Pete was especially comfortable in Brooklyn because Dorothy was with him. They were married in May, 1937 at the Municipal Building in Manhattan, right opposite City Hall which Pete was to enter triumphantly as New York's first elected Communist Party councilman fifty-five months later. Of Dorothy, Mike Gold wrote in a magazine article:
Dorothy Rosenfeld...was the girl who for years had done volunteer secretarial work at the veterans' organization, slaving late into the night after long days at her paid job in a business office. Dorothy had been an ardent Zionist and pacifist. But she had seen her parents and sisters waste and die in the sweatshops and tenements. The depression had changed her as much as it had Pete. Their common beliefs and activities brought them together. ( Masses and Mainstream, November, 1950.)
Pete took to Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Communists took to Pete. They warmed to his shrewd homely speeches, his devotion to facts, his evident concern for issues and love of people. They showed him Brooklyn: its slums, tens of square miles of them; its dilapidated schools and understaffed hospitals; slippery, racketeer-controlled docks and huge steam laundries where Black women toiled for seven dollars a week amidst suffocating heat. Nor did they fail to acquaint him with the strike-breaking district attorney's office and the corrupt political machine which protected gangsters and grafters.
Pete absorbed it all and was speedily named chairman of the Brooklyn Party organization. But he promptly made it plain that he was not cut out to be a headquarters commander. He must be out with the people. And so the work was divided. Pete was the guy who stormed into relief bureaus, led picket lines and headed delegations to Borough Hall, City Hall and the State Capitol in Albany. He left the detailed organizational work to others, to colleagues who understood that Pete could lead best when he was involved in direct contact with people in struggle.
Working that way, it was not long before Pete became widely known in Brooklyn. He became the symbol of a fighting party. Further, he began to attract support from many working people who did not share his ideology, but recognized his integrity in battling for the daily issues that concerned them.
Thus, it was natural that the Brooklyn Communists in 1937 urged Pete to be their councilmanic candidate in the upcoming election, the first to be held under the new system of proportional representation, or PR, as it was popularly known. For Pete this came as no shock. He had watched political developments closely and the thought of a councilmanic candi-