• Inside the Occupation of Columbia’s Hamilton Hall, 1968 Version

    From Charles Kaiser’s “1968 in America”

    Columbia has always had to compete with Manhattan for the loyalty of its students. Its full name is Columbia University in the City of New York, and the experience of living in America’s most cosmopolitan city frequently affects its students more deeply than anything that happens inside the classroom. The intensity of New York makes it easy for an undergraduate to decide that the concerns of the larger world are more important than the preoccupations of his professors—especially in a year like 1968.

    Though unable to overshadow the surrounding metropolis, Columbia often behaved arrogantly toward the adjacent community. In the years before 1968, it had bought more than a hundred nearby buildings, infuriating its poorer neighbors by evicting thousands of Black and Puerto Rican tenants to accommodate the needs of a steadily expanding institution. (The unofficial fight song of Columbia students is “Who Owns New York?” to which the chorused answer is “We own New York!”) In a stark geographical representation of the way it is perceived by its enemies, Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus peers down at the Harlem community that borders the university on two sides.

    Morningside Park acted as the local equivalent of a demilitarized zone between the venerable college (founded in 1754) and the poor Black neighborhood beneath it. This neglected thirty-acre plot in the shape of a boot stretches from 110th to 123rd streets, just east of the campus. In the fifties Columbia decided that Morningside Park would be the ideal location for a new gymnasium. If the city and state approved, it would mean a new building could be erected without displacing any more local residents.

    Lengthy negotiations began in 1959. Using public parkland for a private purpose required a new state law. In a gesture to the community, Columbia agreed to include some neighborhood facilities, but it planned to spend $8.4 million on its own gym, five times as much as the cost of the building designed for Harlem’s needs. Worst of all was the symbolism of the architecture: In the final plan, the entrance for Columbia students would be at the top of the steeply sloping site, the one for Harlem at the bottom.

    Despite these inequalities, in the early sixties Columbia’s plan was widely portrayed as a magnanimous gesture. But anything perceived by the community as paternalism rapidly fell out of fashion in the era of Black Power. In 1967 the university rejected a suggestion that it share the facility equally with the community; instead, to try to silence the opposition, it added a swimming pool for local residents. It wasn’t enough.

    It was easy for the establishment press to dismiss the student strike as the result of a combination of spring-induced self-indulgence, the dread of exams, and a selfish opposition to the war.

    When ground was broken without announcement in February 1968, the gym gave years of accumulated anger a concrete focus. Harlem activists dubbed it “Gym Crow” and demanded that construction be halted. Columbia administrators tried to ignore this new wave of criticism.

    On the campus itself, the gym had been slow to emerge as a major issue. As late as March 6, the undergraduate newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, endorsed its construction. During the months before the April uprising, Columbia SDS had concentrated its energies on protests against on-campus recruitment efforts by the CIA and Dow Chemical, which manufactured napalm for use in Vietnam.

    Its other concerns included opposition to a university ban on indoor demonstrations and a demand that Columbia end its affiliation with the Institute for Defense Analyses. IDA conducted weapons research and studied “technical problems of counter-insurgency warfare.” Further, Columbia president Grayson Kirk was one of IDA’s trustees. This connection made it possible for many antiwar activists to transfer their hostility toward the war to their university.

    Before April, the Students’ Afro-American Society had been, like SDS, uninvolved with the issue of the gym. George Scurlock, who was president of SAS until March 1968, did not remember anyone discussing it with him while he led the organization. Actually, before 1968, there hadn’t been anything radical about SAS at all. Since its founding in 1964, it had functioned primarily as a book study group. “We would read things like Invisible Man and discuss its implications for Black students on an Ivy League campus,” Scurlock remembered. SAS also published a scholarly journal, but until 1968 it emphasized thought over action.

    Much more comfortable in the company of corporate executives than he was with undergraduates, Grayson Kirk was completely out of touch with the rapidly changing concerns of his students.

    It was the selection of Cicero Wilson as the new SAS president in the spring of 1968 that changed its focus, quickly bringing it into step with the more radical stance of community activists. Wilson was a native of the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, “the first true guy out of the community,” as Scurlock described him. “He felt the need to do something demonstrably different from the middle-class ‘bougie’ guys who ran it before him—which was one reason he was willing to play with SDS.” An SDS leader remembered Wilson as a “tough, city Black kid. He really was crucial, for while he was not flamboyant, he exerted a kind of moral force on the other guys. He wasn’t a ‘Negro’; he was the equivalent of Malcolm X.”

