NEW YORK (Oct. 7)
Three major Jewish organizations have offered to help the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in its appeal of a Mississippi court decision award of $1.2 million to 12 white merchants because of a NAACP boycott 10 years ago in the town of Port Gibson. The NAACP has had to post a bond of $1.6 million in order to appeal the decision.
The American Jewish Committee has announced that in response to an appeal from Roy Wilkins, NAACP executive director, and Board chairman Margaret Bush Wilson, the AJCommittee Board of Governors has voted a grant of $1000 and a loan of $15,000 underwritten by individual members. In addition, local chapters have donated more than $4000.
Bertram Gold, the AJCommittee’s executive vice-president, said that both organizations “have been engaged for many years in the struggle to achieve basic human rights and dignity for all minority groups in our society. In coming to the aid of our friends in their time of distress, we are living up to our fundamental principle of seeking improved human relations for all people everywhere.”
The American Jewish Congress has offered its legal assistance to the NAACP. In a letter to Wilkins from Naomi Levine, executive director of the AJCongress, the Jewish group said it was “appalled” at the court decision and declared: “We believe that precedents established in such a decision are extremely dangerous not merely to the NAACP but to all groups involved in using social action to protect constitutional rights and to achieve social change.”
The National Council of Jewish Women sent a check of $2500 to the NAACP. In a message of support to Wilkins, Esther R. Landa, the NCJW’s national president, declared: “As an organization which has been active in the field of civil rights for so long, NCJW is especially sensitive to the dangers posed to all people by the action which has been taken.”