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Pitching Politics from the Mound

by David Spaner   SAM NAHEM was a right-handed pitcher with a lefty pitch. One day in 1948, however, Sam lost control of his pitch with Roy Campanella at the plate. It was a year after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line, and Sam, with the Philadelphia Phillies, was pitching to Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodger teammate Campanella, also one of major […]

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The Short Season

HUSTLING FULL-TIME IN THE CATSKILLS by Elliot Podwill   MY PARENTS BLUNDERED badly in 1945, a year after I was born. They lived in what is today the South Bronx, and my father made the long commute to Brooklyn to work in the huge Navy Yard. The war years brought him prosperity as a welder of […]

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Harry Kelber, a Forgotten Labor Activist

by Bennett Muraskin HARRY KELBER (1914-2013) was a union organizer, journalist, publisher, educator, and dissident who capped his career by writing an autobiography, My Seventy Years as a Labor Activist. Yes, seventy years! His career included union activism and developing the first labor studies program at Cornell University, a program that eventually evolved into Empire […]

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March 17: Herbert Aptheker

Radical historian Herbert Aptheker, author of the seven-volume Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States and literary executor for W.E.B. DuBois, whose correspondence he published between 1973 and ’78, died at 87 on this date in 2003. Aptheker was a pioneering and prolific writer about black American history, including about slave revolts […]

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March 10: Lamed Shapiro’s Fiction of Violence

Yiddish writer L. Shapiro (Levi Yehoshua “Lamed” Shapiro), who wrote a series of Yiddish stories about pogrom violence that broke with traditional Yiddish satirical stories by presenting dark themes and psychological nuance, was born in the Ukraine on this date in 1878. He was brought to literary attention with the help of Y. L. Peretz, […]

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Resisting Authority

A Personal Account of the Milgram Obedience Experiments by Joe Dimow WHEN IS IT PROPER to refuse to obey authority figures, even if they have been democratically chosen for their positions? In 1961, I participated in a famous experimental study about obedience and authority — although I and other participants were led to believe it […]

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May 23: Trying to Liberalize the Communist Party

John Gates (Solomon Regenstreif), a Communist journalist and activist who led an unsuccessful attempt to liberalize the American Communist Party (CPUSA) after Nikita Khrushchev took power and denounced Stalinism, died at 78 on this date in 1992. Gates was the son of candy-store owners in the Bronx and was employed by the WPA during the […]

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April 26: Albert Maltz

Novelist and screenwriter Albert Maltz, who won two Oscars as well as the O. Henry Memorial Award before being blacklisted and imprisoned as one of the Hollywood Ten, died on this date in 1985 at the age of 76. Maltz’s 1944 novel, The Cross and the Arrow, chronicled German resistance to Nazism (and was distributed to […]

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