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Merle McCurdy shaking hands with Robert F. Kennedy.

Within eight months of his swearing-in ceremony, a witness in the House Un-American Activities Committee identified Merle’s brother, Foster, as a Communist. Working as a deputy in the Cuyahoga County Clerk’s Office, Foster denied any involvement in the Communist Party. He gave no further comment, as advised by Merle serving as a U.S. District Attorney.

The following day, Foster acknowledged some of his earlier activities in the late 1940s, but denied ever joining the Communist Party, stating that his refusal to join contributed to his divorce of his first wife, Mamie, ten years beforehand.

Robert F. Kennedy issued a statement indicating that it looked fully into the McCurdy Family background, were familiar with the allegations made against Foster, and that the administration had “no question about [Merle’s] loyalty, integrity and ability.” The controversy obviously caused a strain in the two brother’s relationship, Merle is quoted as saying: “Whatever my brother did occurred years ago. At that time I was not aware of any of his activities except what I read in the newspapers. We had long since gone our separate ways” (The Plain Dealer, 1962, p. 19).


Bobby has No Doubts on McCurdy. (1962, June 5). The Plain Dealer, p. 19.

Witness Names 16 Clevelanders as Reds. (1962, June 5). Akron Beacon Journal, p. 30.

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career, Cleveland