Sharing Stories Inspiring Change


Jewish Women in Civil Rights - Janice Goodman

Janice Goodman
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Janice Goodman with Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Leader Victoria Gray Adams at the 1988 SNCC Reunion. Courtesy of Janice Goodman.


Janice Goodman was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1935. During high school in the early 1950s, she first encountered progressive political culture by attending hootenannies and Pete Seeger concerts. Upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 1957, she worked in a variety of political movements in New York. After participating in Congress of Racial Equality-sponsored demonstrations in New York and Maryland, she went South in the summer of 1964. She spent a month in Meridian and went back to Mississippi in November 1964, and then went to Washington, D.C. to work for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

Like a number of civil rights veterans, her southern experience inspired her to go to law school. Later she was one of the founders of the first feminist law firm with Carol Bellamy and Susan Deller Ross, who is best known as one of Anita Hill's attorneys. In her law practice today, Goodman works on women's issues and employment discrimination cases involving women and people of color.


Jan Goodman vividly remembers January 4, 1965, the day the U.S. House of Representatives was to vote on a resolution to "unseat" the Mississippi delegation. In addition to presenting the depositions, the MFDP had brought six hundred Black Mississippians to lobby on Capitol Hill.

We had one of the most beautiful demonstrations of all. A silent vigil on the day of the vote to unseat. It was led by Stokely Carmichael in his early days-this was slightly before full-blown Black Power, probably around six months. They had this very peaceful, nonviolent demonstration in the tunnels of Congress. It was really incredible to watch. When the congressmen, and they were all men, came through, they had to go through a phalanx of two lines of Black groups who were totally, totally silent. And just glaring at them. It was quite dramatic and quite terrific.

Though one-third of House members voted against seating Mississippi's elected delegation, they were sworn into office.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women in Civil Rights - Janice Goodman." (Viewed on April 17, 2014) <>.