Ahead of her time in the fight for both civil rights and women’s rights, Virginia Snitow was unafraid to take unpopular stances when fighting for others. Snitow began working as a public school teacher in Harlem, and in 1942 wrote a widely circulated piece for the New Republic, “I Teach Negro Girls.” The experience drove her to join both the Teachers Union and the Communist Party, and she travelled to the USSR in 1936. Though she left the Party in the 1940s, she remained committed to the ideal of equality. She then rose to become president of the Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress in 1965, serving the maximum three terms and pushing the organization to oppose the Vietnam War. At the time, women outnumbered men in the AJC, and she resisted a vote to merge the two halves, fearing that women would lose their clout in a joint organization. She then created US/Israel Women to Women, a major supporter of women’s projects in Israel from funding battered women’s shelters to lobbying for legislation. Despite suffering from ALS, she remained politically active until the last months of her life.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Virginia Snitow." (Viewed on March 6, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/snitow-virginia>.