To be a Good American: The New York City Teachers Union and Race During the Second World War

Clarence Taylor

in Civil Rights in New York City

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780823232895
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240876 | DOI:
To be a Good American: The New York City Teachers Union and Race During the Second World War

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The New York City Teachers Union (TU) highlighted the Quinn affair in its weekly publication, New York Teacher News, by placing the episode into a wartime context. The Quinn incident was not simply portrayed by the union as proof of a bigoted school employee who should be fired for her outlandish acts. The incident was also described as a flagrant act of disloyalty during wartime. In particular the union promoted black history and culture, and it argued that this history disproved the claim that African Americans were a detriment to the nation and had contributed little to America. The union's approach was a means not only to prove that blacks were not inferior but to show that racial discrimination hurt the country because such discrimination deprived Americans of knowledge of the rich heritage of blacks and the great contribution they made to the country. However, the union challenged many forms of racial discrimination, including anti-Semitism.

Keywords: New York City; Teachers Union; Quinn affair; racial discrimination; anti-Semitism; African Americans; black history; black culture

Chapter.  9035 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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