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October 12: The Bombing of Atlanta’s Temple

October 12, 2013
m-5930The Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia was bombed by white supremacists on this date in 1958. Known simply as “The Temple,” the synagogue, with some 1,000 members, was led by Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an outspoken advocate of civil rights and integration, and a friend to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. A phone call from “General Gordon of the Confederate Underground,” shortly after the middle-of-the-night bombing, declared, “This is the last empty building in Atlanta we will bomb. All nightclubs refusing to fire their Negro employees will also be blown up. We are going to blow up all Communist organizations. Negroes and Jews are hereby declared aliens.” Five white separatists were arrested for the crime; after one of them, George Bright, was tried and acquitted, charges against the others were dropped. For a full-bodied article about the bombing and its impact upon the South (it includes a white supremacist flyer that quotes from Jewish Life, the predecessor magazine to Jewish Currents, shown below), click here. [caption id=“attachment_21708” align=“alignright” width=“209”]Rabbi Rothschild Rabbi Rothschild[/caption] “Whether they like it or not, every political rabble-rouser is the godfather of these cross burners and dynamiters who sneak about in the dark and give a bad name to the South. It is high time the decent people of the South rise and take charge.” –Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield (shown in above photo) 1a-005-ss-09-cwebb_sm-1