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

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  • 19 / Mar / 2014
  • 25 / Mar / 2014
  • 25 / Mar / 2014

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative



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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