October 13, 2016

"Mr. Greenberg was neither the first white nor the first Jew to work for the civil rights of blacks. But he was one of the most powerful white figures..."

"... in the movement in the 1960s and ’70s, a distinction that led to friction with both blacks and Jews. Still, Mr. Greenberg helped achieve through the courts what the political system had denied Southern blacks: voting rights, equal pay for equal work, impartial juries, equal access to medical care, equal access to schools and other benefits of citizenship broadly enjoyed by whites."

From the NYT obituary for the great civil rights lawyer Jack Greenberg.
When [Thurgood] Marshall joined the federal bench in 1961, he named Mr. Greenberg to succeed him as director-counsel of the [ NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc.], passing over [Robert L.] Carter and other blacks on the staff and incurring their resentment.

Tensions with blacks surfaced soon after Mr. Greenberg took over the fund. The New York Amsterdam News said the appointment could just as well have gone to a black lawyer. Some thought that the day had passed in which a black civil rights organization needed the leadership of whites, no matter how well intended.

Mr. Greenberg played down the friction, telling the journalist Louis Lomax that “civil rights is not a Negro cause; it is a human cause.”...

A painful episode for Mr. Greenberg came in 1982, at Harvard Law School, when the Harvard Black Law Students Association and others objected to his teaching a civil rights course jointly, on a visiting basis, with Julius L. Chambers, a black lawyer and educator. The group called on students to boycott the course, which had previously been taught by Derrick Bell. Mr. Chambers and Mr. Greenberg taught the course anyway, and many prominent blacks came to Mr. Greenberg’s defense...

Mr. Greenberg’s friction with Jewish groups centered on his support for affirmative action. Leaders of the Anti-Defamation League thought he had gone too far in embracing the policy as a remedy for racial discrimination in the job market. They saw it as discrimination against whites and believed it would lead to a system of racial quotas....
Isn't it interesting that he got in trouble with blacks and Jews — blacks, because affirmative action wasn't done (in replacing Marshall at the Fund), and Jews, because they remembered how quotas had been used in the past to put a limit on the number of Jews in institutions of higher learning?

35 comments:

Lyle Smith said...

Amen to this man.

Ann Althouse said...

I remember when the Harvard law students protested this man and wanted to boycott his class. Imagine, after all he had done and all he had to offer and even with a black man co-teaching, they got outraged that he should teach a course in civil rights.

Think about that!

Bay Area Guy said...

The Left deserves credit for this cause. They were on the correct side of history on this one.

Achilles said...

“civil rights is not a Negro cause; it is a human cause.”...

This is what we want it to be. This country is about giving everyone a fair shot.

But progressives thrust racism and spoils into this cause to keep us divided and distracted. On purpose.

Achilles said...

Blogger Bay Area Guy said...
"The Left deserves credit for this cause. They were on the correct side of history on this one."

Are you being sarcastic? This is absolutely untrue.

Hagar said...

Well, it did lead to a system of racial quotas.

The Jews had reason to oppose that. It was not that long ago that Harvard proposed that the Ivy League set an official limit on the Jewish students admitted. And Harvard was the honest one in the crowd; they all already did, but would not admit it.

BTW, in 1923, J.P. Morgan Jr., "Jack," lamented that J.P. Morgan was almost the last "White" house on Wall Street.

Lyle Smith said...

People don't give a shit Ann. Clans are ascendant!

Hagar said...

Of course, in today's world you can just "identify" as either a "Jew" or a "Black" or whatever, as may suit your purpose, and thus get accepted.

Brando said...

To he racialists, it was never about equality, it was always about racial spoils.

And the Jews were right, though now racial quotas mostly hurt Asians.

In a less direct way, they harm blacks, and society at large. But if you measure racial progress as your team getting more of the spoils, it's a roaring success for the favored races.

Brando said...

And the Supreme Court had several options in the last decade to put an end to this spectacle, and each time at the hands of Republican appointees they balked.

Bob Ellison said...

