Teaching / Timeline /


The timeline offers a general outline of international, national, and local events that framed the historical episodes covered in this oral history website. The timeline also includes historical characters and occurences to which the interviewees referred. For example, several interviewees talked about supporting New York City Congressman Vito Marcantonio in the 1930s and 1940s.


- The Intercollegiate Socialist Society, America's first national student political organization, is established.


- The Young People's Socialist League, the youth organization of the Socialist Party, is created.


- New York City students are sent upstate on farm labor projects while the US is engaged in the First World War.


- Immigration to the US from Southern and Eastern Europe is restricted by the Johnson-Reed Act.


- The stock market crashes, bringing on the Great Depression.


- Brooklyn College established by the New York City Board of Higher Education. The college's first entering class matriculates in September.


- Student protests sweep through New York City colleges, beginning at the City College of New York.


- Norman Thomas, Socialist Party candidate for president of the United States, receives strongest showing of all his unsuccessful election campaigns, which spanned 1928-1948.

- Vito Marcantonio is elected to the US Congress, representing a predominantly Italian immigrant district in New York City. In subsequent elections, through the end of the 1940s, he wins Puerto Rican and African American votes for his staunch support of the New Deal, civil rights, and Puerto Rican independence.

- Ties formed in the 1931 student protests lead to the formation of the predominantly communist National Student League.


- Franklin Roosevelt takes office as president of the United States. The Civilian Conservation Corps and Civil Works Administration, enacted as part of Roosevelt's New Deal, employ millions of Americans in public works projects.


- The National Youth Administration and Works Progress Administration expand federal involvement in jobs creation.

- The National Student League merges with the Student League for Industrial Democracy, successor to the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, to form the American Student Union.


- The Spanish Civil War is sparked by Generalissimo Franco, with the support of fascist regimes in Germany and Italy. Over 3,000 American activists and intellectuals, dismayed by the U.S. government's nonintervention policy, form the American Lincoln Brigade and join other international volunteers to fight on the side of the Spanish Loyalists.


- Brooklyn College moves to its permanent campus.


- The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) is established to investigate alleged fascist and communist subversion in labor unions and New Deal agencies.

- Fair Labor Standards Act establishes first federal minimum wage.


- The Second World War begins in Europe after Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union sign mutual non-aggression pact.

- Harry Gideonse takes office as president of Brooklyn College.


- The Rapp-Coudert Committee of the New York State legislature focuses on purging alleged communists from municipal colleges like City College of New York and Brooklyn College.

- The American Student Union collapses, split by disagreements between communists and non-communists over Soviet policies.

- The first peacetime draft in US history is implemented.


- Germany attacks Soviet Union.

- The US enters the Second World War after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.


- War rationing begins.

- The Brooklyn College Farm Labor Project is established.


- The Young Communist League, youth wing of the Communist Party, is dissolved and re-formed as American Youth for Democracy.

- Brooklyn College's second summer-long Farm Labor Project draws approximately 150 student participants.


- Allied forces attack Nazi-occupied France in D-Day invasion.

- The Servicemen's Readjustment Act, popularly known as the GI Bill, provides educational and economic assistance to returning veterans.

- The final Brooklyn College Farm Labor Project is held.


- Franklin Roosevelt dies, and Harry Truman, his fourth-term Vice President, succeeds to the presidency.

- The Second World War ends.

- The United Nations, created by World War Two's victors - the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain - convenes for the first time.


- The Marshall Plan - the European Recovery Program - provides large-scale economic and military aid to European countries devastated by the war.

- Executive Order 9835 creates loyalty-security program for federal employees.

- HUAC begins to investigate Hollywood for communist infiltration.

- The term "Cold War" is coined to describe the US-Soviet relationship.


- Henry Wallace, vice president during FDR's third term, runs for president as head of the new Progressive Party. The American Labor Party gives the unsuccessful presidential candidate over half the votes he receives nationwide.

- Harry Truman wins reelection.


- The Brooklyn College Karl Marx Society and three BC students are suspended for holding unauthorized off-campus meetings.

- The Labor Youth League is established by the Communist Party as the successor to American Youth for Democracy, Many LYL activists are veterans of the previous year's Wallace campaign.

- The New York State legislature passes the anti-Communist Feinberg Law later used to fire eight New York City public school teachers.


- The Brooklyn College Vanguard is suspended, then eliminated.


- Senator Joseph McCarthy presents list of alleged Communists in government.

- Korean War begins.


- Brooklyn College Professor Harry Slochower and three other New York City college teachers, take the Fifth Amendment before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. Slochower is suspended by College President Gideonse.


- Another ten New York City college professors are dismissed after hearings before congressional committees.

- Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed.

- The Korean War ends.


- In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court outlaws segregated schools.

- The United States Senate censures McCarthy for unbecoming conduct.


- Harry Gideonse retires as Brooklyn College president, after 27 years in the position.


- New York City's Board of Higher Education reinstates blacklisted professors.