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#126 – Jacob Billikopf

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Billikopf had a long and distinguished career in public service work. He served as the superintendent of the United Jewish Charities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Kansas City, Missouri, before becoming the executive director of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, chairman of the National Labor Board for the Philadelphia region during the first years of the new deal.

In 1907, Billikopf moved on to Kansas City, Missouri, where he became superintendent of the United Jewish Charities, while contributing to the establishment of public baths, night schools, a municipal loan agency, and free public legal aid.

In 1914, the NAACP recruited Billikopf and other Jewish leaders for its board.

In 1916, Billikopf was elected President of the National Association of Jewish Workers

In 1917, Billikopf left Kansas City and came to New York City where he became the executive director of the American Jewish Relief Committee which raised $20M for the aid of displaced European Jews after World War I

#125 – Lillian Wald

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Lillian D. Wald was an American nurse, a founder of American Community Nursing1, and founder of the Henry Street Settlement in New York City, while also being an early advocate of having nurses in public schools.

By 1893, she left medical school and started to teach a home class on nursing for poor immigrant families on New York City’s Lower East Side at the Hebrew Technical School for Girls. Shortly thereafter, she began to care for sick Lower East Side residents as a visiting nurse. Around this time, she coined the term “public health nurse” to describe nurses whose work is integrated into public community.”2

Wald advocated for nursing in public schools. Her ideas led the New York Board of Health to organize the first public nursing system in the world. She was the first president of the National Organization for Public Health Nursing. She was the first president of the National Organization for Public Health Nursing.

#124 – Joel Spingarn

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Politics is one of Springarn’s lifetime passions. In 1908, as a Republican, he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1912 and 1916, he was a delegate to the national convention of the Progressive Party. At the first of those conventions, he failed his attempts to add a statement condemning racial discrimination to the party platform.

An influential liberal Republican, he helped realize the concept of a unified black movement by joining the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People shortly after founding and was one of the firest Jewish leaders of that organization, serving as a chairman of its board from 1913 to 1919, its reasurer from 1919 to 1930, and second president from 1930 until his death in 1930.1

Joel Springarn was also interested in gardening, and amassed the largest collection of clematis (250 species) and published the results of his research on the early history of landscape gardening and horticulture in Dutchess County, New York

#123 – Stanley Levison

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Stanley Levinson was a Jewish-American businessman and lawyer. A civil rights activist his entire life, he was a a good friend of Martin Luther King Jr., helping to write many of his speeches. Most notable was his work in drafting MLK’s most famous and iconic speech, “I Have a Dream.”

However, issues began to come up for Levison as he increased his profile. The FBI began monitored him for alleged Communist sympathies, and he began using Clarence Jones as a sort of middle-man in conducting his activies. Jones also assisted in the drafting of the “I Have a Dream” speech.


More resources:

15 Things You Might Not Know about the ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech


Dangerous Friendship: Stanley Levison, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Kennedy Brothers (JSTOR)