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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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August 25: A. Philip Randolph and Arnie Aronson

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 […]

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August 6: The 1965 Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on this date in 1965. The bill had been drafted in the conference room of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, under the aegis of the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, a coalition that included the majority of Jewish religious and […]

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January 10: The SCLC

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a key force in the Civil Rights Movement, was launched on this date in 1957, the brainchild of Martin Luther King, Jr., who became the SCLC’s president, Ella Baker, who was the organization’s sole staffer for several years, Bayard Rustin, and Stanley Levison, a Communist attorney and businessman. The organization […]

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January 4: Social Workers on Strike

Eight thousand New York social workers, many of them Jews, went out on strike on this date in 1965 in protest of oversized caseloads and low pay. Two locals led the strike: the independent Social Services Employees Union, a militant union that had just won bargaining rights for 6,000 caseworkers, and DC 37’s Local 371, […]

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April 11: The Fair Housing Act

The Civil Rights Act of 1968, commonly called the Fair Housing Act, which outlawed discrimination in the sale, rental, financing and advertising of housing based on race, color, religion, sex (1974), national origin, disability (1988) or family configuration (1988), was signed by President Lyndon Johnson on this date in 1968, one week after the assassination […]

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November 3: The Greensboro Massacre

Dr. Paul Bermanzohn, the son of Holocaust survivors, was among 15 members of the Communist Workers Party who were wounded or killed on this date in 1979 in an attack by the Ku Klux Klan  in Greensboro, North Carolina. Dr. Michael Nathan, the chief of pediatrics at the Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham, a […]

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September 20: Red Auerbach

Red Auerbach (Arnold Jacob Auerbach), the coach of the Boston Celtics who drafted the first black player in the National Basketball Association, Chuck Cooper, in 1950, and then fielded the first all-black starting line-up in 1964, was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on this date in 1917. Auerbach was a stand-out college basketball player who developed […]

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August 12: Julius Rosenwald

Julius Rosenwald, the part-owner and head executive of Sears, Roebuck & Co. and one of the more progressive philanthropists of American capitalism, was born on this date in 1862 in Springfield, Illinois. Rosenwald became a clothier through apprenticeship in New York City and eventually became the exclusive supplier of men’s clothing for Sears, Roebuck. Following […]

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