"Reinstate Schappes" Rally
At a March 1941 hearing before the Rapp-Coudert Committee, a New York State organized communist-hunt group, Schappes freely admitted his communist ties. When state officials demanded he name other party members at CCNY, Schappes claimed there were only ever four others: three of whom had been killed in the Spanish Civil War and another that had already left the school. Testimony from a friendly, ex-communist witness contradicted Schappes' claims and so the English instructor was tried for perjury, convicted and sentenced to up to two years in prison. He would ultimately serve thirteen and a half months before his release. Following his conviction, activists protested for his release with many viewing his imprisonment as punishment for his political opinions.
This was not the first time that CCNY students rallied in support of Schappes. In 1936, after the English department attempted to fire him for his political leanings, student protests forced school officials to reverse their decision.