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Eric Hallengren: Rooting Out the Communists!

Eric Hallengren was a child during the Red Scare of the 1950s. He remembers his father's depression at having his reputation destroyed. Hallengren's father and mother, Fred and Kirsten Hallengren, joined the Communist Party because the members shared their belief in workers' rights and racial equality. After an FBI informant infiltrated party meetings, Fred Hallengren was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearing in Baltimore. Fred Hallengren was fired from his airline mechanic's job after FBI agents told his employers that he "couldn't be trusted to work on airplanes that would carry U.S. citizens." The family suffered for a long period before Fred Hallengren was reinstated.

My Story

HUAC in Baltimore. We knew they were coming ... (1:08)
After the Hearing. There was the down side, the dark side of it ... (0:39)
Patriotic Thing. Show these Communists what we think of them ... (0:39)
Exonerated. We have a system that is stronger than that fear ... (0:53)


Stifling Dissent. In times of crisis, one argument is that surveillance is warranted for national security. Another is that unchecked surveillance will be used to stifle dissent. Eric Hallengren, Julian Bond, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Edith Bell, Peter Ackerman and Leslie Salgado describe how the lines get blurred between stifling dissent and protecting the nation.