— People who wanted to go to law school were scared. At that point I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't think that way, though. I really didn't think that way. And part of that was my brother, the older brother model of, “You don't worry about that. You act bravely and you take the consequences.”
— When I graduated law school in '54 and went up to the Character and Fitness Committee I had to reveal on the forms that I'd been on probation and also that I had been dubbed the first bad campus citizen, I was stripped of my ability to be in Who's Who In American Colleges and Universities, and I can't remember what else. Anyway, I did reveal all that on the character and fitness form. But they told me, when I went for my interview, that whatever had been on my college record must have been expunged 'cause there was nothing there at the time. So maybe Gideonse thought better of continuing to make an issue of this.
— Only two law schools in the New York area appealed to me. One was NYU and one was Columbia. And they both admitted students without college degrees, and I was admitted to NYU. I was surprised at not being admitted to Columbia, and a friend of mine who worked in the office checked and told me that on the transcript that they sent to Columbia they recommended that they not admit me because I was a troublemaker. And why they didn't do it with NYU I don't know. I'm very grateful.
— I think the experience was something that was character-molding, that sort of encouraged me to do whatever I thought was right from then on out and to maybe help pursue the independent course that I have over the years.
— As I said it was totally determinative, a forming approach to my whole life. It made me aware of the corruption that exists and that it had to be fought and that I would fight it, no matter at what cost. And I did. And it cost. For many years at Fresno State I was not promoted. When my name came up the president would cross it off the promotion list. Everywhere I've been it's been the same. The administration is always bad. The FBI has always been corrupt. And I've always known that. We've always known that they were pigs.
— Eventually I majored in History and because of a particular professor I sort of majored in Far Eastern History and wanted to go that way with my post-graduate stuff. But by the time I got out the Joe McCarthy influence was very strong and it wasn't the place to go, especially since I had a little bit of a nick in my record, thanks to Vanguard. I thought, “I'm not going to get hired anywhere,” so I didn't do that. After that I went to Columbia for my Master’s and I got in okay. That didn't seem to have an effect. But some jobs I did want, and applied for, required a FBI search, whatever they call it, and I could tell by the FBI's questioning of me that the agent knew about it. Gideonse knew that these things can hurt and so he made sure that they were there. When you're suspended from school for activities with a political implication, that's tough. And in that day and age — 1951 when I got out of school, ‘52 when I left graduate school — that was the height of McCarthyism for heaven’s sake. You didn't want anything on your record. You couldn't find out — you didn't know. They wouldn't tell you. They wouldn't tell you. There was a job at the UN I thought I'd be fine for and they came and did a search and it didn't happen, and I talked to somebody at the UN and I said, "Why didn't I get it?" He said, "I have no idea." He said, "You were our leading candidate." I can't draw any conclusions from it. But, you know, you just don't want it to be there.
— I had a job at a magazine. It was 1955 maybe, and I'm using the phone and somebody called. I needed a pencil so I opened the drawer and in it was a much thumbed, soft covered book called Red Channels. Red Channels was a publication listing thousands of people who were alleged to be Communists, all of them in the arts, in the literary world, on newspapers, all those kinds of people. Visible people, celebrated people, particularly in movies, on television, radio, journalists and so on. It was a wild thing. If you were listed in Red Channels you were out of work! Right? If you were listed in Red Channels, I mean, you were fired. You see? It was a terrible time.
— When I applied for admission to the bar — you have to go through something we then called the character committee. You had to prove that you're of very good moral character and also that you're politically clean. And I had a record like this, and nobody would have bet on my getting in. And I was already making alternative career plans, all the ways you can use a law degree if you can't practice law. So the chair of the committee was the most conservative member and I was assigned to him. And all the stuff about what I had done at Brooklyn College was spelled out — I was reading upside down — in enormous detail, together with a recommendation that I was not fit for admission to the bar. Now to call that mean-spirited is to be gentle. Fortunately, he felt that there had been an absence of due process in the way I was treated, and he told me I had fallen in with a bad bunch of people and I should mend my ways and be good in the future, and that was it. But if the College had had its way I wouldn't have been attending. So the people who were fearful had good reason to be fearful.
— With Lyndon Johnson being about to name me as staff director of the Civil Rights Commission in 1965, there had to be an investigation 'cause this was a nomination that had to be approved by the Senate. I got called by the head of the Civil Service Commission, and he said, "What was this business you were involved in at Brooklyn College?" And I told him a little bit. He said, "Well, people are talking about it, so I wish you'd clear it up for me." And I gave him an account of the story and I gave him the names of some of the people and said, you know, they seem to have turned out okay and a lot of them are businesspeople and so on. But that gave me a real curiosity about what my files would look like, so in '84 I requested them. And had to go through a lot of stuff, as most people do, to get them. But, yeah, they did have a lot of interesting stuff in them. Some people are named by name. And Gideonse, I think, is identified as saying some negative things at one point. And then the one I love, though, is the person — I mean, the FBI agent says at the end, you know, "Can we use your name?" And the guy says, "I don't think so because that might prejudice my ability to do this kind of thing again." That’s what makes it interesting — they're going back to the campus fifteen years later and there are still people who say, well, I don't know whether he was a dupe, and, I thought he was young and sullen and I didn't think he had so much stubbornness in him, and so on. I mean, that there was no, “Yeah, I dimly recall this guy, and, you know, there was some dustup.” No. They had specific views that they were all too ready to share in 1965.