Looking Back At The Levins
From the DJN Foundation Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History
It is December, and the political season is over. Well, the political season is never really over, but at least the elections concluded more than a month ago. I am still thinking about politics as an election from 40 years ago caught my eye.
Having worked with the Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History for the past five years, I have already answered one of my questions — how much political history can one find on the historic pages of the JN and the Jewish Chronicle? The technical answer: a lot!
In 1978, however, there was a historic first in Michigan. Voters elected Carl Levin as our state’s first Jewish U.S. senator. At the same time, by the way, Howard Wolpe of Lansing became just the second Jewish congressman in state history. It was a good year for Jewish politicians in Michigan.
Levin would go on to have a most distinguished career in the U.S. Senate for the next 36 years. Because of his knowledge and leadership in America’s military and foreign affairs, Levin even has a warship named after him.
But Levin was a fledgling senator in 1978. I found a great article in the Nov. 10, 1978, issue of the JN, published shortly after his victory. He is front-page news.
I was also thinking about another aspect of the recent elections regarding the name Levin. Sander Levin, Carl’s older brother, is retiring after 36 years as a Jewish Congressman from Michigan. Next year, Sander’s son Andy Levin will continue the tradition, having won his father’s seat in the midterms.
The Levin brothers have served Michigan well. Carl is still an active lawyer and man-about-town, and there is a center named after him at the Wayne State University Law School. Sander will be teaching at the University of Michigan once he concludes his congressional career. If you would like more stories about the Levins or politics, there are plenty in the Davidson Digital Archive.