    The other vital student actor in the events of April was Mark Rudd, the twenty-year-old chairman of the Columbia chapter of SDS. The grandson of immigrants, Rudd had grown up in Maplewood, New Jersey. He had been a Boy Scout and a ham-radio enthusiast, and his father recalled that young Mark “could be very impressed by different people he met, particularly those with some position of authority.” Rudd defined the difference between himself and “liberals” this way: “They can rationalize anything. There will always be slums, they say, there will always be wars. A radical doesn’t accept that.”

    He was good with a crowd, excellent on camera, and, like many of the students whom he led, he was attracted to other radicals because “there was a sense of motion and excitement about them.” Earlier that spring, he had cut classes to take a three-week tour of Cuba. Columbia vice-president David Truman called him “totally unscrupulous and morally very dangerous. No one has ever made him or his friends look over the abyss. It makes me uncomfortable to sit in the same room with him.”

    When the New York City director of the Selective Service System came on campus to answer questions about new draft regulations, some SDS members wanted to interrogate the bureaucrat about the “illegitimacy” of the draft; but Rudd was quick to see the virtue of a more flamboyant tactic: While a group of students created a diversion in the back of the room, another demonstrator pushed a lemon-meringue pie in the federal official’s face.

    One week later Rudd was at the head of what rapidly became known as the “action faction” of SDS. Hoping to provoke a confrontation with university administrators, this group decided to violate a recently enacted ban on indoor demonstrations. Rudd led a crowd into the university’s administrative offices in Low Library and sought a meeting with Columbia’s president to protest Columbia’s membership in IDA. The student radical explained, “Confrontation politics puts the enemy up against the wall and forces him to define himself. He has to make a choice. Radicalization of the individual means that he must commit himself to the struggle to change society as well as share the radical view of what is wrong with society.”

    “What would you do if somebody came and took your property? Would you sit still? No.”

    President Grayson Kirk was the perfect opponent for students bent on provoking a confrontation. He was sixty-four in 1968, and, as he himself observed, the gap between the generations had never been wider. Much more comfortable in the company of corporate executives than he was with undergraduates, Kirk was completely out of touch with the rapidly changing concerns of his students. “He hasn’t spoken to anyone under thirty since he was under thirty,” said playwright Eric Bentley. Kirk’s anointed successor, Vice-President David Truman, was already waiting in the wings. At a memorial service for Martin Luther King, Jr., Kirk wouldn’t even link arms during the singing of “We Shall Overcome.”

    Students and faculty alike were routinely told by administrators that issues like the gym and IDA were none of their business. Government professor Herbert Deane echoed the view that prevailed among most administrators (and inadvertently provided the title for James Kunen’s memoirs) when he stated, “Whether students vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a given issue means as much to me as if they were to tell me they like strawberries.” The radicals believed they had a moral obligation to alter these attitudes. If the university wasn’t ready to change, they would change the university.


    The Columbia sundial sits at the center of the southern portion of its elegant McKim, Mead & White campus. Anyone standing here commands a panoramic view, reaching north to the central administration’s offices in Low Library and south to Butler Library at the bottom of the quadrangle. Less than a hundred yards to the east sits Hamilton Hall, the main building of Columbia College. Five undergraduate dormitories lie within earshot of anyone using a bullhorn.

    On Tuesday, April 23, four hundred students had gathered to hear an assortment of SDS and SAS speakers talk about the war, the gymnasium, and university discipline. Another three hundred counterdemonstrators held signs reading ORDER IS PEACE and SEND RUDD BACK TO CUBA, while a few hundred others with no certain political affiliation mingled among them. SAS president Cicero Wilson was one of the first to climb on top of the sundial.

    “Do you think this white citadel of hypocrisy will be bypassed if an insurrection occurs this summer?”

    “This is Harlem Heights, not Morningside Heights,” he declared. “What would you do if somebody came and took your property? Would you sit still? No. You’d use every means possible to get your property back—and this is exactly what the Black people are engaged in right now.”

