsuccessful, later King was elected as a state representative and O’Bryant was elected to the Boston School Committee. Both served in those capacities for several years.

Teixeira was also involved in the struggles to desegregate Boston’s schools, and was involved in organizing Freedom Schools in Boston in 1964 and in Operation Exodus, a voluntary desegregation project, in 1965. Teixeira was also involved in working to maintain and increase affordable housing in the city of Boston. He was a founding member of the Frankie O’Day cooperative in Boston’s South End.

Teixeira joined the Communist Party at the age of 18. He was an active and leading member of the party and served as chair of the New England party in the 1960s and 1970s. He managed the Frederick Douglas bookstore, the first bookstore in Boston that specialized in books in African American history and culture. The bookstore also specialized in Marxist studies.

With the upsurge in the civil rights movement, Teixeira became instrumental in setting up bibliographies and providing books on African American studies for many institutions in the state, including the New Bedford Public Library and Harvard School of Public Health. In 1972 he ran for the state Legislature from Dorchester’s Ward 14 and challenged the state’s law prohibiting Communists from running for political office.

In his later years, due to illness, Teixeira decreased his community and political activities. However, he never abandoned them. From the late 1990s to his recent hospitalization he was an active member of the Boston chapter of Massachusetts Senior Action Council and worked on issues of affordable housing and health care.

Teixeira is survived by Tillyruth Teixeira, his wife of 51 years; his children Juliet, Victor and Robert Teixeira; his siblings Ralph Teixeira, Julia Taylor, Neil, Don, James Jr., Carol and Vicki Salley; 8 grandchildren and many loving nieces and nephews.

Teixeira had a love of jazz, opera and classical music and wished to see more young people studying music. The family is requesting that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to New England Conservatory Scholarship Fund, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 or to the People’s Weekly World, 235 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011.

The family is a planning a memorial service for later this year.

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