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The Jewish Chicken Farmers of Petaluma: Why Remember?

Part One by Kenneth Kann   FIRST, ASTONISHMENT. Then outrage. Mine. I was viewing “California Dreaming,” a 2013 exhibit on Bay Area Jewish history at San Francisco’s eminent Contemporary Jewish Museum. The exhibit included the story of an extraordinary Jewish chicken ranching community in Petaluma, thirty-five miles north of San Francisco. This museum exhibit was false: […]

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Petlyura and the Ukrainian Pogroms

On this date in 1919, Simon Petlyura, Ukrainian writer, Cossack commander, and head of the breakaway Ukrainian state during the civil war that followed the Bolshevik Revolution, began attacking Jews in a sustained wave of violence that took the lives of tens of thousands. Hundreds of cities and towns were attacked; thousands of Jewish women […]

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Six Million Ku Klux Klansmen

by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition, by Linda Gordon. Liveright, 2017, 288 pages.   THE KU KLUX KLAN, America’s best-known racist society, has had three major phases of life since its founding right after the Civil War in 1866. […]

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October 19: Fannie Hurst

Bestselling novelist and short story writer Fannie Hurst — known to later generations primarily through film adaptations of her fiction (notably Imitation of Life and Young at Heart), was born in Hamilton, Ohio on this date in 1885. Hurst wrote on social themes of sexism and women’s rights, racism and racial justice, and economic opportunity, […]

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Jews Among the Wobblies

by Bennett Muraskin THE MOST RADICAL labor union in American history was the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), colloquially known as the Wobblies. Its active years were from 1905 to 1919, with some campaigns extending into the 1920s. Fierce government repression during and after World War I, along with vigilante violence and internal divisions, […]

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October 10: Eddie Cantor

Eddie Cantor (Iskowitz), one of America’s first radio stars and wildly popular, cross-platform entertainers, died at 72 on this date in 1964. Known as “Banjo Eyes” and “The Apostle of Pep,” Cantor mixed intimate stories about his wife and five daughters with high-energy dancing, vaudeville songs, jokes, and sentimental sincerity to charm his audiences on […]

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