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November 11: Fighting for the Colville Indians

Washington became the 41st American state on this date in 1889. Among the Jewish residents of Washington Territory was Joseph Herman Friedlander, a trader who married Sken-What-Ux, a Colville Indian who was a direct descendant of the tribe’s female chief, Kar-Ne-Za, and the daughter of Standing Cloud, a Brule leader. Sken-What-Ux became known as “Grandma […]

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Pushing My Reset Button on Street Crime

New York’s Struggle Over Stop-and Frisk by Lawrence Bush from the Autumn, 2013 issue of Jewish Currents There were 4.4 million stop-and-frisk police actions in New York City between 2002 and 2011: that’s nearly 8,500 per week. They increased dramatically over the course of the decade, from 97,296 in 2002 to 685,724 in 2011. Close […]

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Twinkies and Civil Rights

by Harold Ticktin I have never eaten a Twinkie, but I did use one as a valuable weapon for civil rights. It was in Mississippi, the summer of 1965, and I was a volunteer with the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee (LCDC). During a blistering August, I visited a town called Hallandale, which had a thriving […]

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August 26: Coming Home from Mississippi

Matthew Zwerling, a Jewish volunteer for Mississippi Freedom Summer, wrote to his parents in New York from Clarksdale, Mississippi on this date in 1964 suggesting an “unstrenuous” three-day weekend upon his return home. He thanked them for a money order, and noted that he was “still think[ing] Mississippi about 30 hours a day.” Zwerling, a […]

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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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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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Criminal Justice & The New Jim Crow

The War on Drugs as a Means of Racial Control by Cheryl Greenberg Imagine that police routinely set up road blocks and conduct blood-alcohol level tests on nearly every driver. They raid bars to find underage drinkers with fake IDs, then move to the parking lot to test drivers getting into their cars. They interrupt […]

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The Editor’s Diary: Fighting Jim Crow, New & Old

by Lawrence Bush Anti-racist consciousness seems to be stirring anew in our country, reawakened, at least in part, by the best-selling success of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by civil rights attorney and law professor Michelle Alexander (The New Press, 2012). The New Jim Crow has been talked about […]

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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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