Tuesday, February 24, 1953
TESTIMONY OF GEORGE A.
TIMONE, CHAIRMAN, LAW COMMITTEE, BOARD OF EDUCATION,
NEW YORK CITY
TESTIMONY OF MURRAY YOUNG,
BROOKLYN, N. Y., ACCOMPANIED BY JOSEPH FONER, ESQ.,
WASHINGTON, D. C.
The CHAIRMAN. You may be seated. You are
represented by counsel, Mr. Foner, for the record?
Mr. YOUNG. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. State your name to the committee.
Mr. YOUNG. Murray Young.
The CHAIRMAN. Where do you live, Mr. Young?
Mr. YOUNG. 27 Grace Court, Brooklyn, N. Y.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your business?
Mr. YOUNG. I am an instructor at Brooklyn
The CHAIRMAN. Brooklyn College, New York?
Mr. YOUNG. That is right. I teach English.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.
Mr. YOUNG. I would like very much to make a
statement, if I could.
The CHAIRMAN. You can submit the statement
here to counsel and we will see whether it is proper to go into the
record. Although we have a 24-hour rule, we will be glad to receive
Mr. MORRIS. What is your salary now, Mr. Young?
Mr. YOUNG. Well, it is something around
$6,000. I am not quite sure of the exact figure.
Mr. MORRIS. What work do you do on the
faculty, Mr. Young?
Mr. YOUNG. I am a teacher.
Mr. MORRIS. What else do you do? Have you any
other assignments on the faculty? Are you adviser to any student
Mr. YOUNG. At present I am not.
Mr. MORRIS. Have you been in the past?
Mr. YOUNG. Yes.
Mr. MORRIS. Will you tell us what that was?
Mr. YOUNG. For many years I was adviser to the
Observer, which was at that time, it is no longer in existence, the
student literary paper. I was adviser to the English Club. Those are
the two things I can think of at the moment.
Mr. MORRIS. Have you held any other such
positions on the faculty of the college?
Mr. YOUNG. You mean in an advisory capacity?
Mr. MORRIS. That is right.
Mr. YOUNG. I can't recall any at the moment. I
may—I can't recall any at the moment. I may very well have had some
other such posts.
Mr. MORRIS. Are you now a member of the
Communist Party, Mr. Young?
Mr. YOUNG. I shall have to refuse that
question because I would—I would like to explain why. In contrast to
the first witness you had here, Mr. Withers, I don't feel, as Mr.
Withers does, that this committee is a great honor at the present time.
As a matter of fact, I feel I am somewhat at an inquisition.
Mr. MORRIS. You feel this committee has no
right to ask you whether or not you are presently a member of the
Communist Party, is that right, Mr. Young?
Mr. YOUNG. No. May I tell this statement? I
feel I have been brought before this committee.
Senator SMITH. Just a moment.
Let him answer the question asked him.
The CHAIRMAN. You may answer the question, Mr.
Young. You are here and you have counsel. Your rights will be respected
before ths committee. You are not here before an inquisition board. You
can either answer the question or you can't.
Mr. YOUNG. I feel that it is inquisitional,
that your purpose is to go into the sacred realm of my private opinion
and for this reason and for my rights under the provisions of the fifth
amendment, I refuse to answer these questions.
The CHAIRMAN. This committee will recognize
your rights under the fifth amendment and you do not have to answer if
you assert those rights. Do you mean by that the testimony that you
might give -might tend to incriminate you?
Mr. YOUNG. I don't know—at this present time
under these circumstances I have no way of knowing.
The CHAIRMAN. You have counsel. In other
words, your refusal to answer under the fifth amendment, what are your
reasons for refusing to answer under the fifth amendment? You have
counsel. You know your rights.
Mr. YOUNG. May I consult?
The CHAIRMAN. You may.
(The witness conferred with his counsel.)
Mr. YOUNG. It grows out of the fifth amendment
itself. I don't want to give testimony against myself.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not want to give
testimony against yourself ?
