Harry Golden, Charlotte’s interpreter of Jewishness

“[Charlotte’s] Baptists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians counted on [Harry] Golden to provide the Jewish view on everything from Noah’s ark to Israel bonds.

“True, it was sometimes irritating to give his all to a speech in  front of an appreciative church audience only to be asked afterward if he knew ‘Mr. Cohen, who lived next door in New Orleans.’ ‘It never ceases to amaze me how so many Gentiles believe that all Jews meet in some cellar once a week,’ he wrote in 1953.

“But Golden was more often amused by such incidents, which were rooted in efforts to be hospitable and correct. ‘These Southerners are deeply concerned over the possibility that  of an “oversight” occurring when there are Jewish guests at their annual banquets. If pork is on the menu, they automatically serve you chicken, without comment or inquiry,’ he wrote. ‘The fact that the chicken was usually fried in butter or lard was beside the point.’ ”

— From “Carolina Israelite: How Harry Golden Made Us Care about Jews, the South, and Civil Rights” by Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett (2015)

 

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