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The Palmer Raids

Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and Mollie Steimer were among the large number of activist Jews arrested and eventually deported in the wake of the Palmer Raids, launched on this date in 1919 (the second anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution) by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and his assistant, J. Edgar Hoover. Between November and January, […]

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American Resistance to World War I

by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: War against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918, by Michael Kazin. Simon and Schuster, 2017, 400 pages. THE UNITED STATES did not enter World War I until April 1917, over two and a half years after the war began. If the militaristic Theodore Roosevelt had won the presidency in 1912 (he came […]

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J. Edgar Hoover and the Jews

J. Edgar Hoover was appointed director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on this date in 1924, a post that he would hold for more than half a century, accumulating enormous power and prestige. The appointment came five years after Hoover had led the Palmer Raids, an unconstitutional roundup of over six thousand leftwing immigrant […]

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February 17: The First Jewish Woman in Congress

Florence Prag Kahn, at age 58, became the first Jewish woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on this date in 1925. She beat two other candidates in her San Francisco district to succeed her husband, Representative Julius Kahn, who had died after being reelected to his 13th term. Florence Kahn would herself be […]

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January 20: The ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded on this date in 1920 by a committee that included Felix Frankfurter, who would become a Supreme Court justice nineteen years later, and Morris Ernst, who served as the organization’s general counsel for thirty years (1929-59). Ernst had, three years earlier, co-founded the National Civil Liberties Bureau, […]

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November 12: Against the Death Penalty

Norman Redlich, dean of the New York University Law School, a member of the Warren Commission (which investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy), and a strong opponent of the death penalty, was born in the Bronx on this date in 1925. Early in his career, Redlich was active in the National Emergency Civil Liberties […]

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The Genius and the Gentiles: Chagall’s American Odyssey

by Gary Ferdman It may have been surprising to many to learn that Pope Francis’s two favorite artists are Caravaggio and Marc Chagall, and that the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion-member Catholic church, with its long and inglorious history of anti-Semitism, considers Chagall’s “White Crucifixion” (at right, copyright 2014 Artist Rights Society [ARS], New […]

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