Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ROGER BALDWIN: Founder, American Civil Liberties Union

ACLU as a communist organization? Who would have guessed?

ROGER BALDWIN: Founder, American Civil Liberties Union: "Raised in the Boston suburb of Wellesley Hills, Baldwin's ancestral roots were rich and comfortable. Relatives included Mayflower Pilgrims, a general in George Washington's army, and the founder of the Boston Young Men's Christian Union. Family friends ranged from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Oliver Wendell Holmes to Booker T. Washington. Reared in a patriarchal household, Baldwin had parents who considered themselves 'agnostic Unitarians.' Inevitably, as he later noted, Baldwin attended Harvard College during the period when the Progressive movement unfolded, with its calls for righting some of the wrongs resulting from the process of rapid modernization. After completing his M.A. degree, Baldwin heeded the advice of his father's attorney and confidant, Louis D. Brandeis, to head for the Midwest to seek his fortune.In St. Louis Brandeis entered the field of social work, establishing a national reputation in the process. As the period of direct U.S. involvement in World War I approached, Baldwin ended up in New York where he became a leading figure in the American Union Against Militarism. Concerned about the plight of wartime dissidents, including the members of the Industrial Workers of the World, Baldwin eventually headed the National Civil Liberties Bureau. Determined to safeguard the political rights of the IWW members, the Wobblies, and conscientious objectors"

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