You are on page 1of 12

Jessica Burrell

Before the turn of the 20th century, Jewish and African American people suffered
together as victims of racial persecution. Americas Jewish and black communities are
bound together through historical experiences. Jews eventually became more integrated
into the economy of America, despite being denied political and social rights. The once
empathetic relationship between African Americans and Jews grew bitter in the early
1900s, because blacks suffered from racial persecution from the white communities more
than Jews. After the re-emergence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1900s, the two groups
again reunited because of mutual persecution. In East Texas in the last half of the 19th
century and the first half of the 20th century, the Jewish communitys interaction with the
larger white community affected the Jewish and African American relations.
The Jewish community in East Texas flourished economically. Audrey Daniels
Kariel, the former mayor of Marshall, Texas father-in-law Louis Kariel, was the first
Jewish mayor and owner of Marshalls business The Hub Shoe Store. A prominent
Jewish couple in Marshall, Joe and Lena Weisman owned the department store, Weisman
and Company.1 Robert I. Cohen of Galveston, Texas was prominent in Galvestons
development and active businesses both in Galveston and Houston. He was the owner of
Cohens department store in Galveston, Foley Brothers dry goods store in Houston, and
the American Maid Flour Mills in Houston.2 From a Jewish family in Galveston, I. Harris
Kempner was the chairman of the board to the Texas Bank and Trust Company, R. Lee
Kempner as the president, and the other two brothers as directors.3 The Sanger Brothers,
1 Audrey Kariel, interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015.
2 Merchant Dies, Dallas Morning News, 1934.
3 Amazing Texas Kempner Estate Celebrates 50th Anniversary as State
Industrial. Dallas Morning News, 1944.
1

a well-known vehicle company in the 1800s, started after Isaac Sanger opened a general
store in McKinney in 1857 and Alex Sanger opened a store in Dallas in 1872. Fred
Florence was the president of the Republic National Bank in Dallas, the largest financial
institution in the South. Elsie Frankfurt designed and marketed dresses that
revolutionized the production of clothing for expectant mothers.4 The Jewish
philanthropist Max Glazer was the head of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. in Dallas.5
The Jewish community in East Texas flourished politically. Louis Kariel was
mayor of Marshall from 1935-1947, and Audrey Kariel was the mayor of Marshall from
1994-2001.6 Michael Seelingson was elected the first Jewish mayor of Galveston in
1853.7 Morris Lasker was elected to the state Senate in 1895 on a platform of better
cotton prices and improved marketing in the Galveston Cotton Industry.8 Dr. Albert M.
Levy, a prominent Jew, was recognized as a surgeon who served with the Texas forces in
1836-1837. Jacob de Cordova, a Jewish man, was an early member of the Texas
Legislature which secured the first Texas charter for the International Order of Odd
Fellows.9
The Jewish community in East Texas flourished socially. The Jewish people have
the motto Tikkum Olam, meaning to repair the world, or to make everywhere a better
place.10 Audrey Kariel worked to support the library, and improve the social conditions
and services towards all citizens, white and black. The Jewish community in Marshall
4 Jews have Served State in Many Ways. Dallas Morning News, 1974.
5 Funeral Services For Max Glazer Scheduled Sunday. Dallas Morning
News, 1962.
6 Audrey Kariel. Interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015
7 Weddings on Fall, Winter Calendar. Dallas Morning New, 1961.
8 Movement In Right Direction. Dallas Morning News, 1914.
9 Jews have Served State in Many Ways. Dallas Morning News, 1974.
10 Audrey Kariel, interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015
2

