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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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February 5: Fighting for Low-Wage Workers

Beth Shulman, a vice-president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and chair of the National Employment Law Project, died at 60 on this date in 2010. Shulman was the author of The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans (2003) and a leading advocate for a new social contract […]

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September 24: The National Farm School

The Board of Commissioners of Public Charities in Pennsylvania visited the National Farm School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania on this date in 1899. The school, on 122 acres, had been chartered three years earlier under the leadership of Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf (1958-1923), the spiritual leader of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, the oldest reform synagogue in Philadelphia, “to […]

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Mississippi Freedom Summer: Voices of the Volunteers

1. Heather Booth If we organize, we can change the world. I learned this lesson powerfully from my experience with the Mississippi Summer Project in 1964. I was 18, a white Chicago student, joining with others to shine a spotlight on the conditions in Mississippi and the horrors of America’s apartheid system. I went to […]

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July 3: Declining the Honor

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Adrienne Rich declined to accept the National Medal of the Arts on this date in 1997, in a letter to Jane Alexander, head of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Over the past two decades I have witnessed the increasingly brutal impact of racial and economic injustice in our country,” Rich wrote. […]

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June 29: An Apology for Government Homophobia

Frank Kameny (1925-2011), a key gay rights activist who coined the expression, “Gay is Good,” received a formal apology from the Obama Administration on this date in 2009 for the U.S. government’s firing of him from the civil service (he was an astronomer with the Maps Service) in 1957 for being gay. John Berry, director […]

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June 28: Jews and the Stonewall Uprising

Patrons of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village resisted arrest and police harassment in the wee hours on this date in 1969, setting in motion a weekend of rioting, protest, and organizing that gave rise to the modern gay liberation movement. Several Jewish women were among the organizers of the Gay Liberation Front, which immediately […]

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