There were some left-leaning Republicans back in the 60s, including Richard Nixon, a generally authoritarian leftist. Presumably that lean influenced the overwhelming GOP vote in favor of the Civil Rights Act.

But yes, it's foolish to fall for "the left deserves credit". They do not. They opposed, because the left wants power, not justice.

Qwinn said...

A higher proportion of Republicans than Democrats voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In fact, if not for Republicans, it would have failed to pass. The perception that the Left deserves ANY credit is one of the most Orwellian rewrites of history IN history. Stalin seethes with envy from hell.

Achilles said...

The left is responsible for slavery, Jim Crow, segregated schools, eugenics, resegregation of schools, modern eugencs, and divisive racial spoils systems. Is anyone really going to argue the left wants racial healing?

Sebastian said...

"I remember when the Harvard law students protested this man and wanted to boycott his class. Imagine, after all he had done and all he had to offer and even with a black man co-teaching, they got outraged that he should teach a course in civil rights. Think about that!" After thinking about it, I conclude that, if even this man didn't pass muster in the eyes of progressive race-baiting BLMers avant la lettre, no one to his right will. I conclude that civil rights are no longer a human cause, they are a tribal cause. I conclude that any concessions for any racial grievances will never satisfy the race scammers, so why try?

I think the obit deals in false equivalence. Greenberg got much more grief from blacks than from Jews. But he was the real deal. An honest liberal -- those were the days.

Achilles said...

Blogger Brando said...
"And the Supreme Court had several options in the last decade to put an end to this spectacle, and each time at the hands of Republican appointees they balked."

Other than trying to end divisive and racist racial spoils systems what could you possibly mean with this foolishness?

Brando said...

"Other than trying to end divisive and racist racial spoils systems what could you possibly mean with this foolishness?"

I think the institution is entrenched. We may never get rid of it. Look at Kennedy--willing to vote against it when his vote wasn't the swing vote, but once it came down to him he balks and keeps it in place.

I think it's the same thing with Roberts and the ACA. These justices are skittish about rocking the boat. GOP needs to learn how to vet their nominees better. They won't, though. Better to just say "all we need is one more on the bench!"

Peter said...

"“civil rights is not a Negro cause; it is a human cause.”...

From a time when most assumed the existence of universal principles. Unlike today, where truth is expressed as "speaking as a ..." because all truth is presumed to be relative (and never more so than when considering one's identity-group identifications).


Hagar said...

No, no, Achilles, in the old days, the Democratic Party was the conservative party, actually reactionary, and the Republicans were the firebrand liberals.
In the post WWII era, this was still true of the "Solid South," but the northern Democrats had turned "liberal," more accurately stated "left," and the Republicans were split between libertarian conservatives and "Rockefeller liberals."

n.n said...

Diversity. One step forward. Class diversity. Two steps back.

cubanbob said...

Ann Althouse said...
I remember when the Harvard law students protested this man and wanted to boycott his class. Imagine, after all he had done and all he had to offer and even with a black man co-teaching, they got outraged that he should teach a course in civil rights.

Think about that!

10/13/16, 11:09 AM"

Yes indeed. No good deed goes unpunished.

cubanbob said...

Hagar said...
No, no, Achilles, in the old days, the Democratic Party was the conservative party, actually reactionary, and the Republicans were the firebrand liberals.
In the post WWII era, this was still true of the "Solid South," but the northern Democrats had turned "liberal," more accurately stated "left," and the Republicans were split between libertarian conservatives and "Rockefeller liberals."

10/13/16, 11:47 AM"

In 1957 Eisenhower proposed a civil rights act and then Democrat Senate Majority Leader LBJ nixed it.

Achilles said...

@Hagar

The difference you are talking about is liberal vs. progressive. Liberals believe in freedom in the classical sense. Progressives believe in statist control up to and including who works, who gets money, who applies capital, and who breeds.

The republicans were classic liberals once but have slowly been infested by progressives like the Bushes and Romneys.

