Back in 1953, Sherman Labovitz was a world war II vet living in a modest Strawberry Mansion rowhouse with his wife and two kids, holding down a low-paying job with a small newspaper. But there was nothing typical about his job as Philadelphia circulation manager for the communist Daily Worker or his political ideas.
So when he was awakened by pounding on his front door on a muggy summer night in 1953, Labovitz told his wife, "This is it." The FBI had arrived to haul him off in handcuffs.
- came of age in the progressive political and social movement in Philadelphia, a period that included years of membership, and then leadership, in the Philadelphia section of the U.S. Communist Party
- was arrested with other communist leaders in the summer of 1953 and tried under the Smith Act of treason; he was the youngest defendant of the "Philadelphia Nine," which included among others the radical modernist poet, Walter Lowenfels
- was for many years a Professor of Social Work at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, having established the undergraduate program in social work there
- has been an active partner with the Council of Social Work Education
- has written a beautiful, moving memoir of his experiences being tried under the Smith Act and defended by unusually principled prominent Philadelphia lawyers