2023-2024 Events & Programs

Antisemitism in the Heartland: Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights

Antisemitism in the Heartland: Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights

Date: Monday, October 16, 2023

Time: 07:30pm - 

Location: Douglass Student Center, Trayes Hall, 100 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

 

The Ruth Ellen Steinman Bloustein and Edward J. Bloustein Memorial Lecture

Cosponsored by the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

 

Samuel G. Freedman, Professor of Journalism, Columbia University

Hubert Humphrey was elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1945 and, in just three years, transformed it from being nationally notorious for its antisemitism and anti-Black racism to being nationally acclaimed for its concrete progress on civil rights. How Humphrey accomplished what he did is both dramatic as a part of history and instructive amid the present upsurge in antisemitism. Raised in a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant enclave in South Dakota, there was no intrinsic reason for Humphrey to devote so much of his public life to battling against racial and religious discrimination.

Samuel Freedman will discuss his new book, Into the Bright Sunshine: Young Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights, which examines this obscure chapter of Humphrey’s life. It foretells the man who was President Lyndon B. Johnson’s right hand in pushing through the landmark civil rights laws of the mid-1960s and provides a powerful and useful analogue to today’s struggles.

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Sam Freedman Headshot sqSamuel G. Freedman, award-winning writer and professor of journalism at Columbia University, is a former columnist and staff reporter for the New York Times. He is the author of nine books, including Into the Bright Sunshine: Young Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights (Oxford University Press, 2023). Four of his books have been listed among the New York Times Notable Books of the Year.

His book Jew vs. Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry (Simon & Schuster, 2000) won the National Jewish Book Award for Nonfiction in 2001 and made the Publishers Weekly Religion Best-Sellers list. As a result of the book, Freedman was named one of the "Forward Fifty" most important American Jews in the year 2000 by the Jewish newspaper the Forward. His other books include: The Inheritance: How Three Families and America Moved from Roosevelt to Reagan and Beyond (Simon & Schuster, 1997), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Upon This Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church (Harper Perennial,1993), winner of the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism; and Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students, and Their High School (Harper Perennial, 1990), a finalist for the National Book Award.