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Republican, one of the highest per income areas in the country. There
were two families there who were sympathetic to the strikers. One was
the Richardsons, and the other, the Turners. John Richardson, Jr., was
a very successful lawyer who was also very active in public affairs. He
was the president of Radio Free Europe. His family had adopted a
Hungarian refugee. They were a typical American family -- Bonnie, his
wife. Harold Turner was at Columbia in the library. They were close
friends, very, very devoutly religious people, and very much affected
by the civil rights movement, by King. When this thing broke out in
their community, they approached Henry Nicholas. Henry told me
about them, and I started a contact with them where we became very,
very close friends. The wives would come to the picket line every day.
They would come to the strike headquarters with food, they would
walk on the picket line. I remember telling Bonnie Richardson, “Look,
Bonnie. Please do me a favor. Don't wear your mink coat on the picket
line. It doesn't look good.”
She says, “Why? I wear it all the time.” They'd come with their
children, and their children were being harassed in the schools, nobody
would talk to them. There were threats, and rocks thrown in their
windows. They insisted they would stand pat. They would not move.
They put their own money, and every week they would run ads in the
Bronxville paper on the citizens' committee for the Lawrence strikers.
They would march on our picket line on the weekends. I got them
interviewed by Jimmy Wechsler. They were way beyond the call of
duty. I remember when it was all over, I said to John Richardson, I
said, “John, you know, why did you really do it? You know who I am.”
He said, “I knew. All the FBI files are mine, but I was not interested in
that. I was only interested in this issue.” And that was the story. So it
was a very, very unique story.
We had our salute to freedom right after the settlement of the strike,
and we honored them by giving them plaques and also a message I
arranged from King to send to them. I mounted it as a plaque for
them. Strangely enough, a few years ago, I met Gerda Lerner at a
party where Bella Abzug was at-- hosted by Amy Swerdlow, she's just
written a book, her Ph.D., she teaches at Sarah Lawrence. The
students at Sarah Lawrence marched in support of the strikers. The
students at Iona -- and a student at Iona College, at that time, was a
guy named Jerry Brown. That was his baptism into the hospital union.
But who is the professor, the teacher, at Sarah Lawrence? He's dead.
Harvey Swados, Elizabeth Swados' uncle. I remember I asked her, “Is
Harvey your --”
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