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The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Albert M. Franco papers

Repository: University of Washington. Special Collections Division

Collection Description (Extant): [1978 interview summary] Franco describes his parents, who emigrated from the Isle of Rhodes in 1909 and 1910. They came to Seattle and started a produce business in Pike Place Market. His father was active in the Jewish Welfare Society, the Sephardic Talmud Torah, and the Seattle Progressive Fraternity. His mother was an early president of the Women's Auxiliary of Ezra Bessaroth. Franco talks about his family's home on Yesler Way and his academic education. He describes his Jewish education at the Sephardic Talmud Torah at Ezra Bessaroth and at Temple de Hirsch Religious School. He recalls a debate over forming a Jewish day school. He also discusses friction between Sephardim and Eastern European Ashkenazim, and the blackballing of Sephardic students by Jewish fraternities and sororities until the end of World War II. He notes that German Reform Jews led by Rabbi Koch were helpful to local Sephardim. Franco describes Sephardic youth groups of the 1920s: the Young Hebrew Literary Club (later the Junior Sephardic League), Seattle Progressive Fraternity, and the Ladino theater. He recounts meetings at the Settlement Center and efforts to amalgamate the two Sephardic synagogues. Franco discusses his involvement in B'nai B'rith. He drew up the 1947 charter for their Hillel Foundation at the University of Washington. He was also active in their Anti-Defamation League, and talks about the League's efforts to establish the Washington State Fair Employment Practices Commission and their support for the Black community, stressing the importance of cooperation among minorities. Franco also served as president for the American Jewish Committee and compares this organization with the Anti-Defamation League. He describes his role in AJC intergroup relations. He also mentions his work with the Federated Jewish Fund in the in early 1960s, his chairmanship of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation (1966-1970), his three terms on the Mayor's Human Rights Commission (Seattle), and his service in U.S. Army Intelligence during World War II. Franco closes the interview explaining the history of Zionism among Sephardism.

[1982 interview summary] Franco explains the Zionist movement among the Sephardim and how he was introduced to Zionism through his uncle, Dr. Issac Mossafer. He reviews the history of the two Sephardic congregations, Ezra Bessaroth and Bikur Holim, and the failed attempts to merge them. Also, he tells the story of Ezra Bessaroth's move to the Seward Park neighborhood in the early 1950s. He explains that when he joined B'nai B'rith in 1939, it was a forum for intense debate on subjects such as Zionism and the proposed Jewish Community Council, and he discusses some of the issues and people involved in these debates. Franco discusses the establishment of the Jewish Community Center in 1947 and names Norman Davis as key in the effort. Dr. Norman Clein, Harold Poll, and Franco himself were also actively involved. Franco gives reasons why the Federated Jewish Fund became the Jewish Federation, changing from a purely fund-raising agency to a federation and council of Jewish organizations. He talks about his appointment to chair the Community Relations Committee of the Federation. Franco was also involved in both the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith and the American Jewish Committee, two organizations involved in civil rights efforts. He talks about each group's involvement in anti-discrimination issues in business and employment and names activists in each organization. He notes that the AJC was more concerned with club discrimination than the ADL, and discusses this issue.

Date(s): 1935-1982

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: Manuscript Coll. No.: 2834

Extent: 4 sound cassettes plus 2 items and 1 transcript

Finding Aid URL: http://digital.lib.washington.edu/dlxs/cgi/f/findaid/findaid-idx?c=uwfa;cc=uwfa;view=text;didno=FrancoAlbertM2834.xml External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Albert M. Franco

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights

Subjects:

African Americans--Employment
African Americans--Relations with Jews
Anti-defamation League
Civil rights movements--Washington (State)
Civil rights--Religious aspects--Judaism
Jews--Washington (State)--Seattle

Genres:

Interviews
Sound recordings
Transcripts

 

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   May 15, 2015
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