Civil Rights

Content type
Collection

Judy Frieze Wright

Judy Frieze Wright went to prison for her participation in Freedom Rides, but that was only the beginning of her career as an activist.

Anita Weinstein

As founding director of EZRA, Anita Weinstein created local and far-reaching programs to relieve hunger and homelessness.

Miriam Waltzer

As the first woman elected to the New Orleans Criminal District Court, Miriam Waltzer fought for the civil rights of minorities, children, and women.

Judy Somberg

Judy Somberg’s work with the Sister Cities Project in El Salvador helped locals return to their villages after the military takeover in 1987 and freed eleven people who had been “disappeared.”

Florence Schornstein

Florence Schornstein spent a lifetime making New Orleans a better place to live, and Hurricane Katrina only strengthened her resolve.

Hannah Jukovsky

Hannah Jukovsky made headlines when she organized a boycott of standardized testing to draw attention to class and race inequities in Massachusetts public schools.

Anne Jackson

Motivated by a desire to experience life and have her voice heard, Anne Jackson participated in community activism ranging from the March on Washington to Holocaust education.

Vicki Gabriner

As a radical activist for civil rights, feminism, and an end to the Vietnam War, Vicki Gabriner risked her life to transform the country at a time of tremendous upheaval.

Gertrude Weil

A dedicated activist for women’s rights and racial equality, Gertrude Weil showed that local, small-scale political action could have far-reaching effects.

Vivienne Shub

In 1963, Vivienne Shub helped to create Center Stage, bringing a regional professional repertory theater to Baltimore. In the 1970s, she and her husband took up residency at Goucher College, sharing their expertise in music and theater. She has also enjoyed a long teaching career at Towson University, appeared in numerous films, and serves as president of the Baltimore Theater Alliance.

Bernice Stern

A native Seattleite born in 1916, Bernice Stern was the youngest National Council of Jewish Women officer elected at the national level, and first woman elected to the King County Council. She attended the University of Washington from 1932–1935, leaving to marry Edward Stern. Mother to two young boys, Bernice began volunteering at home, working on behalf of the blind, and on John F. Kennedy’s Women’s Conference on Civil Rights in 1961, and served on the Washington State Women’s Civil Rights Committee in 1963. She was named Outstanding Public Official in 1979 by the Municipal League of King County. Bernice Stern died on June 29, 2007.

Sara Kaplan

Veteran Seattle teacher and civil rights activist, Sara Dalkowitz Kaplan grew up in Pearsall, TX. Sara graduated from high school as the newspaper editor, champion debater, class president and valedictorian. She later earned a B.A. in political science at the University of Texas, an M.A. in economics from Columbia University, and her teaching certificate. Active in Democratic Party politics since high school, Sara spent her life fighting for social justice: she served as president of B'Nai B'rith Women, Vice President of Brandeis University National Women's Committee, a board member of the Anti-Defamation League, and an active member of the NAACP and Seattle Urban League.

Latin America

Francisca Flores, a Dissenter from the Inside

Marissa Harrington-Verb

If you want me to learn something that I don’t care too much about, the solution is simple: teach it to me in Spanish. Over the winter break, my two-year-old cousin visited for a day and we went to a children’s science museum together. The highlight of the afternoon was spending time with my cousin and seeing her enjoy the museum; the museum itself was underwhelming, especially since I’ve never been much of a science person. At least, that’s what I thought until we got to a temporary exhibit that was presented in both English and Spanish.

I was so focused on trying to translate all the Spanish without looking at the English that my cousin lost interest in the exhibit before I did.

Western Wall

Rosa Parks at the Wall

Eden Marcus

For as long as I can remember, Rosa Parks has been the star of every social studies lesson. In third grade, we learned about the nice lady who worked as a seamstress and boarded a bus to go home from work. In eighth grade, she was the strong woman who stood up for herself and played a significant role in the civil rights movement. In eleventh grade, we learned that her historic refusal to give up her seat was not random, but planned by civil rights leaders.

But the message of Rosa Parks goes beyond the classroom.

Protesters Against School Segregation

Different Shades of Daring

Olivia Link

Just the other day I took part in a big rite of passage for many suburban teens and braved a very imposing vacant parking lot to tackle one of my larger anxieties: manning an automotive vehicle. I clearly failed when it came to predicting the required amount of tenacity needed to control that metal monster, but like most teenagers that golden fantasy of independently cruising down the road in a glorious car overrode the shaming jerks, scratches, and damaged vegetation. I cannot deny that driving is scary; with just one misplaced press of a pedal I could jeopardize the safety of many people (and my parent’s car). But in the end, my rallied courage was worth it—now I can confidently drive without my eyes glued to the gearshift!

Though my anecdote is whimsical, the theme of persistence is relevant to next week’s MLK day.

Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963

Teaching Action and Understanding Justice

Hannah Elbaum

We were sitting in a circle, but the teacher spilt the class down the middle. Half received stickers, an apparent reward, while the other half sat and watched. No one knew exactly what was happening. We had always been told to work cohesively, so we recognized that the division was significant.

Topics: Civil Rights
Helen Suzman, 1959

Mandela, Suzman, and All Those Who Stand Together

Lisa Batya Feld

It was beautiful, last month, listening to the many tributes that went out for Nelson Mandela in the wake of his death. I wanted to say something about my own feelings about the loss of this man who embraced his enemies and helped transform a country, but I felt like I didn’t have the right.  What could I—a Jewish-American white woman—have to say? Then a colleague suggested that I write about Helen Suzman, whose death we remember this week. I drew a blank. Helen who?

Savina Teubal

‘Question Authority.’ Those two words did for me what the burning bush did for Moses: they changed my perception of reality.

Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz

Though the content of our mission is not specifically feminist, we have modeled feminist activism...

Lynn Gottlieb

We who seek liberation from the oppressive structures that deny us the same economic, educational, and spiritual opportunities as the privileged among us need each other.

The House by the Side of the Road by Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson

Ordinary Role Models: Going Beyond Pop-Culture

Eden Marcus

We continue looking at pop culture and role models with this post from one of our Rising Voices Fellows. Be sure to check the JWA blog each Tuesday for a new post from our fellows—and check out the great educational resources provided by our partner organization, Prozdor.

I’m no “gleek,” but from time to time, I confess, I’ll catch an episode of Glee. In a recent show, one of the main characters, Marley, was told to portray a pop singer whose behavior was completely different than her own. When she refused, she was suspended from rehearsals for not being a team player.

My first reaction was, “You go, girl!” Glee portrayed this girl as strong—someone who was willing to pay the price for remaining true to herself.

Topics: Civil Rights

Sonia Pressman Fuentes

I became the staff person who stood for aggressive enforcement of the sex discrimination prohibitions of the Civil Rights Act.

Heather Booth

Jane ultimately served over 10,000 women before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in 1973.

Hanukkah: Ignite and Inspire - Online Learning Program for Jewish Educators

Build connections among Jewish values, trailblazing Jewish women, and the Hanukkah story. This program will provide a new lens for teaching your students about Hanukkah that goes beyond the Maccabees and the candle lighting blessings. JWA staff will model resources and activities that can be put to use as you celebrate the festival of lights.

Ruth Nussbaum preserves a Torah on Kristallnacht

November 10, 1938

Ruth Nussbaum preserves a Torah on Kristallnacht.

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