Orson Welles forms group to aid Bridges (4-29-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (April 29, 1941)


Music critic, professor help founding

New York, April 29 (UP) –
Denouncing the Harry Bridges deportation hearing as “an attack on all organized labor,” Orson Welles and two associates today announced the formation of a “citizens committee” to aid the West Coast union leader.

John Henry Hammond Jr., New York music critic, Prof. F. O. Matthiessen, professor of English at Harvard University, and the actor-playwright said that more than 65 persons prominent in education, journalism, literature, and the arts had joined the committee as sponsors.

In their invitation to sponsors, the three founders of the committee said:

Mr. Bridges is now on trial in a second deportation hearing, the only man in the United States ever to be tried twice in this manner. On the pretext of a new law passed after an exhaustive hearing and acquittal by Dean James M. Landis, he is being tried anew on essentially the same charges…

We join in an attempt to inform public opinion as to the realities behind Mr. Bridges’ second trial, which we consider an attack on all organized labor, on the rights of minorities and a focal point of the entire current attack on civil liberties.

The sponsors signed a statement which read:

I believe Harry Bridges earned the right to remain in this country after he successfully defended that right in exhaustive hearings in 1939, when Dean James M. Landis found that he was not a dangerous alien.

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