Mr. YOUNG. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. We will recognize that. That is
a valid excuse. Therefore, you are not before a board of inquisition,
you are before a board legally constituted by the law of the United
States Senate. We are here to perform a duty.
Senator JOHNSTON. So it is your opinion, if
you were asked if you were a Communist, that if you would answer that
question by saying "No," that that might incriminate you?
Mr. YOUNG. For the reasons previously given, I
ask the privilege of the fifth amendment not to give testimony against
Mr. MORRIS. Mr. Young, have you ever attended
secret meetings of the Communist Party?
Mr. YOUNG. For the reasons given and the
privileges under the fifth amendment, I decline to answer the question.
Mr. MORRIS. Have you ever attended secret
meetings of the Communist Party in conjunction with or in company with
members of the faculty of your college?
Mr. YOUNG. For the reasons given and for my
rights under the fifth amendment, I refuse to answer the question.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Young, do you have any
objections to your photograph being taken at this time? If you do, it
will not be taken.
Mr. YOUNG. Certainly not.
The CHAIRMAN. You can proceed with the
pictures and then we will proceed with our questions.
Mr. MORRIS. Mr. Young, are you aware of the
fact that you were identified during the New York State legislative
committee in 1941 as a member of the Communist Party by a professor on
the staff of your university?
Mr. YOUNG. That information appeared in the
Mr. MORRIS. Were you called to testify at that
time in connection with that testimony?
Mr. YOUNG. I was called to testify in private
Mr. MORRIS. Did you deny membership in the
Communist Party on that occasion?
Mr. YOUNG. I did.
Mr. MORRIS. Were you in fact a member of the
Communist Party at that time?
Mr. YOUNG. I refuse under the rights of the
fifth amendment to answer that question.
Mr. MORRIS. Was your reason for not
testifying, for testifying in the negative at that time, advice given
to you that there was only one witness available who could testify to
the fact that you were in fact a member of the Communist Party?
Mr. YOUNG. Again .I plead my protection under
the fifth amendment.
Mr. MORRIS. While you were an adviser to the
Observer were you a member of the Communist Party?
Mr. YOUNG. Again I ask my rights under the
Mr. MORRIS. While you were acting as adviser
to the Observer, the student paper of Brooklyn College, were you
meeting secretly with members of the Communist Party ?
Mr. YOUNG. I again ask for my privilege not to
give testimony against myself under the fifth amendment.
Mr. MORRIS. Were you ever an adviser to the
Young Communist League?
Mr, YOUNG. Again I ask for my privileges under
the fifth amendment not to answer that question.
Mr. MORRIS. Did you ever meet with members of
the Young Communist League who were in fact students of Brooklyn
Mr. YOUNG. Again I ask for my privileges under
the fifth amendment not to give testimony against myself.
Mr. MORRIS. Mr. Chairman, I have no more
Senator SMITH. Do you recognize any duties
under the American Constitution as a teacher or public official?
Mr. YOUNG. I recognize my full duties, Senator.
Senator SMITH. Well, do you think that your
duties are being fulfilled when you refuse to give to this committee
information that you apparently have as to your own situation when that
might help this committee and help the Congress to ferret out the
Communist plan to dominate the education process in America?
Mr. YOUNG. I think that the effect of this
committee is to destroy the academic freedom.
Senator SMITH. I did not ask you that. I asked
you whether or not you thought it was your duty under the Constitution
to give the information that we ask for.
Mr. YOUNG. I think it is my duty as a citizen
to support and protect freedom of thought and speech in this country.
Senator SMITH. Do you think it would hurt
freedom of thought and speech for you to tell us the truth as to
whether or not you have been or are a member of the Communist Party and
whether or not you have been meeting or have met with Communists?
Mr. YOUNG. I think to cooperate with this
committee and the end of this committee, it seems to me is a real
danger to freedom of thought and expression in this country and I do
not want to be a party to weakening this great tradition.
Senator SMITH. YOU follow the Communist line
immediately, then, when you go before a board or committee or court to
start a campaign of abuse against the committee, the courts, as was
done in the Communist trial before Judge Medina, as was done in the
treason trial before Judge Kaufman, and cases of that sort. You
consider that to be your duty; is that right ?
