A participatory project to collect and preserve the histories of the City University of New York

"They Put You in Jail"

This is a pamphlet from 1941 created in support of recently fired and imprisoned City College English instructor Morris Schappes. Schappes, a self-avowed communist was sentenced to prison for failing to divulge the names of his fellow party members on the faculty at CCNY.

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 for up to two years in prison. He would ultimately serve thirteen and a half months before his release. From his conviction through his imprisonment, activists protested for his release with many viewing his imprisonment as punishment for his political opinions.

Source | CCNY Archives & Special Collections
Creator | Schappes Defense Committee
Date Created | 1941
Rights | Obtain From Schappes Defense Committee
Item Type | Text (Pamphlet / Petition)
Cite This document | Schappes Defense Committee, “"They Put You in Jail",” CUNY Digital History Archive, accessed February 25, 2024,

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