    Then Wilson gave voice to the worst fears of the administration: the possibility that Black radicals from Harlem would join forces with Black students at Columbia and burn the university to the ground. “You people had better realize that you condone Grayson Kirk with his roughriding over the Black community. But do you realize that when you come back, there may not be a Columbia University? Do you think this white citadel of hypocrisy will be bypassed if an insurrection occurs this summer?”

    While the rally continued, David Truman, Kirk’s second-in-command, tried to head off the protesters’ announced plan to carry the demonstration inside Low. He offered to speak with them instead in McMillin Auditorium, one of the largest indoor meeting places on campus. “But if we go to McMillin,” Rudd told the crowd, “we will just talk and go through a lot of bullshit.” Before Rudd could finish, a young radical in front of him shouted out, “Did we come here to talk or did we come here to go to Low?” and much of the crowd took off after him.

    After an abortive effort to break through the locked doors of Low, Cicero Wilson led several hundred students away to the site of the gymnasium. There they tore down part of the fence surrounding the construction site. Several scuffles broke out with policemen, and one white student was arrested. As the demonstration broke up and stragglers marched back toward the campus, at the edge of the park they encountered another group of supporters coming toward them from the opposite direction. Then they regrouped at the sundial. Rudd shouted, “Hamilton Hall is right over there. Let’s go!” And they did. By 2 P.M., the occupation of Columbia University had begun.

    Administrators saw themselves as victims of a carefully planned strategy to disrupt the university. A written proposal that circulated within SDS earlier that spring did recommend the occupation of campus buildings, and the radical group was unquestionably eager to provoke some kind of confrontation. But participants insisted that the seizure of a building on this particular day was quite accidental.

    “The serendipity of it all has always been phenomenal to me,” said George Scurlock. “Because the whole damn thing was such happenstance: someone said, ‘Let’s go over to the park’; then someone said, ‘Let’s go to Hamilton.’ There was just this mass of people on Morningside Drive literally milling around in the street with nowhere to go, and someone said, ‘Wow, a group—we need to do something!’” An official fact-finding commission agreed with this conclusion.

    Henry Coleman, the acting dean of Columbia College, returned to his office shortly after the demonstrators had entered Hamilton Hall; then he became their hostage. The protesters drew up a list of demands, including Columbia’s disaffiliation from IDA, the end of construction of the gymnasium, and amnesty for themselves.

    The lobby of Hamilton Hall was decorated with posters of Lenin, Che Guevara, and Malcolm X.

    White radicals said later that they had stayed in Hamilton until the Black students asked them to leave. According to Rudd, the Black protesters decided they wanted to hold the building alone. Black community activists had joined the students during the night, and there were rumors that they had brought guns. Some Black students have a different recollection: They say they were eager to keep the whites inside as a buffer against a possible police action. George Scurlock said the whites left only because they would not endorse the Blacks’ decision to lock the doors to prevent students from attending classes in the morning. In any event, the very brief experiment in Black and white unity ended by dawn.

    All of the whites were gone by 6 A.M. Some of them broke into Low Library; there they occupied the president’s office. The police were summoned immediately, and many of the whites fled Low when a bust seemed imminent. But the administration was thwarted when the police refused to evict the remaining whites unless they could simultaneously arrest the Blacks inside Hamilton Hall. The university was eager to go after the whites, but scared of any confrontation with the Blacks. The police explained that if the university filed a complaint for trespass, the City of New York could hardly discriminate on the basis of race.

    Dean Coleman was released after twenty-six hours when his captors were warned by city mediators that they might be charged with kidnapping. After that, the positions of students and administrators steadily hardened. The administration rejected any suggestion of amnesty, insisting that Columbia had to set an example of firmness for other universities around the country. Radicals derided this as Kirk’s “Allen Dulles” position; then they widened their protest. Within four days, five Columbia buildings were occupied by protesters.

    Inside the president’s office, the temporary tenants placed a marker reading, OURS, on Kirk’s scale model of the campus each time a new building was taken. As moderate students threatened to evict the protesters if the university took no action, the faculty lobbied against the idea of police intervention, fearing a bloody denouement. Only the radicals were exhilarated.

    “It was thrilling,” said Lewis Cole, twenty-one at the time of the strike, who was an SDS leader and advisor to Rudd. He remembered the first night of the protest this way: “It was a night on which you really felt like you were growing up. Everything was so intensely concentrated and so extremely focused. It was like a love affair and a great intellectual insight happening at the same time. You’ve got to be some kind of Puritan to insist that this springtime of one’s exercise of power was not absolutely thrilling for a bunch of twenty-year-olds.”

