1955 October 19

Public Housing Residents Evicted for Not Signing Loyalty Oath


A New York City municipal court judge on this day ordered 15 tenants evicted from New York City Housing Authority projects because they refused to sign a loyalty oath. The oath was required by the Gwinn Amendment, passed on July 5, 1952, which required a loyalty oath of tenants in federally supported public housing. The most famous housing authority case involved James Kutcher, a legless World War II veteran and member of the Socialist Workers Party, who refused to sign a loyalty oath. Having already lost his job because of his political associations, he was living with his 73-year-old father in public housing in Newark, New Jersey. His father was faced with the choice of either evicting his son or moving out himself.

The insidious aspect of all the loyalty oaths of the Cold War era was that they had nothing to do with any specific criminal or unprofessional conduct on the part of individuals required to sign them.

Read the new book on the Kutcher Case: Robert Justin Goldstein, Discrediting the Red Scare: The Cold War Trials of James Kutcher, “The Legless Veteran” (2016)

Read: James Kutcher, The Case of the Legless Veteran (1953)

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