Mr. YOUNG. You asked for my opinion and I gave
it. Surely that is one of my privileges, to give my opinion.
Senator JOHNSTON. Is it your opinion that you
should be allowed to practice here as a teacher the communistic program?
Mr. YOUNG. I am afraid I don't understand that
Senator JOHNSTON. Do you think that you should
be allowed to teach in a school, then, the communistic views?
Mr. YOUNG. I am an English teacher. I teach
subjects that are set for me and the courses that are set for me.
Senator JOHNSTON. You come in contact with the
students, do you not?
Mr. YOUNG. I would have to as a teacher. It
would be difficult to teach without doing that.
Senator JOHNSTON. And doing that, you have
them looking up to you in a way, do they not?
Mr. YOUNG. Insofar as I am a good teacher, I
certainly hope they look up and respect me.
Senator JOHNSTON. And you would have a large
influence over them, would you not?
Mr. YOUNG. Well, I–
Senator JOHNSTON. Go ahead.
Mr. YOUNG. I am afraid I cannot say. I suppose
every teacher hopes that by helping students to understand something
about the nature of the world, something about the great literature of
the past, that he does influence you. That is why you are hired; that
is why you are kept on in a position.
Senator JOHNSTON. And, if you had communistic
views as a teacher, isn't it true that you would wield a great
influence over that student?
Mr. YOUNG. I am afraid I can't answer that
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you this question,
Do you think it is proper and all right for
Communists to teach in the public schools and universities and colleges
of this country?
Mr. YOUNG. If they are competent teachers
within their field, yes.
The CHAIRMAN. The witness is excused.
Senator HENDRICKSON. One moment, please, Mr.
Young. I must assume from all your testimony, or lack of it, that you
disagree totally with Dr: Jones of Rutgers University in New Jersey on
Mr. YOUNG. I don't know who Dr. Jones is.
Senator HENDRICKSON. You never heard of Dr.
Mr. YOUNG. Perhaps I have, but I don't know
what you are referring to, what the statement of his is.
Senator HENDRICKSON. You have not read his
Mr. YOUNG. Where would I read it?
Senator HENDRICKSON. It has been in the paper.
Mr. YOUNG. Perhaps I didn't read it thoroughly
Senator HENDRICKSON. You testified about your
academic background. What degrees have you?
Mr. YOUNG. I have an A. B. and M. A.
Senator HENDRICKSON. Where did you go to
Mr. YOUNG. University of Notre Dame and
Columbia and NYU.
Senator HENDRICKSON. Before that, what was
your school training?
Mr. YOUNG. Well, I went to the regular public
Senator HENDRICKSON. You were born in the
United States, were you?
Mr. YOUNG. Yes; I was.
Mr. MORRIS. Did you ever use the Communist
Party name of West?
Mr. YOUNG. I refuse under my rights under the
fifth amendment to answer that question.
Mr. MORRIS. Were you ever known as Comrade
Mr. YOUNG. Again I plead my rights under the
Mr. MORRIS. Do you know that there has been
public testimony by Professor Grebanier to the effect that you were
known in the secret unit of Brooklyn College as Comrade West?
Mr. YOUNG. You are reading from the newspaper
Mr. MORRIS. Are you aware that he has publicly
testified to that?
Mr. YOUNG. I read the newspaper ; yes.
Mr. MORRIS. You know that he did testify to
Mr. YOUNG. Yes; he did testify to that.
Mr. MORRIS. And were you in fact ever known as
Mr. YOUNG. I refuse to answer for the same
Senator HENDRICKSON. Where were you born in
the United States and when?
Mr. YOUNG. I was born in Oklahoma, 1907.
Senator HENDRICKSON. Thank you.
Mr. MORRIS. I have no more questions.
The CHAIRMAN. The witness will be excused.
The public hearing this morning is completed.
I will ask the room now to be cleared. The committee wants to hold an
(Whereupon, at 11: 45 a. m. the committee was
recessed subject to the call of the Chair.)