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September 8, 1952

“God help me for what I did! There is no doubt in my mind I did a great deal of harm.” These statements punctuated the opening testimony of Dr. Bella Dodd before Michigan Senator Homer Ferguson’s Senate Internal Security subcommittee investigating communist subversion in education. A former member of the Communist party’s national executive committee and legislative representative of the Teachers Union who had recently repudiated the party and returned to the Catholic faith, Dodd told the committee that most of the Communist professors and teachers were concentrated in the New York City area and that they numbered around 1,000. Vassar, Columbia, New York University, along with Brooklyn, Queens and Hunter Colleges, were among campuses named by Dodd as institutions where at least three registered Communists taught. In Massachusetts, Smith, Wellesley, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were similarly infiltrated, she said, as were Chicago, Northwestern and Minnesota in the Midwest.

Dodd went on to describe the influence of these agents on their students and colleagues, claiming that one Communist teacher might influence 300 future teachers in a single semester. The late anthropologist and chairman of the Committee for Democracy and Freedom Franz Boaz was, Dodd said, among the well-intended dupes who had to differing degrees been manipulated by Communist subversives.

The New York Times

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