A community organizer and self-proclaimed social radical, he published the influential manual, Rules for Radicals, in 1971. His community activism began in Chicago in the 1930s.
He put aside racial politics to unite black and white workers during the Great Depression. His early community organization efforts took place in Chicago's Back of the Yards and Woodlawn neighborhoods.
A polarizing figure, he spent nearly forty years calling attention to and improving the lives of underprivileged and impoverished minorities.
He was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Jewish-Russian immigrants. He was married three times-- to Helene Simon, Jean Graham, and Irene McInnis Alinsky-- and had two children.
Early in Barack Obama's first presidential campaign, the soon-to-be-president's association with the radical leader, Alinsky, was mentioned.