Quick Clicks…Vignettes From the JN Archives

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Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) was, perhaps, the foremost Jewish legal mind in American history. His career was phenomenal, to say the least. He first developed a reputation as the “people’s lawyer” for his work on behalf of the public interest and then served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916-1939.djn-1979-05-04-0-064

While serving on the Supreme Court, Brandeis never lost his connections to Jewish Americans in all walks of life. A JN article from May 4, 1979, noted that, in 1936, he wrote a letter to a “struggling law student” from Detroit.

“The fact that one is a Jew and ‘without connections,’” Brandeis wrote, “is no bar to success. Be scrupulously honest; live simply and worthily; work hard; have patience and persistence; and don’t measure success by the numbers of dollars collected.”

Words to live by.

The “struggling” Jewish law student, Hyman Parker, did indeed earn his law degree from Wayne State University. He became a respected labor lawyer in Detroit and, eventually, director of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission.

Thanks to his son, Dr. Philip Parker, for telling me about this story.

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.

By: Mike Smith, Detroit Jewish News Foundation Archivist

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