Resolution J4127-2013

Mourning the death of Lee Lorch, distinguished citizen and devoted member of his community



  • Mar 25, 2014: ADOPTED
  • Mar 19, 2014: REFERRED TO FINANCE


LEGISLATIVE  RESOLUTION  mourning  the death of Lee Lorch, distinguished
citizen and devoted member of his community

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to honor and recognize
individuals who made significant contributions to the  human  and  civil
rights of New York State, and therefore it is fitting and appropriate to
recognize the life and work of Lee Lorch; and
  WHEREAS, Born on September 20, 1915 in the borough of Manhattan in New
York  City,  Lee  Lorch  attended  Townsend Harris High School, where he
demonstrated a  highly  developed  acumen  for  mathematics  that  would
portend  an  extensive  and  decorated  career  in  academia teaching at
renowned colleges and universities in the United States and Canada; and
  WHEREAS, He later  received  his  undergraduate  degree  from  Cornell
University  in  Ithaca,  New  York  in  1935,  and subsequently earned a
doctorate degree at the University of Cincinnati in 1941, both of  which
nurtured his vast talent and allowed him to excel as a mathematician and
professor; and
  WHEREAS, Lee Lorch became disenchanted with his employment in a draft-
exempt  position during the World War II effort and dutifully served his
country by bravely enlisting in the United States Army Air Corps,  serv-
ing in India and the Pacific between 1943 and 1946; and
  WHEREAS,  Following  Lee  Lorch's  wartime service, he returned to New
York City in the spring of 1946 to teach mathematics at the City College
of New York and found a dire shortage of affordable housing; and
  WHEREAS, After tirelessly searching for two  years  to  find  suitable
accommodations for his family, Lee Lorch was able to secure an apartment
in  Stuyvesant  Town,  Metropolitan  Life's  newly developed residential
complex in Manhattan comprised of 35 buildings and 8,759 apartments  for
middle-income  New  Yorkers,  with  a  preference for returning U.S. war
veterans; and
  WHEREAS, He was keenly aware of the vile effects of  racism  from  the
atrocities  committed in World War II and was morally offended by Metro-
politan Life's policy barring African American residents from Stuyvesant
Town; and
  WHEREAS, Lee Lorch joined 11 other tenants in  forming  the  Town  and
Village  Tenants  Committee  to  End  Discrimination in Stuyvesant Town,
whose ranks eventually grew to 1,800; and
  WHEREAS, Lee Lorch proved his actions were equal to his words by open-
ing his own apartment to an African American family, Hardine and Raphael
Hendrix and their son, while he taught at a  job  outside  of  New  York
City; and
  WHEREAS,  As  a  result  of his efforts, those of the Town and Village
Committee to End Discrimination,  and  growing  political  and  economic
pressure,  Metropolitan  Life  finally  relented in 1950, and ceased its
discriminatory practice of barring African American residents from Stuy-
vesant Town; and
  WHEREAS, Lee Lorch's determined battle to end discrimination at  Stuy-
vesant Town laid the groundwork for and presaged the Fair Housing Act of
1968 which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of
dwellings; and
  WHEREAS,  His  anti-discrimination  efforts unfortunately earned him a
reputation as an agitator and troublemaker in the institutional academic
community, which drove him from his job  at  City  College  and  from  a
succession of other U.S. colleges and universities, before he settled in
Canada,  first  at  the  University of Alberta and then, for the last 17
years of his career, at York University; and

  WHEREAS, Lee Lorch's mathematical expertise and civil rights  contrib-
utions  earned  him  respect  and  adulation  at  his many institutions,
including The City University of New York, which awarded him an honorary
degree in 1990; and
  WHEREAS,  With  his  death on February 28, 2014, New York State lost a
native son, one of New York City's foremost mathematicians and anti-dis-
crimination  fighters  whose  selfless  efforts  helped  open   one   of
Manhattan's  most  esteemed  and enduring middle-class housing complexes
for residents of every race; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause  in  its  deliberations  to
mourn  the  death  of  Lee  Lorch, renowned mathematician, professor and
humanitarian; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That copies of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the family of Lee Lorch.


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