Cultural Revolutions

Ideological Ardor

Laurie A. Recht, a legal secretary in New York, received encomiums from the press and various and sundry others for endorsing the court-ordered plan for integrated housing in Yonkers last year. In fact, when Ms. Recht was the only speaker in favor of the integration proposal at an open hearing, arguing that the City Council in defying the court order "was doing something illegal, immoral, and unethical," she was informally nominated by the media as the champion of compliance and good sense in what was otherwise a vitriolic and divisive argument.

After her triumphant speech Ms. Recht claimed she was harassed by crank callers who left nasty messages on her answering machine and by someone who sprayed a swastika on the wall outside the apartment of her Yonkers residence. In addition, she claimed to have received death threats by mail after speaking in favor of the scattered-site low income housing project in the predominantly white neighborhood of East Yonkers. She described these acts against her as "cowardly" conduct "by insecure people who don't have to guts to discuss the issue or face me."

For her outspokenness and courage in the face of threats and for being "the lone voice of reason," according to a New York newspaper, Ms. Recht was granted an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the College of New Rochelle last May 29. At the commencement Sister Dorothy Ann Kelly, president...

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