Today and last Saturday, a number of Florida International University undergraduates taking my course America Sees Reds: Communism and Anti-Communism in American Film and History came to The Wolfsonian museum and library for a guided tour and lecture presentation. After honing in on a few specific museum objects in the galleries related to the subject matter, the students came down to the library to hear a talk by Brian Orfall, a graduate of the History Department’s Teaching American History Master’s Degree Program, a Miami-Dade school teacher, and co-curator of an exhibition of library materials on the Scottsboro Boys and their International Labor Defense (Communist Party) legal defense trial lawyers.


The students were also invited inside the main reading room of the library to see a display of some of the rare library materials on the American left and its critics. Our holdings include materials documenting the flowering of the I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies), the Palmer Raids and first “Red Scare” (1919-1920), the rebirth of the Communists during the decade-long crisis of confidence of the Great Depression, the Popular Front movement and its demise after the Hitler-Stalin Pact, U.S.-Soviet co-operation during WWII, through the defiance of the die-hard Communist supporters who struggle to keep alive the cause even in the hostile atmosphere of the second “Red Scare” of the cold war McCarthy era.







The students found a wealth of visual resources that they can tap for their final Powerpoint projects due at the end of the spring semester. Here is a small sampling of the kinds of materials they had the opportunity to view.


~ by "The Chief" on February 12, 2011.

One Response to “AMERICA SEES RED(S)”

  1. I love the catchy titles for the blogs! 😉 I hope to see the exhibit when I’m there for spring break. I’ve seen some of these materials in your power points and in the library- can’t wait to see them up close!

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