Norman Fruchter Was a Giant in the Fight for Education Equity

Norman Fruchter, who died on January 4 from complications after being struck by a car while walking his dog, was a civil rights activist, community organizer, novelist, filmmaker, and for over five decades a giant in the education equity movement. He was 85.

Upon graduation from Rutgers in 1959, Fruchter sailed for England to study at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford on a Fulbright scholarship. Almost immediately, he bolted Stratford for London to join the burgeoning New Left.

The New Left

Michael Rustin, then a first-year student at Oxford, picked him up hitchhiking and introduced him to Stuart Hall, editor in chief of the recently launched socialist New Left Review (NLR). Hall quickly made Fruchter his editorial assistant and invited him to write film and book reviews. Working with such eminent contributors as Marxist critic Raymond Williams and British labor historian E.P. Thompson vastly expanded Fruchter’s political and intellectual outlook.

When he returned to the United States in 1962, newly married to women’s health researcher and future feminist Rachel Gillett, he carried a headful of ideas to enrich the American New Left. (In 1997, Rachel was also struck by a car and killed, while bicycling in Prospect Park.)

According to Rustin, the influence between British and American New Leftists “went both ways.” The older, staid British Marxist intellectuals were “shaken up by the young, charismatic Americans in London”—not just Fruchter but also the California novelist Clancy Segal, as well as sociologist C. Wright Mills, whose influential 1960 “Letter to the New Left,” published in NLR and advocating “direct non-violent action,” popularized the term “New Left” in the US.

Cultural Pursuits

Fruchter’s first novel, Coat Upon a Stick, was published in 1963 by Simon & Schuster, where a rising young star of US publishing, Robert Gottlieb, was his editor. Gottlieb soon became editor in chief of Knopf, where he published Fruchter’s second novel, Single File, in 1970.


Next Post

How Certifications Can Unlock a Vocation in Knowledge Science

Thu Jan 26 , 2023
Facts science competencies are undergoing a demand progress spurt as integrations with rising systems like AI, ML and edge computing continue to generate large quantities of facts. Details science enables corporations throughout all industries to make sense of huge knowledge sets from a number of resources and derive precious insights […]

You May Like