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Channel Esther: Books, Bread, and Roses

by Esther Cohen IN THE LATE 1970s and early ’80s when life was younger when my life was younger when the world I lived in was a very bright orange I ended up working for an unlikely man, a Protestant minister, high-minded, theologically versed, the kind of man who led Marches and gave speeches you wanted to write […]

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Channel Esther: Henry’s Tribute Last Night

by Esther Cohen I HAVEN’T been to the penthouse in years. Not since I left my job. And although I’d ordered drinks a week ago to avoid any problems they weren’t there and the man named Irving on the phone at Google Express couldn’t explain why. But the posters I worked on for years were […]

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Channel Esther: The Last Laugh

by Esther Cohen Discussed in this essay: The Last Laugh, documentary film directed, photographed and edited by Ferne Pearlstein, with jokes by Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Sarah Silverman, Robert Clary, Rob Reiner, Louie C.K., Susie Essman, Harry Shearer, Jeffrey Ross, Alan Zweibel, Gilbert Gottfried, Judy Gold, Larry Charles, David Steinberg, Abe Foxman, Lisa Lampenelli and […]

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February 24: 1199 Against the War

Local 1199, the Drug and Hospital Workers in New York led by Leon Davis, became the first U.S. labor union to oppose the war in Vietnam by sending a telegram to President Lyndon Baines Johnson on this date in 1965. In August, Jesse Olson, a vice president of the union, would testify before Congress during […]

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December 14: Philip and Jack Foner

Two of the four Foner brothers who were leaders in the American labor movement and progressive academic circles were born on this date in 1910. Philip Foner wrote and edited more than 110 books, many involving groundbreaking research: on American slavery, on black history, on women and social activists as agents of change in America, […]

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November 26: Leon Davis

Leon Davis, founder and long-time president of Local 1199, the drug and hospital workers union, was born in Russia on this date in 1906. Under his leadership for half a century, the union grew from a small confederation of drug store workers to more than 150,000 members in twenty states — mostly low-paid, highly exploited […]

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