Michigander Frank Murphy was mayor of Detroit, governor of Michigan, and a United States Supreme Court justice. He is likely most famous today for penning his World War II-era dissent of Korematsu v. United States, a decision that blasted the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans as racist.
In this three-part lecture series, author and 2021 Michigan Historical Society award-winner Greg Zipes explores Murphy’s connections to the Jewish community in Michigan and beyond. Murphy and his Jewish allies found common cause in promoting a vision of America that stressed religious inclusiveness, and a welcoming attitude toward immigrants and the traditionally oppressed. A Catholic, Murphy was vocal in condemning antisemitism both in the United States and abroad, particularly as the storm clouds gathered in Europe in the late 1930s.
This three-part series covers Murphy’s rise through the political ranks in Michigan, his cultivation of various ethnic and religious communities, his ties to specific Jewish figures, including Maurice Sugar (UAW chief counsel from 1937 to 1946), Myra Wolfgang (labor activist), and Felix Frankfurter (Supreme Court justice), how they aided or hindered his policies and judicial philosophies, and how Murphy’s values led him to speak out in the face of evil. In advance of the lecture, you may wish to check out Zipes' book, Justice and Faith, the Frank Murphy Story (University of Michigan Press, 2021). It is available on Amazon or at University of Michigan Press (enter code UMGLMURPHY for a 30-percent discount and free shipping).
Need assistance joining the Zoom call? Email Kara: kschuchman(at)jhsmichigan.org.