formed The Hebrew Benevolent Society, the BNai Brith Reuben Lodge No. 257, the
Hebrew Ladies Aid Society, and the Temple Sisterhood which all contributed to their
members and to the Marshall community. In the Texas population census of 1930, a large
portion of the population was Jewish. The religious census of 1926 numbered the Jewish
congregations in Texas as 39,327.11 Julius Schepps, an outstanding Dallas civic leader,
was rewarded with the Linz Award and the Bnai Brith Humanitarianism Award.12 At a
meeting held in Dallas, J. K. Hexter was appointed chairman of Dallas Jewish Charities,
and during the conference stated that he wanted to unite all Jewish charities under one
central organization so that they could co-operate and have better results in their charity
and other social service work.13
The white communities of East Texas were very supportive towards the Jewish
Community during and after World War II. During and after World War II, numerous
fundraiser drives provided aid to the Jewish people, including the United Jewish Appeal
held at the Temple Moses Montefiore. The Marshall residents donated generously to the
drives, and the general public sympathized with the Jews in the persecution their people
faced during the war.14 Governor Shivers of Texas asked for all Texans to observe the
World Jewish Childs Day in 1955 to call attention to the resettlement of 60,000 Jewish
youth in Israel.15
The Jewish communities in East Texas had mostly positive interactions with white
Christians. The white Christian communities recognized the Jewish origins to the
11 Texas Population in Four Large Classes; 66 per Cent of Native
Parentage Stock. Dallas Morning News, 1931.
12 Jews have Served State in Many Ways. Dallas Morning News, 1974.
13 State Conference Is Proposed. Dallas Morning News, 1915.
14 Audrey Kariel, interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015
15 Austin Wire. Dallas Morning News, 1955.
3

Christian religion, through old Hebrew texts, Hebrew blood in Jesus linage, and the
Hebrew race being the Nobel race that gave Christians the Holy Scriptures.16 Some of the
white Christians in East Texas recognized that religious prejudices blinds eyes to the
good in others, the inspiration they offer, and the help they provide.17
Although the Jewish community and white communities respected each other in
East Texas, the Jews were careful to keep their religion separate from the Christian
religion. The Jewish religion perceived the Christian-Jewish Movement as a threat,
because the Jewish Rabbis used New Testament Scriptures, the synagogues were
beginning to resemble Christian churches, and some Rabbis spoke like the Christian
ministers. 18 The Dallas Morning News stated that in respect towards the Jewish
observance of the last day of the week being the Holy Sabbath, instead of the first day of
the week; the Jewish people were not forced by white people to observe the Christian
Sabbath.19 In respect towards the Jewish religion, some ministers allowed Rabbis to teach
Christian students about the Jewish culture and religious beliefs. Dr. W. Paul McLean, the
assistant professor of religion at Southern Methodist University, held a seminar at Temple
Shalom, where Rabbi Saul P. Besser conducted services and discussion to teach Dr.
McLeans students about Eastern religions.20
There were significant amounts of interaction between the Jewish community and
the white Christian community in Marshall. Audrey Kariel, a Jewish teenager, attended
the Methodist church of Marshall and played the piano for a revival because her friends
went to the church even though she did not hold the same religious beliefs. Jewish
16
17
18
19
20

Science And The Bible. Dallas Morning News, 1898.


Preacher Answers Attacks by Klan. Dallas Morning News, 1922.
The Christian Jew. The Jewish Herald, 1908.
Sunday Observance. Dallas Morning News, 1886.
Temple Sets 3rd Seminar On Religion. Dallas Morning News, 1973.
4

students attended the Catholic School in Marshall, and they were very few conflicts
between the integration of the Christian and Jewish religions. The Rabbi from Temple
Moses Montefiore spoke to the leaders of the Catholic School in Marshall about sending
a cross home with his daughter as an award for Best Pupil. The leaders of the Catholic
School changed the rewards for Jewish students after realizing that it was offensive to a
Jewish family to receive a cross necklace as a reward.21
The majority of white communities in East Texas accepted and respected people
in the Jewish community for their economic success and treated them as social equals.
Jewish students and white students both attended the all-white school in Marshall, while
the black students attended the all-black school.22 The white community recognized the
Jewish peoples success in the economy, and intelligence in business management. In
1912, Dr. Alexander Johnson, a sociologist of Indianapolis, Indiana, made an inspection
trip to Dallas to advise and critique the economy, and he advised them to use the Jewish
Loan Association in New York as an example of running successful charitable
businesses.23
The interactions within small towns of East Texas between the white and Jewish
communities were mostly positive, because people were more concerned with
distinguishing between people with different skin color. Most of the white people
befriended the people of the Jewish communities, without showing any prejudice towards
their cultural and religious practices. A Jewish girl Della Dopplemeyer, daughter of
Darrel Dopplemeyer, had a childhood Irish friend and classmate at the Catholic School in
Marshall who would often come over to Dellas home. Later when Dellas friend grew
21 Audrey Kariel, interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015
22 Natural Resources In Harrison County. Dallas Morning News, 1922.
23 Dr. Johnson Offers Criticism Of Dallas. Dallas Morning News, 1912.
5