The democrats have always been about serfdom and slavery under different names.

Hagar said...

A true conservative believes that man is born sinful, goes from the stench of the didie to the stench of the shroud, this world is a vale of tears, and to survive is all a man can do with lots of prayer and hard work, whereas a liberal thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, so let us all eat drink and be merry; the Good Lord will surely take care of us tomorrow, and if He does not, we can always tax the savings of the conservatives!

Big Mike said...

Mr. Greenberg was neither the first white nor the first Jew to work for the civil rights of blacks.

No. Before him came Goodman and Schwerner. I wonder whether anyone younger than me (and I'm a septuagenarian) remembers what they did.

buwaya said...

"I remember when the Harvard law students protested this man and wanted to boycott his class"

Boycott Harvard.

"It was not that long ago that Harvard proposed that the Ivy League set an official limit on the Jewish students admitted"

As they now do with Asians.

All in all, this mans career (Greenberg) seems like the epitome of unintended consequences.

As per Angelo Codevilla, Civil Rights ate the constitution. Granted, mainly because it was used as a wedge to power by all sorts of self-seekers, and it was impossible or inconvenient, due to the mantle of moral authority, to oppose anything on any grounds. This seems right, to a non-specialist.

After the Republic
http://www.claremont.org/crb/basicpage/after-the-republic/

Michael said...

Big Mike

Goodman and Schwerner were in the early 60s. Greenburg was at work in Civil Rights in the 50s.

God rest his soul.

Hagar said...

Back in those halcyon days I also said that thge difference between the parties was that "with the Republicans, you worry that they seem to not have any solutions for our problems; with the Democrats you are afraid that they may think of something."

And they certainly have, haven't they?

Big Mike said...

@Michael, I stand corrected.

readering said...

I was at Columbia while Greenberg was an adjunct. Regretted I never took one of his courses. He was and has always been revered there and it was painful observing the flak he got from within the civil rights movement. I suppose it happens in all movements involving passionate, strong-willed individuals.

YoungHegelian said...

@readering,

....it was painful observing the flak he got from within the civil rights movement. I suppose it happens in all movements involving passionate, strong-willed individuals.

Oh, what booyah. It had nothing to do with "strong-willed individuals" & had everything to do with the rise of black power/black nationalism in the 60s. The more radical blacks turned on their white supporters in multiple cases as they pressed not only for blacks to run the organization, but also to turn towards a militancy that had few supporters even on the white hard left, much less mainstream liberalism. the most famous case is that of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

readering said...

Read the Times obit. Judge Carter taught a course at Yale while I was there (I had no regrets not taking that one.) He was hardly a black power/black nationalist.

Guildofcannonballs said...

It's only natural for those who feel they are victims to fear fear.

As Americans are in fact the victim of all who enter the country illegally, though some eventually tilt the scales back toward the American Citizen beneficiary side, we are hence justified to be scared shitless victims.

Also, I am putting all Leftists that warrant it back in chains, so there's your response to any street-grade "paranoia" diagnosis.

"And although it seems Heaven sent,
we ain't ready to see a black president." - Tupac circa 1996

YoungHegelian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

I remember when the Harvard law students protested this man and wanted to boycott his class. Imagine, after all he had done and all he had to offer and even with a black man co-teaching, they got outraged that he should teach a course in civil rights.

Think about that!


I thought about it. It's actually a form of equality. Blacks have just as much a right to be arrogant and foolish as whites.

Terry said...

Hillary's 'deplorable' remarks were typical Democrat civil rights blather. Civil rights are to be portioned out by the central government based on political considerations. There will always be some group of irredeemable deplorables. Democrats convince the majority that these deplorables are preventing the nation from progressing towards its manifest destiny. These deplorables will be identified, isolated, and their political rights curtailed.
Affirmative action is a tool used by Democrats to accomplish this. It is racial discrimination legalized, codified, and enforced by the Justice Department.
The Dem party hasn't changed since the days of Jackson and Calhoun.