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Mourning a lion of the community 0 Comment(s)

We were saddened to learn of the death of Hyman Bookbinder this past Thursday, at the age of 95.

Bookie, as he was known, was a lion of the Jewish community and of the Washington area. He served as the American Jewish Committee's Washington representative, a lobbyist for the AFL-CIO, assistant director of the U.S. Office on Economic Opportunity, and an adviser to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, among many other accomplishments. His donation of mementoes marking his active participation in the Civil Rights movement are among the most cherished in the communal archive of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington.

In a 1986 interview with The Washington Post, Bookbinder commented that his "most cherished possession" was a banner reading "I Was There" at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. At the 1963 rally, Bookbinder stood near Dr. Martin Luther King as he gave the famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Bookbinder graciously donated the banner to the Jewish Historical Society for display in our Jewish Washington exhibition at the National Building Museum, where it helped to recount Jewish participation in civil rights. Just last year, the pennant was featured as our inaugural Object of the Month, which showcases notable items in the Society’s collection.

Another notable contribution Bookie made to the Society’s archives was a photograph of himself among other activists protesting segregation at Maryland's Glen Echo Park in 1960. Bookie is in the center of the above photo.

Our condolences to the friends and family of Hyman Bookbinder. He will be sorely missed. May his memory be for a blessing.

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