Previous | Next
67686970717273747576777879808182838485868788899091 of 592
So they became corroborative witnesses. Now most of the stuff was
leaked to the press. See, then later, they had an open hearing where
the testimony was given. This was confined to the city colleges only.
Then there was concern about people at the private colleges, what's
going on there. There was concern about all kind of fallouts, then you
began to talk to lawyers about what's happening here or what do you
do. And it became clear that it was not merely a hearing, that they
said that they were going to take action, and they began to call in
people individually. You were called in to -- it had to be a formal kind
of thing, in that sense, there had to be a member of the committee,
the legislative committee, had to be present, and an attorney, and the
decision was to take the Fifth Amendment.
Were you personally called?
Yes, everybody was called.
So what happened to you when you were called?
You were called, you were asked if these statements were true,
and you'd deny, you'd refuse to answer. They said, “Do you know that
if you refuse to answer this could be a question of your position at the
college?” And then the long procedure began of trials against people.
They suspended you, and then they had to have some kind of formal
proceeding. Now, what was interesting about this is that my brother
Phil was able to get statements in support of him from very
distinguished people--Allan Nevins, Nelson P. Mead, the head of the
History Department, distinguished historians, who issued statements
attesting to his scholarship, that's all, and hat he was a valuable
faculty member and a good teacher, and students did that, too. There
were student committees formed in support of teachers whom they
had, and so there was that kind of defense thing to try to support the
teachers. But you had a very strong feeling that this would not stand
up because you were up against the legislature, the press, the
administration of the college, everybody was going, you know. It
became a question of a matter of time before the thing would unload
It was at that time that Morris Schappes decided that he would be the
test case, and he admitted that he was a communist, and said that he
was the only member of the Communist Party. He was tried.
And he was convicted of perjury and he went to jail. I
remember that there was a committee formed, The Friends of the
© 2006 Columbia University
Libraries | Oral History
Research Office | Rights and
Permissions | Help