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Civil Rights

Sophia Moses Robison

Sociologist Sophia Moses Robison spent her career shattering stereotypes, from exposing the racial bias in labels of juvenile delinquency to debunking myths that immigrants were a drain on the economy.

Fredrica Wechsler, 1929 - 2014

My mother was no shrinking violet. After a few weeks at home following the wedding, she got a job at the Gary Welfare Department, where she went on home visits and discovered Gary’s devastatingly impoverished African-American community. I am sure that this was a pivotal moment for her—and she never turned back.

Hortense Powdermaker

Anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker used her experiences of anti-Semitism and “passing” to offer new insights into how societies manage tensions between insiders and outsiders.

Go See "Selma"

I cried six times during the movie Selma. Each time for a different reason, and with varying durations/intensities. Within the first few minutes I had tears of mourning and shock running down my face. At one point I broke into sobs of sorrow.

Roberta Galler, 1936 - 2014

Roberta Galler was among hundreds arrested in Jackson, Mississippi in June 1965 protesting local attempts to subvert implementation of the new Voting Rights Act... Rabbi Perry Nussbaum came into the cell housing Roberta and several other Jewish women. Holding up toothbrushes, soap, and other small necessities, he said, "Okay, who in here are my people?" Roberta stepped forward and said "Either all of us are your people or none of us are your people."

Eugenia Goodkind Meyer

Eugenia Goodkind Meyer spent a lifetime working for civil rights on a local level as founder of an urban welfare league offering services to African Americans in White Plains, New York.

In the Mississippi River

In 1964, three civil rights activists disappeared at the start of Mississippi’s Freedom Summer. Assuming that James Chaney (who was black), Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner (who were both white) had almost certainly been killed for investigating a racist church bombing, the rivers in Mississippi were dredged to look for their bodies. What they found instead is described in the song “In the Mississippi River” written by Matthew Jones and sung here by the Freedom Singers: Dozens of black Americans who had been murdered, their hands and feet tied, and sunk in the river. It was understood that no one outside of their friends and family members would ever notice they were gone.

Keep Loving, Keep Fighting: Reflections after Thanksgiving

Sitting in my grandparents' house in Northridge, CA, on stolen land that was originally Barbareño and Chumash territory, I'm thinking a lot about how to foster space for gratitude without erasing the pain and violence in the paths that brought us to this place. Because rolled up in my story, in the events that led to me being in this place with my cherished family of origin, is a lot of pain and violence.

Nina Totenberg’s journalism ignites the Anita Hill hearings.

October 11, 1991

“The [Anita Hill] hearings ripped open the subject of sexual harassment like some sort of long-festering sore."

Birth of Harriet Fleischl Pilpel, pioneer for the right to privacy and free speech

December 2, 1911

Lawyer Harriet Fleischl Pilpel provides the historical link between birth control activist Margaret Sanger and feminist Betty Friedan.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Civil Rights." (Viewed on December 17, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/civil-rights>.

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