Hyman R. Cohen, a leading activist in the Palm Beach County, Fla., area, died of cancer on Jan. 17. He was 93.
Hy Cohen joined the Communist Party while in college. He became involved in the struggles of the day for workers and civil rights and in the fight against anti-Semitism, fascism and racism. He served in the army during World War II in the South Pacific.
His career began as a teacher of physics, chemistry and general science. During the McCarthy period and the related attack on public education, he was fired from his job. A number of years later he was reinstated. He retired from the New York public school system in 1970.
Cohen was one of the founders and co-editor of the independent journal, Science and Nature, which addressed the philosophical, historical and sociological problems of the natural sciences.
In 1984, Cohen moved to West Palm Beach, Fla., and immediately became involved in local progressive organizations. He was an officer of the Palm Beach County Committee against Intervention in Central America and the National Council of Senior Citizens (a predecessor of today’s Alliance for Retired Americans), and he worked with the Martin Luther King Coordinating Committee. He helped organize rallies and coalitions to protest interventions in South America and also to end the sanctions against Cuba and Iraq.
Cohen was a prolific writer of letters to the editor, particularly to the Palm Beach Post, and was published frequently. He was instrumental in getting speakers for forums on world events, organizing many demonstrations in support of labor, including defense of the “right to strike,” and support for UPS workers’ struggle for higher wages and a union contract. He helped organize picket lines in front of Kravis Performing Art Center, in solidarity with the Kravis workers fighting attempts by management to destroy their union.
Cohen was an advocate of socialist ideas, a firm believer in socialism. He was a fervent supporter of the People’s Weekly World, and was a major force in raising thousands of dollars to sustain the paper in bringing the truth to the people of Florida and nationwide.
Hy Cohen and his wife Lillian, who survives him, were always known as a dynamic couple in the forefront of the struggle for peace and justice and the betterment of humankind. Cohen is also survived by a sister and several nieces and nephews.
Hy Cohen was soft-spoken, clear thinking, articulate, and honest person of highest integrity, devoted to his principles to make this a better world.