An art teacher since 1937 at DeWitt
Clinton HS, Bronx Science, and the High School of Music
and Art, Bernard Kassoy created the
political cartoons that ran regularly in the
Teachers Union newspaper, The New York Teacher News.
He was a gentle teacher to his students, but he
unflinchingly drew hard-hitting panels detailing the
hardships the TU and NYC school children faced. Despite
his incisive commentary on the political climate, he
emerged from the blacklist era untouched by the
interrogating committees to the great benefit of his
students and relief of his colleagues.
Albany in 1948, Bernie and
Honey Kassoy with Carl Schuldenfrei at TU demonstration.
A graduate of the City
College of New York, and Cooper Union
Art School -- earning both degrees simultaneously
-- Bernie became a WPA studio artist
before serving in World War II as a
photographer in the top secret First
Special Service Force. He also served as
a mapmaker at the headquarters of Lord
Mountbatten in Ceylon.
Bernies photographs of
the 1936 May Day parade are in the
permanent collections of the New York
Public Library, and the Fenimore Museum
in Cooperstown. His work also resides in
the Hudson River Museum, Bronx Museum of
the Arts, and multiple art galleries,
and a video he created is catalogued in
the Film Department of the Museum of
Bernie, and his wife,
Honey, whom he met at a Teachers Union
meeting, both appear in Joel Katzs 2002
documentary Strange Fruit
based on his friend, NYC TU member
song of the same name.
About 150 of Bernies
cartoons of social protest are in the
Theodore Kheel Labor Archives at Cornell
University and many in his collection,
originally published in Teacher News,
are now on view here below. For more information,
and also read his daughter
memorial tribute to her father.