My Pulse News

Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Leo Yuspeh

My dearest oldest son, Leo Yuspeh died on June 25th, 2020. He had a tragic life. He was separated from me by law by the Supreme Court of the State of New York in 1957 when he was 6 years old after his father sued for custody based on my marriage to Harry Haywood, a prominent Black Communist. I was allowed to visit him only in a public place in alternate weeks for a short time and he could not enter my home. His father propagandized him against me, trying to convince him I was a wicked witch. When Leo became paranoid schizophrenic in early ado-lescence, they put him out in the street where he lived for a year with the Hell’s Angels on the Lower East Side. He came looking for me when he was almost 17 years old, strung out on several dangerous drugs, armed and delusional. I was liv-ing in Ann Arbor preparing to take my prelims for my Ph D in Latin American history. I had no classes so I stayed home all the time, watching my two younger children like a hawk, especially Rebecca who was only 5 years old. Haywood was 12 and looked out for her too. I made an appointment in Detroit for a complete psychiatric exam for Leo, but he left before the date. Thereafter he was in and out of my home for several decades. He was finally diagnosed with schizoid affective disorder. He was often dangerous, more to himself than to others because despite his illness, he was completely honest and caring and did not want to hurt anyone. He refused any kind of psychiatric help or medications because they actually did make him very sick. I always kept up with him and made sure he had a place to live and never had to live on the streets. And my two younger children suffered badly from the trauma he introduced into their lives. He lived to be 69 years old, I knew something was wrong when I didn’t hear from him for months. I called the police for a welfare check 3 times, the last time the week before he died. I am 91 years old, have been bed-ridden for years, and live in Mexico, I could not go to Mena, Arkansas to check up on him. I don’t know how he died. His body was found in his partially burned house. Leo was one of the most helpless victims of racism in the USA. Please help me mourn for him.

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Bowser Family Funeral Home of Mena, Arkansas.

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