Harry Golden, a writer and retired North Carolina newspaper publisher who fought bigotry with humor in books, lectures and in his newspaper, The Carolina Israelite, died Friday after a long illness at his home in Charlotte, N.C. He was 79 years old.
Golden, an immigrant’s son who grew up on the Lower East Side of New York, once said of himself: “I am a thoroughly assimilated Jew. I am completely relaxed. I have honored my land and it has honored me. I have tried hard to be an American and a Jew in full measure, each to the enrichment of the other.”
His sardonic wit was displayed in a number of statements over the years. He once explained: “While Anglo-Saxons were still roaming the forests of Great Britain, painting their bodies blue and eating wild strawberries, the Jews already had diabetes.” Again, when he was asked how he managed to retain so many friends in the South despite his advocacy of civil rights, he replied: “I get away with my ideas in the South because no Southerner takes me — a Jew, a Yankee and a radical — seriously. They mostly think of a Jew as a substitute Negro, anyway.”
PLAN FOR INTEGRATION
Golden made national headlines when he suggested the “Golden Vertical Negro Plan.” He noted that Negroes and whites were not in conflict as long as they stood in the same lines at bank tellers’ windows, walked through the same stores and wheeled carts through the same supermarkets. Therefore, to uphold the Supreme Court on integration, his plan called for Negroes and whites to relate to each other standing up, instead of sitting down at the same lunch counters or in schools “since no one in the South pays the slightest attention to a Vertical Negro.”
Golden was the author of a number of books, including “Only in America,” “For 2 Cents Plain,” “En-
joy, Enjoy,” “The Spirit of the Ghetto,” “The Israelis,” “Golden Book of Jewish Humor,” “The Greatest Jewish City in the World,” and “Travels Through Jewish America.” He was a member of B’nai B’rith, the American Jewish Congress, and received the Man of the Year Award from Temple Beth El in New York City in 1962.
His parents, Leib and Anna (Klein) Goldhirsch were immigrants from Austria-Hungary. His father, a scholar and Hebrew teacher from Galicia, became an editor of the Jewish Daily Forward.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.