Sara Stone

b. August 23, 1915

Sara Stone helped New Orleans weather hard times from the Great Depression through Hurricane Katrina. Stone graduated from Duke University in 1935 and returned home to study social work at Tulane University. She spent a brief time aiding poverty-stricken residents of the French Quarter in New Orleans before marrying Saul Stone in 1938. In 1946 Sara joined the board of the National Council of Jewish Women, serving as president of her local chapter in 1951 and welcoming Holocaust survivors at the docks from 1949 to 1952, helping them build new lives in America. She chaired NCJW's scholarship committee for decades, focusing on making higher education accessible to immigrants. Sara also did fundraising for the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Children's Regional Service, organizing scholarship funds and other aid for needy children, and served on the boards of countless local organizations, including the Community Chest, the United Fund, the Social Welfare Planning Council, the Volunteer Committee at Charity Hospital, and even a ballet troupe. Ninety years old when Hurricane Katrina hit, she soon returned to her community and her commitments to local Jewish organizations. In 2015 she was made an honorary vice-president of NCJW for her decades of service, and she remains active on several national boards.

Scope and Content Note

Sara discusses her early life and activism in the Jewish community of the South. She was born in Bogalusa, where her father had moved because it was a new sawmill town in the Piney Woods. He ran the dry goods store. Sara's family helped build the synagogue that they used mainly on the High Holidays. She remembers her childhood fondly and had a great deal of freedom. Sara talks about her education at Duke University, attending parties, and her first experiences of prejudice. Sara tells a story of working in Kentucky after college with the Southern Women's Educational Alliance and witnessing extreme poverty. This experience inspired her to organize the Women's Division of the Jewish Welfare Fund, which began in the basement of her house. Sara moved to New Orleans to attend business school but dropped out to marry. She mentions the people who were role models to her and how they engaged her in civic life in the city and the Jewish community. She describes her husband, Saul Stone, and how he came to set up a law firm with Judge Minor Wisdom. Shortly before Hurricane Katrina, Sara lost her son to cancer. She says Shir Chadash was a support to her during this time. After evacuating with her daughter to New York for several months, she soon returned to her beloved community in New Orleans. Other topics include: the Civil Rights Movement, the National Council of Jewish Women, 2ll Camp Street, the Community Chest of New Orleans.

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Sara Stone. Interviewed by Rosalind Hinton. 7 February 2008. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 24, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/stone-sara>.

Oral History of Sara Stone by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.