older and moved away, she was shocked to see the negativity that the rest of the world
felt towards the Jewish community in comparison to the friendliness of East Texas people
towards the Jews.24
The Jewish community had some interaction with the African Americans in East
Texas. Jewish people experienced some persecution similar to the African Americans
during the resurrection of the KKK in the twentieth century. The Jews relationship with
the African Americans in East Texas was hindered by the Jews interaction with the white
community.
Both the Jewish people and the African American people were persecuted, but the
African Americans were persecuted more in East Texas. The persecution of the African
American population in East Texas was mostly by the KKK. Lynching affected the
African American community in East Texas much more than the Jewish Community.
Newspaper articles throughout East Texas record lynchings administered towards the
black people by the Klu Klux Klan. Texas was the leading state in which such lynchings
were executed.25 Walter Davis, a black man from Marshall, was hung on the charges of
shooting Constable Chas. After Hayes and Sid Kessler attempted to arrest Davis brother,
Mich Davis. Mich resisted arrest and was hit on the head by a pistol. Walter then, grabbed
a gun and shot at the Constable sixteen times according to The Evening Messenger.
Walter was arrested on October 1, 1903 and on October 2, 1903 he was hung by the KKK
mob for murder.26 A black man located in Longview had a quarrel with a white man, Carl

24 Audrey Kariel, interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015


25 Texas Against Leads Nation In Lynching. The Dallas Express, 1922.
26 Work Of Mob. The Evening Messenger, 1903.
6

Anderson, and was placed in jail for the night until the KKK mob came to execute him by
gun shot at three oclock in the morning.27
The KKK persecuted and spoke against the Jewish community as well as the African
American community. The interview of a KKK member states that the US was created
for the Caucasian race only, not the Indians, Italians, or Jews.28 A parade was staged in
Dallas by the KKK in 1922 where they were hostile to all Jewish, Catholic, foreign-born,
and black taxpayers and citizens in the city. The propaganda of the KKK is filled with
slander of Jews, Catholics, and foreign-born.29
The Jewish sentiment supported African Americans, but there was not much public
support of the African Americans in East Texas by the Jewish people due to their
restrictions in relations with the white community. While the Jews interacted and
sympathized with the African Americans in persecution; the Jewish communities did little
to support the African American communities during the late 19th century and early 20th
century. Due to the minimal interaction between the Jews and African Americans, the
Jews were restricted by how much they could defend the African Americans. When the
Jewish people saw injustice done towards the African American people, it was in the
Jews best interest, being integrated into the East Texan white communities, not to speak
up against the majority and threaten their social and economic standing in the society.
The African American communities did have a little interaction with the Jewish
communities in East Texas; though their sympathy for the persecution of one another was
evident even if the Jewish people was restricted on defending the African American
27 Negro Lynched At Longview. The Evening Messenger, 1905.
28 Grand Kleagle Of The K.K.K. Gives Interview. Marshall Morning
News, 1922.
29 The Right To The Streets. Dallas Morning News, 1922.
7

people. Rabbi Gerald J. Klien of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas lectured on Judaism at