    Within the occupied buildings, many students were getting their first taste of communal life. The lobby of Hamilton Hall was decorated with posters of Lenin, Che Guevara, and Malcolm X. Inside Mathematics Hall, commune leaders complained that as much money was being spent on cigarettes as food (marijuana and liquor were banned by majority vote). The student radio station, WKCR, announced a clergyman was needed to perform a marriage in Fayerweather, another “liberated” building.

    Conservative students were particularly appalled by the coercive nature of the protest, which prevented so many from getting the expensive education that their parents had worked so hard to pay for.

    William Starr, a Protestant chaplain affiliated with the university, responded to the call. The groom was dressed in love beads and a Nehru jacket; the bride wore a white turtleneck sweater and carried a bouquet of daisies. The Reverend Starr conducted what he dubbed a “wed-in” and pronounced the bridal couple “children of the new age.” The newlyweds called themselves “Mr. and Mrs. Fayerweather.”

    Those in the buildings communicated with one another by telephone and walkie-talkie. Everywhere, stashes of green soap were preserved, to slick the stairways when the protesters decided an invasion by the police might be imminent. A demonstrator in Low suggested it might hamper the police if they undressed as the cops arrived; when a majority approved his proposal, he urged that rehearsals begin immediately.

    The image reproduced almost everywhere was the picture of a protester sitting at Kirk’s desk, scowling through his sunglasses and puffing on one of the president’s White Owl cigars. To liberals and conservatives alike, this was the enduring symbol of radical youth run amok in America in 1968.

    On campus, three groups were disgusted by this violation of private property in general and their beloved university in particular. These were conservative students who styled themselves the “Majority Coalition,” the administration, and a large part of the faculty. They were particularly appalled by the coercive nature of the protest, which prevented so many from getting the expensive education that their parents had worked so hard to pay for.

    The playfulness of the communes tended to obscure the substance of the protest. It was easy for the establishment press to dismiss the student strike as the result of a combination of spring-induced self-indulgence, the dread of exams, and a selfish opposition to the war. But black and white radicals alike had a serious message: In times of crisis, there might be some things more important than the right to go to class.

    Even if most Americans thought the war was right, it was still wrong. You did not have the right to destroy other people because you were all in agreement that they should be destroyed.

    To Black demonstrators, the interruption of classes was less serious than Columbia’s continuing encroachment on the public property of its poorer neighbors, and peaceful protests had failed to influence President Kirk. Only after the occupation of Hamilton Hall did the administration finally suspend construction inside Morningside Park. White students argued that “speech alone” was no longer enough to end the university’s coerciveness. While the protesters were certainly interfering with the rights of students to go to class, SDS argued that the real “interference” began with coercive actions by the university—actions that interfered with the lives of people in Harlem and Vietnam.

    The other radical argument was the idea that the majority view was irrelevant to one’s opposition to the war—“Because whether it was a majority or minority who wanted the war to go on, the war was wrong,” said Lewis Cole. “And even if most Americans thought it was right, it was still wrong. You did not have the right to destroy other people because you were all in agreement that they should be destroyed. That was German thinking. You didn’t have that right, and it behooved us to say this war is wrong.”

    These views, coupled with a demand for absolute amnesty for the protesters, precluded a compromise with the administration. “Amnesty,” the strikers said, “must be a precondition for negotiations. Our demand for amnesty implies a specific political point. Our actions are legitimate; it is the laws and the administration’s policies [that] are illegitimate.” Compromise was not in the interest of the radicals anyway. Only by forcing the administration to respond with violence were they likely to radicalize the liberals who had consistently rejected their tactics.

    The complete polarization of the campus was finally guaranteed six and a half days after the protest began. Shortly after 2:30, on the morning of Tuesday, April 30, one thousand New York City policemen marched onto the campus in military formation to empty all five buildings of their occupants. The administration had had enough.

    To the astonishment of SDS, the only completely peaceful action of the evening was the arrest of the Black students inside Hamilton. Despite their radical pose, the Blacks decided there was nothing to be gained from a confrontation with the police, and they had agreed in advance to refrain from violence.

