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Cecile Ruth Sands

Cecile Ruth Sands served for six years as the only woman on the New York City Board of Education, where she took a stand against McCarthyism and advocated for school integration. Born Cecile Ruth Humbert, Sands was appointed to the board in 1955 and immediately became embroiled in controversy as the sole dissenter against a measure that would force school employees to inform on others or face dismissal. The measure passed 7–1, but was overturned after teachers who refused to name names appealed to the State Education Commissioner. Two years later, in 1957, she made a speech at Manhattan’s Central Synagogue arguing for better school integration in racially divided neighborhoods. She served on the Board of Education for six years. She also served for 60 years on the board of the Hebrew Education Society, which oversaw a settlement house, and was the society’s first female president. 

Date of Birth
Date of Death
March 16, 1992

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Cecile Ruth Sands." (Viewed on March 23, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/sands-cecile>.


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