Bishop College in Marshall, Texas.30 Relationships within the communities of East Texas
in businesses, schools, and work places show little interaction between Jews and African
Americans. The emotional connection between the black community and the Jewish
community was that they were connected in their similar historical experiences in
slavery. The blacks sympathized with the Jews since the tragedies they also faced during
the Holocaust. Audrey Kariel of Marshall, says that she did not realize until she was older
that she went to the all-white school in Corsicana, Texas while there were black students
in the all-black school located eleven miles away whom she had never met.
Some friendships persisted between individuals in the Jewish communities and
African American communities of East Texas. A Rabbi before WWII, friend of the Wiley
Colleges President, was invited to give a sermon to a black church in Marshall, Texas.
There was talk by the white community against the Rabbis actions and friendship with
the black man, but the president of the Jewish temple, Temple Moses Montefiore in
Marshall, Texas approved of his friendship and to speak at the black church. Audrey
Kariel befriended Price T. Young of Marshall, a leader in the black community. Kariel
and Young worked together to make the Marshall Library public instead of private. So the
library would include everyone regardless of race. Joe and Lena Weisman employed a
young black man, Raymond Hall, who helped them around their home. During Halls
childhood, he borrowed books from Mr. Weismans library and the two met to discuss the
books. The Weismans later paid for Halls schooling, which enabled him to become the
Head of the Sociology Department at Dartmouth in New Hampshire.31
30 Rabbi to Lecture. Dallas Morning News, 1956.
31 Audrey Kariel, interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015
8

After the desegregation of Marshall High School, some hostility from the white
students was evident following the Jewish communities acceptance towards the African
American students. Nancy Kariel, Audrey and Louis Kariels oldest daughter, attended
the all-white Marshall High School until it was desegregated and merged with the allblack High School, Pimberton High School, her senior year 1970-1971. Nancy was the
yearbook editor; she changed the yearbooks annual colors to integrate the Pimberton
yearbooks school colors, to recognize the students. Nancy recalled negative responses
from another white student regarding her decision. Nancy also mentioned conversations
she had with the new black students regarding the way they perceived one anothers
appearances. One black, female student mentioned to Nancy one day in their yearbook
class, All you white people look the same, and Nancy replied to the black, female
student, All you black people look the same too.32
The editor of The Dallas Express advises African Americans to look at the Jewish
communities for an example of race advancement. The editor stated about the Jewish
community, Criticism enhances his ambitions and sense of pride. Oppression has been
his food for centuries, and his answer to his oppressors is given not in words, not in
retaliation, but in deeds; which carry the voice of many waters. The article says that a
Jew does not complain about being shut out of a business or industry, but takes it as a
challenge to compete in those businesses or industries. He is not exercised of the
accusation that he is a selfish race. He just constitutes to preserve his race. He pretends to
be nothing but a Jew, and he is that with every fiber of his being.33

32 Nancy Kariel, interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015


33 The Example Of The Jew. The Dallas Express, 1921.
9

Despite the Jewish Communitys restrictions of being able to defend the African
American communities, they still defied the behavior and beliefs held by the East Texas
white communities by standing up for their moral convictions of how to respect the
African American people. A young white student from East Texas Baptist College was
the manager of the ETBC football team. Every year he was given the task to bring the old
equipment to the all-black school in Marshall, Texas. He felt convicted and seen it as
unfair towards the black students, because the white school got new equipment every
year and the black students received used equipment. After the boy became a Christian,
he started working at The Hub Shoe Store owned by Louis Kariel in Marshall, selling
shoes while going to school to become a minister. During the desegregation of Little
Rock, Arkansas, a group of white men were in the Hub criticized the President of the
United States for allowing the black students to enter a white school. The boy spoke up
against their comments against the black students and the President, and the white men
threatened to get him fired from his job if the President was not impeached. Later, Louis
Kariel asked the boy about the conflict. After Kariel understood what happened, he
assured the boy that he was not wrong for standing up for the black community and the
president. He assured him that he would have said the same thing in defense of the black
students, and that he would not fire him for standing up for what he knew was morally
right.34
In contrast to the national experience, East Texas Jewish communities were limited in
their interaction and support of African American communities because of their
relationship with the white communities. As opposed to the urban areas of the northern
and eastern United States, the white community in East Texas accepted their Jewish
34 Audrey Kariel, interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015
10

neighbors. Despite the generally anti-African American sentiment of the larger white
community, however, Jews and African Americans managed to build relationships and
respected one another.

Bibliography:
Audrey Kariel, interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015
Dallas Morning News, 1886-1974.
Marshall Morning News, 1922.
Nancy Kariel, interview by author, Marshall, TX, October 17, 2015
The Dallas Express, 1921-1922.
The Evening Messenger, 1905.

11

The Jewish Herald, 1908.

12