Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Anti-jewish Discrimination in American Hotels Declines Sharply

January 31, 1964
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Almost 60 per cent of the resort hotels in the United States which discriminated against Jews in 1957 no longer do so, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith reported here today.

Describing “this dramatic progress” toward the elimination of religious bias in resort hotels, the ADL said that a new national survey had found that only 9.8 per cent continued to discriminate against Jews in 1963, compared with 22.9 per cent in 1957.

The report was presented at the ADL’s 51st annual meeting by Eugene L. Sugarman, chairman of the discriminations committee of the ADL’s Civil Rights Division. The study was prepared under the supervision of Arnold Forster, the ADL civil rights director, by Harold Braverman and Albert Weiss of the ADL staff.

The study was based on an evaluation of the practices of 2,280 hotels and motels; 1,972 in the United States and the rest in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. For the total study group, the percentage of hotels discriminating against Jews was lower than in the United States itself–9.3 per cent.

The study showed a decline in discrimination in areas where laws against bias by places of accommodation have been passed, and almost a total absence of discrimination where the laws are enforced vigorously.

Almost half of the total number of discriminatory hotels–82 out of 193–are in the big resort states, Arizona and Florida. Florida, however, is not one of the most discriminatory states on a percentage basis. Both states have shown improvement since the 1957 survey when 45 per cent of Arizona hotels banned Jews, compared with the 1963 figure of 22 per cent, and when 24 per cent of Florida hotels banned Jews, compared with the 12 per cent figure of 1963. One-third of discriminatory hotels in Florida–22 out of 61 surveyed in 1963–are in Fort Lauderdale.

The proportion of discriminatory hotels in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin has dropped by more than a half from 34 per cent in 1957 to 16 per cent in 1963. Wyoming and Colorado dropped from 31 to 16 per cent, a change of more than two-thirds. North Carolina and Virginia had 50 per cent of hotels practicing bias in 1957. The proportion is now down to 20 per cent. Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire had no anti-bias laws in 1957 and a record of 56 per cent of its hotels barring Jews. By 1963, all three states had such laws and discriminatory hotels were down to 15 per cent.

In New York and Massachusetts, where anti-bias laws are among the oldest in the United States and vigorously enforced, only one hotel–in New York State–was evaluated as discriminatory against Jews.


Discriminatory Canadian hotels were cut from 28 per cent in 1957 to 14 per cent in 1963. In Bermuda almost every resort hotel discriminated against Jews, spurring educational campaigns for hotel owners and managers. By 1963 only one of the 15 Bermuda hotels surveyed was found to be continuing the practice. The study said that Mexico’s record–one case of bias in 1957 and none in 1963–was evidence that such bias was “an Anglo-Saxon heritage.”

Mr. Forster said that many hotels abandoned a “Christians Only” rule when it began to hurt convention business. Most resort hotels have a one-season individual guest patronage and seek conventions for the rest of the year. Hotels that banned Jewish guests during the season, had to give up the practice since practically all trade and professional groups included Jews.

Another development was that the convention Liaison Manual of the American Hotel Association, the American Society of Association Executives, the International Association of Convention Bureaus and similar groups, recommended that executives responsible for conventions should shun hotels that practice discrimination.

The study also found continuing discrimination in certain sections of New York against Jews seeking to buy cooperative apartments. The New York Commission for Human Rights has had four complaints of refusal to sell such cooperative apartments to Jews. Two were found to lack probable cause. Two others, one in Bronxville and one in Greenwich Village, were upheld by the commission and settled in conciliation action.

Recommended from JTA