Ira Grupper

SNCC, COFO, MFDP, 1965-66, Georgia, Mississippi
1644 Bonnycastle Ave.
Louisville, KY 40205
Email: irag@iglou.com
Phone: (502) 459-2171

First got involved in the Movement in the New York City housing project in which I lived, around 1959. Active in rent strikes, anti-racist activities, NYC school boycott (my first arrest), and in support of the work in the South.

Hired by Ruby Doris Smith (Robinson) to work with SNCC in Atlanta. Then moved to Hattiesburg MS and, later, Columbia MS. Returned to NY, and became a union organizer, among other things.

Moved to Louisville to work with Carl and Anne Braden on the staff of SCEF (Southern Conference Educational Fund). Have been in Louisville ever since.

In the 1970's was among the first group of disabled complainants in the United States to win a handicap employment discrimination complaint under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the predecessor to the ADA, the Americans With Disabilities Act. Retired from that assembly-line job in June 1999, with 24 years seniority. Served as union shop steward, leader of a union rank-and-file caucus, union delegate to the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council (8 years). Other arenas: former National Co-chair of NJA (New Jewish Agenda), Vice-Chair of the Louisville & Jefferson County (KY) Human Relations Commission.

Have been to the Middle East four times, once for 6 months, based in Jerusalem, spending time in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Amman, Jordan. Currently: write a monthly newspaper column, and am active in KY Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Metro (Louisville) Disabilities Coalition, and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

The Civil Rights Movement enabled me to meet, and learn from, some of the most dedicated freedom fighters, helped me understand the nature of racism, its relation to class oppression, and the international aspects of capital accumulation. It provided a purpose to life, the building of the "beloved community". For this, I will always be grateful.


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