PORTLAND - Philosophy Professor Stanley Moore lost his job at Reed College during the height of the Red Scare for refusing to say whether he was a Communist.
A former student is trying to rehabilitate Moore's name in a new article, and Moore has accepted an invitation to the Portland campus for a symposium in April about his firing and the issues it raised.
The 90-page article, to be published this month in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, reports an about-face by David Eyre, then a prominent Oregon newspaperman and one of the last surviving members of the board that fired Moore.
"We were wrong in what we did, and I apologize, albeit only for myself," Eyre, told writer Michael Munk in a letter last year from his home in Honolulu.
At Munk's urging, Reed President Steven Koblik invited Moore to participate in the symposium organized by the Portland alumni chapter.
"I'm a historian," Koblik said. "I think it is important to understand the past."
Told of Eyre's public apology, Moore said, "I think it's admirable."
Now 82, Moore lives in Santa Barbara.
Moore finished his career at the University of California at San Diego.
Not everyone agrees Reed was wrong to fire Moore. Among them is Munk's father, Frank, a 96-year-old West Hills resident who taught at Reed and was one of only two faculty members to support the dismissal.
A Czech-born political scientist who lived under Nazism and communism, the elder Munk founded Portland's World Affairs Council after retiring from Reed.
"I saw communism as the most immediate evil," he said. "I have not changed."
Years later, Moore told The Oregonian he was not a Communist at the time he was fired. He said he had quit the party 18 months earlier in disgust over Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's latest purge.
"He was free to tell; he could have saved his job," Michael Munk said.
Under questioning by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1954, Moore took the Fifth Amendment.
Accused by Reed's president and board of trustees of being uncooperative, he replied that Reed had never made it a condition of his employment that he disavow Communist Party membership.
Unlike many colleges at the time, Reed had no policy against Communists serving on the faculty. The college hired Moore and granted him tenure knowing he considered himself an "active Marxist."
Most of the 13 trustees who decided Moore's fate were conservative Portland businessmen. Their decision was unanimous.
Even so, Eyre now says he and other board members had reservations. "It was not an easy decision," he said. "The board simply yielded to the pressure of the McCarthy days."
After leaving Reed, it took Moore 14 years to get another tenured teaching post.
Unemployment wasn't easy, but Moore says he's not bitter.
"It was a long time ago, and there were many sincere people on the other side."