Leftists and the Civil Rights Movement

Communist and Socialist Jews and Blacks by Cheryl Lynn Greenberg ON MANY ISSUES we now identify with modern liberalism, communists and socialists were there first. They opposed war, organized the unorganized, and challenged racial barriers in American life. They demanded fair wages and working conditions, government action to protect labor, and free speech. Virtually all […]

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May 30: The King of Swing

Benny Goodman, the clarinetist and bandleader who helped to racially integrate the jazz world and heighten the “respectability” of jazz by playing a 1938 Carnegie Hall concert with black and white players on stage, was born in Chicago, the ninth of twelve children in his family, on this date in 1909. Goodman made his professional […]

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May 26: Al Jolson

Al Jolson (Asa Yoelson), American’s most famous entertainer in the 1930s and the star of the first full-length talking movie, The Jazz Singer (1927), was born in Lithuania on this date in 1886 (he actually did not know his date of birth but selected May 26th). He came to the U.S. in 1894 and lost […]

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May 17: Esther Brown v. Board of Education

The Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, declaring the “separate but equal” segregationist policy in American schools to be unconstitutional and ordering their desegregation, was handed down on this date in 1954. It resulted from a suit brought by Esther Brown, a 30-year-old Jewish housewife in Merriam, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas […]

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April 9: Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial

Denied by the Daughters of the American Revolution the opportunity to sing at their Constitution Hall in segregated Washington, D.C., Marian Anderson gave an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial on this date in 1939. The event was arranged by her Jewish manager, Sol Hurok, with the backing of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (who resigned […]

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Kibitznik's Choice: Jews Against Islamophobia

Remember our friend (I use that word as sarcastically as possible) Pamela Geller? You know, the one who put up the ads in the transit systems of several cities that read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel, defeat Jihad.” Well, she’s at it again, this […]

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July 9: Franz Boas

Franz Boas, the German-born scholar and field researcher who launched the discipline of modern anthropology and trained two generations of progressive anthropologists, linguists and folklorists at Columbia University, was born on this date in 1858. Boas grounded anthropology in research and led it away from the abstract, inferential, racist theorizing of its early days. Among […]

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January 19: Protesting Apartheid

A group of teenagers who were graduates of the progressive, secular Sholem Sunday School in Los Angeles occupied a building belonging to the South African consulate on this date in 1987 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, twenty-five years ago. They were acting  in solidarity with sit-ins taking place around the world in the struggle […]

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Lou Charloff: Sweet Land of Bigotry

by Lou Charloff My return home from the army after World War II was not completely free of unpleasantness.  For one thing, I learned that shoeshine boys had raised their price from ten cents to a quarter.  Was this why we had fought against the evils of fascism?

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