    In one sense, it was this negotiation that made the evacuation of the rest of the campus possible—because it eliminated the single greatest fear of the administration, the ever-present possibility that Harlem would rise up in solidarity with the Black students if they tried to fight off the police. Under the steady gaze of dozens of neutral observers, the Blacks were led off into paddy wagons without incident.

    After Hamilton, however, there was nothing but chaos: angry, bloody chaos.

    Policemen who might have dreamed of sending their sons to such a prestigious place waded into crowds of privileged Ivy League students to create the closest thing to class warfare ever witnessed on the Columbia campus. The same scene repeated itself over and over again for nearly three hours. Long-haired students taunted helmeted policemen with verbal abuse and sometimes threw rocks, bottles, and chairs; they themselves were subdued with kicks, punches, and billy clubs.

    Shortly after 2:30, on the morning of Tuesday, April 30, one thousand New York City policemen marched onto the campus in military formation.

    Many students were clearly eager for a fight, but the police were far more experienced with violence than they were, and it showed. A Spanish instructor named Frederick Courtney was one of the innocents; as he walked off the steps of Low Library, he was set upon by plainclothesmen, knocked to the ground, and pummeled by the police. Inside Avery Hall, a New York Times reporter named Robert McG. Thomas, Jr., was asked by a deputy inspector to leave the premises. Thomas turned to comply with the request. “I wasn’t making any First Amendment effort,” he remembered.

    Then, despite a prominently displayed press card, he was attacked by the police as he tried to leave; his head wounds required twelve stitches. “It was just one of those crazy things in the mood of the moment,” the reporter said. “I was the first person they had encountered who they had to eject.” Some of the students inside Avery and Mathematics halls were dragged facedown over marble steps leading to police vans waiting on Amsterdam Avenue. In other parts of the campus, away from the occupied buildings, platoons of police assaulted students wherever they found them.

    Outside the college gates on Broadway, mounted policemen re-created scenes out of Selma as they charged anyone who looked as if he might be a demonstrator. The public got a new image of the Columbia protester: Instead of a surly-looking cigar-smoking radical, they saw a cherubic face, contorted in sorrow and covered with blood.

    “There was great violence”; that was the understated conclusion of the fact-finding commission chaired by Archibald Cox. Too few policemen were used because the administration had “grossly underestimated” the number of protesters inside the buildings. The Cox Commission said the administration had refused to acknowledge the fact that by the end of a week of protests, the sit-ins involved “a significant portion of the student body who had become disenchanted with the operation of their university.”

    The following day the New York Times gave the establishment view of the event on its front page.

    In all, there were 722 arrests, including 524 students taken from the buildings. One hundred forty-eight people were injured; among them were twenty policemen. A spokesman for the New York City police department explained the behavior of his men: For the first time ever, they were faced “with the rejection of society by people who were brought up to inherit that society; nothing in any policeman’s experience had prepared him for that.”

    The following day the New York Times gave the establishment view of the event on its front page. Its tone was predictable. The paper’s publisher, Arthur O. Sulzberger, was a Columbia graduate, and, like his father before him, he was a member of its board of trustees. The board had backed Kirk in his insistence that there could be no amnesty. The main story did mention allegations of police brutality. Yet, despite the experience of its own reporter, whose beating in Avery Hall was described in a separate story inside the paper, the lead article added, “The charges were challenged by some eyewitnesses.”

    The piece that caused the most controversy was the feature story about the riots at the bottom of the front page. It was written by A.M. Rosenthal, an assistant managing editor who while an undergraduate had begun his career at the newspaper as its part-time correspondent at the City College of New York. Rosenthal liked to boast that his first official act as metropolitan editor in 1963 had been to raise the monthly retainer of the City College correspondent to the amount received by the Columbia man.

    His story about the Columbia riot was very unusual for the Times. The managing editor was away when he wrote it, and Rosenthal had been left in charge of the newsroom. It was nearly two thousand words long, and its tone was just as emotional as the events it recounted. This was the lead: “It was 4:30 in the morning and the president of the university leaned against the wall of the room that had been his office. He passed a hand over his face. ‘My God,’ he said, ‘how could human beings do a thing like this.’” Kirk was referring to the debris inside Low Library.

