CAROLINA ISRAELITE: HOW HARRY GOLDEN MADE US CARE ABOUT JEWS, THE SOUTH, AND CIVIL RIGHTS
Born Hershel Goldhirsch in present-day Ukraine, Harry Golden was a charming man, who tricked people out of money and reneged on promises, had a short career on Wall Street and served a prison sentence for mail fraud, yet was best known as an influential Jewish American writer and humorist, author of the 1958 national bestseller Only in America. Golden led a remarkable life intertwined with the rise of the civil rights movement, Jewish popular culture, and the sometimes precarious position of Jews in the South and across America during the 1950s.
During World War II, the cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur landed in Charlotte, North Carolina, and founded the Carolina Israelite newspaper, which was published into the 1960s. Golden’s writings on race relations and equal rights attracted a huge popular readership, and he used his celebrity status to editorialize for civil rights as the momentous story unfolded. Hartnett’s spirited chronicle captures Golden’s message of social inclusion for a new audience today.
Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. She worked as a journalist for more than thirty years in New England and the Pacific Northwest.
Co-sponsored by the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture.