1930 February 22

Principal Refuses to Hire Catholic as Teacher; Faces Charges


William J. Hoffman, principal of Harriman School in Orange County, New York, faced an official investigation on this day for refusing to hire Anna Mulholland as a teacher because she was a Roman Catholic. When she applied for the position, Hoffman sent her a letter saying, “I am anxious to know whether you are Protestant or Catholic,” with the implication that if she is a Catholic she would not be hired. The ACLU brought the issue to the attention of the New York Commissioner of Education, which investigated.

In the 1920s, even in communities outside the South, the Ku Klux Klan was powerful; Catholics were often barred from teaching due to pressure by the KKK. On the anti-Catholic prejudice against Al Smith, Democratic Party candidate for president in 1928, go to April 18, 1927, and September 18, 1928.

Learn more about the KKK in the 1920s: David Chalmers, Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan, 3rd Ed (1987)

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