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Florence Muriel Sloat Papers: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles, 1959-1991
MSS 039  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Florence Muriel Sloat Papers: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date (inclusive): 1959-1991
    Collection number: MSS 039
    Creator: Sloat, Florence Muriel, 1906-1995
    Extent: 1 box

    1/3 linear foot
    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
    Los Angeles, CA 90044
    Abstract: Part of the larger Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles Collections, the Florence Muriel Sloat Papers contain the personal papers of Sloat, a blacklisted Los Angeles teacher, including materials relating to Sloat's suit against the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Provenance

    Florence Sloat donated the papers to the Library in the early 1990s.

    Access

    The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Florence Muriel Sloat Papers: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, California.

    Biography

    Blacklisting and the McCarthy Era

    The individual collections within the Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles Collection share a common historical framework, the Anti-Communist fervor of the Cold War Period and what is commonly referred to as the McCarthy Era. After the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in the ideological battle known as the Cold War. The identification of communists and other radicals through the use of federal and state legislative investigative committees and the punishment of those identified through firing and blacklisting comprised a successful U.S. tactic. The investigations spread from federal and other government employees to the entertainment industry, the professions, labor unions, and the private sector. The major players in these campaigns included, on the Federal level, Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In California major players included California State Assemblyman (later State Senator) Nelson S. Dilworth, and State Senators Jack B. Tenney and Hugh M. Burns. All three served on the Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities in California (1945) and first Tenney and later Burns chaired the [California] Senate Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities. Of special note are the Levering (1952) and Dilworth (1953) Acts. The Levering Act made refusal to fully cooperate with any state committee grounds for firing a teacher and the Dilworth Act gave local school boards investigating authority and also required that all teachers sign an oath denying any Communist affiliation.

    Biography

    Florence Muriel Sloat was a Los Angeles Unified School District high school teacher who was suspended for five and half years (1962-1968) under the Dilworth Act. She was active in the Los Angeles Teachers Union and the Teachers Defense Committee.
    Born in 1906 to Russian Jewish immigrant parents and raised in New York City, Sloat studied art in New York and Paris and then taught art in the New York City Schools. She had served as a test case in a New York City suit against the school board over the mistreatment of substitute teachers before arriving in Los Angeles in 1949. She taught at Ramona High School, working in a program for emotionally disturbed girls. She was twice subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and called before a Dilworth Committee in 1959. An injunction suit was filed in her name by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against HUAC preventing the release of the names of 69 subpoenaed teachers. The subpoenas were then cancelled. Three years later (1962) she was suspended from her position at Ramona High School. She again filed suit and was reinstated with back pay in 1968. A.L. Wirin, Fred Okrand, and John McTernan served as attorneys in her cases. She retired from teaching in 1972 at the age of sixty-five.
    Later in her life she was active in Women's League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and senior citizens' organizations. Sloat died in 1995.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains correspondence, legal documents, clippings, and other documents pertaining to Sloat's appearance before HUAC, suit against HUAC, suspension from teaching and suit against the Los Angeles Board of Education. The majority of the collection consists of copies of legal documents and resolutions sent by a variety of teachers' organizations, labor unions and democratic clubs. Also included is correspondence with lawyer John McTernan and the ACLU. Of special note are a series of sketches or cartoons drawn by Florence Sloat on the harassment of teachers, and an article on the McCarthy era by Sloat's niece, Elizabeth Leitman.

    Arrangement

    Files are arranged alphabetically.

    Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

    Title: Frances Robman Eisenberg: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1928-1995
    Physical Description: 4 boxes and 1 oversize box
    Title: Abraham Minkus Papers: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1945-1983
    Physical Description: 4 boxes
    Title: Thomas Fagan Collection (Interviews): Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1989-1990
    Physical Description: 3 folders, 5 audio cassettes
    Title: Greg Goldin Collection (Interviews): Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1977
    Physical Description: 1 box, 15 audio cassettes
    Title: Ellen Chase Verdries Collection (Interviews/Paper): Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1992-1996
    Physical Description: 1 (half) box
    Title: Jean Benson Wilkinson Papers: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1953-1955
    Physical Description: 1 folder
    Title: Los Angeles Teachers Union Collection,
    Date: 1933-1982
    Physical Description: 2 boxes
    Title: Dorothy Doyle Collection (Interviews): Blacklisted Teachers In Los Angeles,
    Date: 1986
    Physical Description: 1 audio tape
    Title: Clipping Collection: Blacklisted Teachers in Los Angeles,
    Date: 1967-1982
    Physical Description: 1 folder