Student Voices from World War II and the McCarthy Era

TitleStudent Voices from World War II and the McCarthy Era
Publication TypeWebsite
Corporate AuthorsCollege, City University, and CUNY The Center Center
Place PublishedNew York, NY

In this oral history website Brookyn College students narrate two historical episodes: their experiences of working on farms during World War II, and the events surrounding the suspension of the Vanguard, the student newspaper in a postwar McCarthy era climate. The edited testimony is accompanied by audio excerpts. These case studies add another dimension to our understanding of life on the American homefront during World War II and the domestic Cold War.

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A collaborative effort by the City University of New York's Brooklyn College, John Jay College, and the Center for Media and Learning / American Social History Project at the CUNY Graduate Center, this oral history Web site offers a case study of the impact of World War II and the domestic Cold War on student life at Brooklyn College. The site primarily focuses on oral accounts of former students who were involved in Brooklyn College's Farm Labor Project and Vanguard Controversy. The Farm Labor Project originated in 1942 and consisted of recruited Brooklyn College students who spent their summers doing farm work in upstate New York in order to help alleviate the labor shortage. The Vanguard Controversy erupted in 1950 when Brooklyn College President Harry Gideonse shut down the college's "left-leaning" student newspaper, the Vanguard, after a dispute over the paper's editorial policies. For history teachers interested in these stories, the site provides a teaching section equipped with an online syllabus, an essay on the pedagogical possibilities of the site, and a collection of links to other related sites. In addition, Internet users may view the site's photograph gallery consisting of photographs and other visual artifacts concerning the Farm Labor Project and Vanguard episode.

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