Radical Incubators: New York City and Union Theological Seminary
A teeming metropolis greeted the Union Theological Seminary students who arrived in New York City in the late 1920s. Despite being in the midst of so much wealth and human progress, they found unemployed workers, makeshift bivouacs that housed the unemployed, and the despair that accompanied life on the political and economic margins of the great city. The students witnessed the great contradiction at the heart of capitalism—the existence of poverty and economic desperation in the very midst of so much wealth—and were radicalized. The attraction of radicalism was bolstered by an intellectual atmosphere fostered by Reinhold Niebuhr and the widespread acceptance that capitalism was facing imminent collapse, revolutionary upheaval.