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AJCongress leader Maslow dies at 99

Former American Jewish Congress leader William Maslow died in his Manhattan home. The civil rights lawyer died last Friday at the age of 99. Born in Kiev in 1907, Maslow moved to the United States with his family in 1911. Maslow served as general counsel to the AJCongress from 1945 to 1960, and as executive director from 1960 to 1972, guiding the organization’s fight against discrimination to the court system. Under Maslow’s direction, the AJCongress fought housing restrictions on Jews in many American communities, as well as discriminatory hiring and admissions policies at U.S. companies and universities. His work for the black community included filing AJCongress’ amicus brief in Brown v. Board of Education and helping organize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Washington. He also founded the Commission on Law and Social Action, modeled after the ACLU and NAACP. A nephew of Paula Ben-Gurion, wife of Israel’s first prime minister, Maslow was a dedicated Zionist and helped lead Israel’s fight against the Arab economic boycott in the 1970s.