Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lee Lorch (1915 - 2014)

Lee Lorch was a mathematician and lifelong fighter for civil rights. He was hounded out of his home and his profession and eventually out of his country. For most of his active life fighting racism, his only organized ally was the Communist Party USA, though he did have a handful of friends and admirers.

He advised some of the first Black and female Ph.D. students in the U.S. before he lost the last of his jobs here.

We met him at several mathematical conferences we attended in the late '60s and '70s where he was organizing for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam. He was living in Canada then, where he was treated well.

You can read his N.Y. Times obit HERE. The extent of the hatred and organized racism -- especially in the corporate and academic world -- it sketches in is absolutely appalling. A more detailed account would probably be too harrowing. The only really positive thing you can say is that he maintained his spirit and toughness, and he outlived most of his enemies to be honored in his later life.


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