Faculty Book: Clarence Taylor
Reds at the Blackboard: Communism, Civil Rights, and the New York City Teachers Union
(Columbia University Press, 2010)
The New York City Teachers Union shares a deep history with the American left, having participated in some of its most explosive battles. Established in 1916, the union maintained an early, unofficial partnership with the American Communist Party, staffing key positions with members who were sympathetic to party goals. Taylor recounts this pivotal relationship and the backlash it created. Through its affiliation with the party, the union pioneered what would later become social movement unionism, solidifying ties with labor groups, civil rights organizations, and black and Latino parents. It also militantly fought to improve working conditions for teachers while championing broader social concerns. For the first time, Taylor reveals the union’s early growth and the attempts by the Board of Education to eradicate it, describing how the infamous Red Squad and other undercover agents worked with the board to bring down the union and how the union and its opponents wrestled with charges of anti-Semitism. Clarence Taylor (Prof., Baruch) is on the doctoral faculty in history.
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Submitted on: APR 1, 2010