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Widespread Discrimination Against Jews Found in Michigan Clubs, Resorts

October 18, 1961
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Widespread discrimination against Jews in Michigan clubs, resorts and hotels and denominational religious practices in public schools in many parts of the state were condemned at the annual meeting of the Michigan Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

A survey of membership policies of private clubs in 14 communities outside of Detroit was described by Judge Burton R. Shifman, chairman of the ADL Research Committee. He reported that of the 29 clubs studied, 16 maintained policies of excluding Jewish members. Ten of the 16 refused to accept any Jews and six maintained strict quota limits on Jewish members.

He said that in some cases, the exclusionary policy was included in the constitutional provisions of the club and that in others, where a quota was maintained, the policies were unofficial and fully understood only by club officials. The survey found that such policies were unrelated to the type of club. The survey covered country clubs, golf clubs and boating clubs.

C. Vernon Leopold, an attorney, reported that new patterns of evasion were being devised in Michigan to avoid direct collision with the Michigan Fair Accommodation legislation. He called for legislation to convert the present Fair Employment Practices Commission into a state-wide civil rights agency and to extend the duties and authority of the commission into the field of fair accommodation.

Irving Feldman, chairman of the ADL Committee on Emerging Issues in Church-State Relationships, reported on a survey of 26 municipalities in all parts of Michigan. He said the survey found distribution of Bibles through public schools, celebration of Christmas and Easter in such a manner as to “virtually comprise church services”; Bible classes during school time on school property, use of clergymen for religious instruction in classrooms, and school Baccalaureate services, frequently compulsory and often held in churches.

Circuit Judge Victor J. Baum, new chairman of the Michigan Regional Advisory Board of the ADL, told the delegates that special care was essential in drafting a bill of rights at the Michigan Constitutional Convention now in progress. “With other freedom-loving Americans, we want a meaningful bill of rights which will shield the liberties and opportunities of minorities,” he said, He added that alertness was needed against “any move to weaken the Bill of Rights or to limit opportunity for minority groups.”

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