Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Judge Jonah Goldstein Quits Bar Association Because It Bars Negro from Membership

April 11, 1943
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Judge Jonah J. Goldstein, American Jewish leader, has resigned from the American Bar Association because of its failure to admit Francis E. Rivers, Assistant District Attorney and a leader of the Negro community in New York, it became known today.

Mr. Rivers, a Phi Beta Kappa at Yale, a graduate of Columbia Law School and a lieutenant in World War I, was proposed for membership by Judge Goldstein last November. He is a member of the New York Bar Association which accepted him after the late Louis Marshall threatened to resign if the Association discriminated against Negroes.

Judge Goldstein’s resignation promptly drew a statement from William B. Herlands, Commissioner of Investigations, that he, too, will withdraw if the association fails to admit Mr. River. Arthur Garfield Hays, national director of the American Civil Liberties Union, announced that he, also, has resigned from the Association in support of Judge Goldstein’s protest and called upon other members to resign.

In his letter of resignation, made public today, Judge Goldstein said: “I have been a member of the American Bar Association for twenty-nine years and desire to continue my membership if I can do so without stultifying myself. To be a member of a professional organization which bars Negroes from its membership would in essence be contributing to the perpetuation of bigotry. This I refuse to do. Unless I receive concrete evidence that the association is not pursuing this discriminatory and un-American practice, you may regard this letter as my resignation from the membership of the American Bar Association.”

Recommended from JTA