ccny rebels

CCNY bred student radicalism because of the explosive interaction between the Depression, the working class culture of the student body, the larger radical milieu of New York, and the repressive policies of an intolerant campus administration.

-Cohen, When the Old Left Was Young, 1993

The students at CCNY in the 1930s are among the poorest in the country. By 1938, 80% percent of student body is Jewish, predominantly from Eastern European immigrant families. These families, like many other working-class New Yorkers, are devastated by the Depression; students can scarcely afford books, school lunches, or subway fare. Within their communities, there is a vibrant tradition of socialist ideas and trade union activism. As Jewish students, they are particularly concerned about the growing threat of fascism and anti-Semitism abroad.

The American Student Union from CCNY marches in a May Day demonstration, May 1, 1937. The CCNY ASU played a major role in the national organization.

NYC police surveillance photo

THE ALCOVES Student radicals congregate in the alcoves-small areas on one side of the cafeteria in the basement of CCNY's Shepard Hall. They argue constantly about how to solve the problems of the world and tirelessly discuss the USSR, the world’s first socialist nation.

War "War"

peace "Peace"

the Kremlin "Kremlin"