“[Louis] Kittner was a hard worker and an ambitious businessman, and within five years of moving to town [in 1914], the shoe repair shop grew into a retail shoe store and eventually became Kittner’s Department Store, a Weldon mainstay and destination for shoppers from all over northeastern North Carolina, until 1998….
“Kittner was at work [in the shoe shop] when a small group of prominent local businessmen came in and said they had a personal matter to discuss: They wanted to invite him to join their club. What was the name of the club, Louis asked.
“The Ku Klux Klan, they told him….”
— From “Why Was This Humble Jewish Shoemaker Asked To Join the Ku Klux Klan?” by
“Despite [my] being a professional Jew perpetually in the spotlight, North Carolina and its legions of Christian soldiers have been kind to me and my mishpucha, my extended family. We are, after all, the original chosen people who received the covenant at Sinai, begat the Apostles, and perfected the art of curing pastrami.
“They have made me feel at home…. Carolina is nothing like the treacherous land of exile our Eastern European ancestors endured; Scripture-quoting plumbers are not the sword-wielding Cossacks of yesteryear. But should Jesus ever return, I fear that all bets are off.”
— From “I Survived Teaching Jewish Studies in North Carolina” by Jarrod Tanny in the Jewish Daily Forward (March 27)
Tanny is associate professor of history at UNC Wilmington.