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This visual tour of the TU and its members includes work about the union and work that reflects the talents of its members in different media.

Bernard Kassoy

Bernard Kassoy
Bernard Kassoy

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.

March on Albany, 1948, Bernie and Honey Kassoy with and Carl Schuldenfrei at TU demonstration
March on 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.


Bernie’s 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 Modern Art.

Bernie, and his wife, Honey, whom he met at a Teachers Union meeting, both appear in Joel Katz’s 2002 documentary Strange Fruit based on his friend, NYC TU member Abel Meeropol’s song of the same name.

About 150 of Bernie’s 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, link to: and also read his daughter Sheila’s 2008 memorial tribute to her father.

Click on a thumbnail to view the larger image below.  


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