Named in a landmark Supreme Court case that almost resulted in her deportation, Rose Chernin spoke out against injustice wherever she found it. Chernin fought her first battles as a teenager, when her father abandoned the family. Chernin confronted him to take responsibility and then, when he institutionalized her mother, Chernin secured her release. During the Depression, Chernin organized protests against price gouging and supported rent strikes and tenant negotiations. In 1932 she joined the Communist Party and briefly moved to Russia, but returned in 1934 to help free jailed activists. In 1946, after African-American neighbors had crosses burned on their lawns, Chernin organized support for housing rights. In 1950 she founded the Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born, serving as executive secretary. The following year, she was arrested on charges of conspiracy to overthrow the government. In 1952, after her conviction, she was brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee, but refused to name other communists. The government threatened to denaturalize her under the Smith Act, but in 1957 the Supreme Court ruled that the Smith Act required violent rebellion, not just membership in a political group, freeing Chernin to continue her activism.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Rose Chernin." (Viewed on January 21, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/chernin-rose>.