1953 March 18

Top New York Times Editor: Ban Communists as Teachers


Speaking to an audience of school teachers, John B. Oakes, an editor with The New York Times, said that Communists should not be allowed to teach in the public schools. The teachers applauded. Oakes went even further, arguing that anyone who took the Fifth Amendment about his or her Communist Party membership before a legislative investigating committee should also not be allowed to teach. “No Communist can have an open mind,” he declared. The talk was part of the ninth annual in-service learning for public school teachers. The liberal New York Times generally opposed much of the Cold War anti-Communist hysteria, but clearly this top editor drew the line on Communists as teachers.

Learn more about the Cold War: Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (1998)

Watch a debate over academic freedom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCjuu6n6wqU

Learn more about the ACLU in the Cold War and other Times of National Crisis: https://www.aclu.org/aclu-history-rooting-out-subversives-paranoia-and-patriotism-mccarthy-era

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