Jess Martin

Your family has lived in this town for generations and done very well for themselves. With such deep roots in the community, you travel in many of the same social circles as your wealthy Gentile neighbors, though you remember a time when your family couldn't belong to their clubs due to "restricted" membership rules. As a child, you had a nurse. The family also employed a maid to help your mother and a driver for your father. All of these workers were African American. Even today, you employ an African American couple who take care of your home and drive you where you need to go. This makes you feel that you have connections to the African American community and understand their needs and desires. Your family has always been a big supporter of the local Jewish community – chairing various committees and auxiliary groups, contributing generously, and participating in services and special events. In this you have tried to set an example for the younger generation, but it seems that rather than support the Jewish community many younger Jews are supporting causes outside the community and you're concerned that civil rights will become just one more cause that prevents local Jews from taking care of their own people. You consider yourself a good Jew and a good Southerner.

Preparation for taking on the role of your character:

  1. What values (be as specific as possible) are important to your character? What in this description made you draw those conclusions?
  2. What are your character's experiences/concerns (be as specific as possible)? What in this description made you draw those conclusions?
  3. Based on these values and experiences/concerns, would your character support a) home hospitality for civil rights activists and/or b) members supporting the protest?
  4. Return to the documents you read earlier and identify the most relevant documents and arguments based on what you know about your fictional character.
  5. Using both what you know about your fictional character and the arguments from the documents you read earlier develop your argument for the board meeting. You may use the space below to outline your argument.


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jess Martin." (Viewed on April 12, 2024) <>.