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The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first labor union led by Blacks that was accepted into the AFL-CIO, was formed in New York City on this date in 1925, under the leadership of Asa Philip Randolph. Randolph grew into a major figure in the civil rights movement. In 1950, he, Roy Wilkins, and Arnold Aronson, a Jewish social worker and anti-racist community activist, formed the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, which then coordinated the national legislative campaigns for every piece of civil rights legislation in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Aronson, who served as executive secretary of the organization for thirty years, had begun working with Randolph on civil rights issues during World War II, and the two succeeded in pressuring President Franklin D. Roosevelt to open jobs in the federal government and defense industries to Black Americans by executive order in 1941. Aronson also helped organize and plan the August 28, 1963 March on Washington. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton in 1998.
“The best way to counter Negro anti-Semitism is to help wipe out the conditions under which anti-white and anti-Negro bias are both spawned. These are bred in frustration, denial and want.” —Arnold Aronson
JEWDAYO ROCKS! Gene Simmons, a.k.a. “The Demon,” co-founder and vocalist/bassist for Kiss, was born in Haifa, Israel on this date in 1949. To see this totally weird band’s anthem, “I Want to Rock and Roll All Night,” look below.