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Frederic Ewen was a professor of English at Brooklyn College from 1930 to 1952. In 1940, during the height of the McCarthy era, Ewen refused to testify before a New York State legislative panel on allegations of subversive activities of the city’s public schools and colleges. He said of the decision to investigate the educational system “is an attack on the things that the system stands for and has fought in the last 20 years to obtain.” Ewen was recommended for a promotion in 1942, which was declined by the president of Brooklyn College at the time. Though he was forced to retire in 1952, an annual lecture series on civil liberties and academic freedom was later established in his honor by his nephew, Herbert Kurz.
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