    The article left no doubt that Rosenthal shared the view of the Columbia president—that the property damage committed by students was the worst crime that had occurred on the campus. Later on, affidavits from several professors indicated that much of the damage in buildings other than Low Library was probably vandalism committed by policemen, not students.

    The next day eighty young demonstrators picketed the Fifth Avenue home of the publisher. “New York Times,” they shouted, “print the truth!” The demonstration inspired something even more unusual: a statement from Sulzberger defending the Times. He insisted the paper had provided “full, accurate, and dispassionate coverage.” The following year, Sulzberger chose Rosenthal to be the top editor on the Times.

    Undergraduate academic activity at Columbia came to a halt under the pressure of a general strike, but three weeks later the university’s ability to inspire a confrontation was undiminished. Mark Rudd and four other students were ordered to appear at the college dean’s office on May 21 to enter a plea to the disciplinary charges pending against them. The students said they would refuse the summons and instead called a rally for that day.

    Many of the younger professors hated the administration just as much as the students did, and they sympathized with at least some of the demands of the strike.

    In a bizarre repetition of the earlier events, 350 students occupied Hamilton Hall. The police were called, but it was 2:30 the following morning before they arrested the protesters inside the hall. Once again, the initial arrests were peaceful, but afterward, it was a repetition of the events of April 30, only much worse. “Hell broke loose,” the Cox Commission reported. Fires were started in Fayerweather and Hamilton, including one that destroyed the research papers of a professor who had opposed the strike.

    At 4:05 A.M., Kirk panicked and ordered the police to clear the campus completely. The fighting was even fiercer than it had been on the previous occasion: In one dormitory, the police chased and clubbed students up to the fourth floor. There were 177 arrests and sixty-eight injured, including seventeen policemen.


    The university community would be traumatized for years by these events. “We have suffered a disaster whose precise dimensions it is impossible to state,” Richard Hofstadter told the graduating classes in his commencement address in June. The split in the faculty was particularly severe. Many of the younger professors hated the administration just as much as the students did, and they sympathized with at least some of the demands of the strike.

    There was a common lament within the teaching staff: “Imagine how different everything would have been if Grayson Kirk had been alive.” Even those who deplored the students’ tactics sometimes acknowledged the importance of their message. “These kids are deeply discontent with their civilization,” said Fritz Stern, a prominent member of the Columbia history department. “They don’t want to be passive, affluent citizens of Westchester owning two cars. A lot of what they say deserves the most searching attention. But the means they use could discredit their goals in the eyes of others. Sometimes they are their own worst enemies.”

    The remarkable fact was that, after the riots ended, nearly all of the strikers’ demands were met. Construction of the gymnasium never resumed in Morningside Park; the university built a different one inside the main campus several years later. Columbia’s connection to IDA was severed. The ban on indoor demonstrations was lifted. In August, Kirk resigned, and his chosen successor, David Truman, never got his job. Andrew Cordier, a former diplomat and dean of the School of International Affairs, was selected instead. Most of the charges of trespassing were dropped by the university.

    A university senate was established, forcing the administration to share power with the faculty and the student body, and Columbia College tried hard to improve the living conditions of its students. In the fall it took a dramatic step in that direction by ending all restrictions on the hours when women could visit Columbia undergraduates in their dormitories. On the football field, the Columbia marching band invented an obscene formation to celebrate this “expanding parietal.”

    Outside the campus, the massive coverage of the uprising had a very different effect. Together with the recent riots in Black neighborhoods, the Columbia disturbances gave the presidential campaign a deeply unsettling background. Once again the traditional rules of society were unraveling, and no one seemed able to reverse the pattern. To the white middle class, the Columbia uprising was even more disturbing than inner-city riots. Here there was no economic explanation for the uprising; at Columbia, the rioters were their children.


    From Charles Kaiser’s 1968 in America, available from Grove Atlantic. Featured image: the author, standing on the steps of Hamilton Hall next to Columbia President Bill McGill during a 1972 demonstration.

    Charles Kaiser
    Charles Kaiser
    Charles Kaiser, the author of 1968 in America, has been a reporter at The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. He has also written for Vanity Fair, New York, and The Washington Post. He has taught journalism at Columbia and Princeton, and is the author of The Gay Metropolis, a history of gay life in New York City since 1940, and The Cost of Courage, about one family in the French Resistance in Paris during World War II.

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