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Civil Rights

How Does My Identity Inform My Actions?

Consider how Jewish experiences and values – in both conscious and unconscious ways – informed the actions of Jews in the Civil Rights Movement, and inform our own allegiances and behaviors.

Exploring My Identity

Explore the complexities of our own identities, and how these identities shape the way we view and act in the world.

Dorothy Height, Honorary Jewess with Attitude

Like countless other Americans, here at the Jewish Women's Archive we were great admirers of Dorothy Height, who died on April 20 at the age of 98 and is being buried in Washington, DC today. Given what we know about Dr. Height, we couldn’t help but be struck by President Obama’s statement that "the godmother of the civil rights movement" had “served as the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement, witnessing [italics added] every march and milestone along the way."

Jews and the Civil Rights Movement: What we’re really talking about

In 1964, Elaine DeLott Baker left her white working-class Jewish family in Massachusetts and her scholarship at Radcliffe to go to Mississippi, where she spent a year working with SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee).

Jews and the Civil Rights Movement: There’s more to it than you might think

Today, when most Reform synagogues have a social action committee and when legal segregation is a thing of the past, it may be hard for us to understand how some American Jews could not support and participate in the Civil Rights Movement. Over the last seven months, as I’ve worked on a high school curriculum about Jewish participation in the Civil Rights Movement for the Jewish Women’s Archive, I have been examining this issue and many others that highlight the complexities of Civil Rights history.

Institute for Educators 2008

Join the Jewish Women's Archive for four days of intensive professional development designed to enrich your teaching with the compelling stories of American Jewish lives, past and present. The 2010 Institute will focus on the role of Jews in the Civil Rights Movement in America.

Remembering Grace Paley

Today would have been writer and activist Grace Paley's 87th birthday, and since her death two years ago, it's become a day to celebrate her life and legacy.

Gertrude Weil

Gertrude Weil's passion for equality and justice shaped the course of her long life. Inspired by Jewish teachings that "justice, mercy, [and] goodness were not to be held in a vacuum, but practiced in our daily lives," Weil stood courageously at the forefront of a wide range of progressive and often controversial causes, including women's suffrage, labor reform and civil rights. She worked tirelessly to extend political, economic and social opportunities to those long denied them.

Bella Abzug convenes National Women's Conference in Houston

November 18, 1977

Spearheaded by Bella Abzug, the federally funded National Women's Conference convened in Houston to put forward a National Plan of Action.

Shoshana Cardin becomes first woman to lead a major national Jewish organization

November 15, 1984

The election of Shoshana Cardin as the first woman to lead the Council of Jewish Federations opened a new era for women's involvement in national Jewish institutions.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Civil Rights." (Viewed on June 20, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/civil-rights>.

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