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Roberta Galler

Roberta Galler, 1936 - 2014

As a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) staff member, Roberta Galler was among hundreds arrested in Jackson, Mississippi in June 1965 protesting local attempts to subvert implementation of the new Voting Rights Act. After being thrown into the Hinds County Jail, Roberta first encountered the Jackson Jewish community in the form of Rabbi Perry Nussbaum. A quiet civil rights supporter against his congregation’s wishes, Nussbaum came into the cell housing Roberta and several other Jewish women.

Roberta Galler

Roberta Galler’s work for the Congressional Challenge marked a landmark civil rights effort, using six hundred depositions that blacks had been prevented from voting in the 1964 congressional election as evidence that the election was unconstitutional.

How Does My Identity Inform My Actions?

Consider how Jewish experiences and values – in both conscious and unconscious ways – informed the actions of Jews in the Civil Rights Movement, and inform our own allegiances and behaviors.

Civil Rights Movement in the United States

Despite widespread awareness of significant contributions to the movement by Jewish women, the documentary record and public perception reflect the roles and experiences of men. Scholarship in American Jewish history, civil rights history, and women’s studies does not directly address the contributions of Jewish women. Nor does it ask what Jewish cultural influences primed young Jewish women to respond (in numbers disproportionate to their representation in the population) when the civil rights movement put out the call.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Roberta Galler." (Viewed on December 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/17655>.

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