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September 27: Will Maslow

September 27, 2014

Will Maslow, executive director of the American Jewish Congress from 1960 to 1972, at the height of its civil rights involvements, was born in the Ukraine on this date in 1907. During World War II, Maslow served as first director of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Committee on Fair Employment Practices, which Roosevelt created at the urging of A. Philip Randolph to investigate discrimination in defense contracting. Maslow then served as AJC general counsel and director of its new Commission on Law and Social Action before taking the reins of the organization. He also remained general counsel until his retirement in 1984. Under his leadership, the AJCongress filed numerous lawsuits and friend-of-the-court briefs in cases about housing and employment discrimination, religious freedom, and civil liberties. Maslow died in 2007 at age 99.

“The Negroes’ fight against discrimination in employment, housing, education is part of the struggle for Jews for equality of opportunity in those fields.” —Will Maslow