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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Class Struggle or Interconnection?

Thinking about Bennett Muraskin’s Critique of the Hebrew Prophets by Lawrence Bush There’s been lots of great discussion about Jewish secularism and politics at this website in the past few weeks, and I’m grateful for it but have been too busy running the ship to put my own thoughts down, even hastily. Let it not […]

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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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November 26: Leon Davis

Leon Davis, founder and long-time president of Local 1199, the drug and hospital workers union, was born in Russia on this date in 1906. Under his leadership for half a century, the union grew from a small confederation of drug store workers to more than 150,000 members in twenty states — mostly low-paid, highly exploited […]

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March 19: Summoned by Dr. King

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel received a telegram from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on this date in 1965, inviting him to participate in the third Selma-to-Montgomery march for civil rights two days hence. The first march, on March 7, had met with murderous police violence; the second, on the 9th, had backed down from a […]

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January 15: Dr. King’s Advisor

Among the key advisors and closest friends to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (who was born on this date in 1929) was Stanley David Levison, a businessman and attorney whose Communist activities in the 1950s provided J. Edgar Hoover with ample excuse to wiretap and harass Dr. King. Levison, writes Samuel Freedman, served as King’s […]

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April 4: Dr. King

The 20th-century prophet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on this date in 1968 at age 39. Among white Americans participating in the movement that Dr. King led, Jews played a brave and disproportionate role. More than a third of the young white Northerners who participated in the Freedom Summer of 1964 were Jewish, […]

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A Tradition of Solidarity

Black-Jewish Relations in the Pages of Jewish Currents by Rokhl Kaffrisen I VOTED FOR OBAMA. If you’re reading Jewish Currents, you probably did, too. Throughout the past century, American Jews have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, and in this election, more than three-quarters of American Jews did so. The surprising statistic is that my so-called peers, […]

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Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972)

by Yankl Stillman Last year marked the hundredth anniversary of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s birth and the 35th yortsayt of his untimely death. For Jewish secularists, his meaning lies in his deep involvement and eloquent statements on the passionate issues of his day, which are similar to the passionate issues of our day: race and […]

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