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The Final Victim of the BlacklistJohn Howard Lawson, Dean of the Hollywood Ten$
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Gerald Horne

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520243729

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520243729.001.0001

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(p.80) 5 Commitment
The Final Victim of the Blacklist

Gerald Horne

University of California Press

John Howard Lawson was torn apart with conflict and inner doubt, even though his life was driving inescapably to a resolution. Harold Clurman “watched with shock and anger” as Lawson was upbraided by Communists and leftists at a meeting of the radical John Reed Club. Though Clurman had become not only a staunch supporter but one of his severest critics, it was scathing criticism from another corner that pushed Lawson definitely and defiantly toward a more unbendable commitment. Organizing writers and sojourning in the South deepened his “conviction that commitment is essential to the artist's creative growth; what we call the sensibility of the artist is deadened if he does not respond generously to the human reality that surrounds him; to observe and report, to laugh or weep, are not enough.” Lawson was “fired” from MGM because of his union organizing. Still, he was “popular” as a union leader.

Keywords:   John Howard Lawson, Harold Clurman, John Reed Club, Communists, leftists, commitment, MGM, union leader

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