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Paul Green Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112304).

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Green, Paul (17 March 1894–04 May 1981), playwright and champion of human rights, was born Paul Eliot Green on his family’s farm in Harnett County, North Carolina, the son of William A. Green and Bettie Lorine Byrd. The farm lay along the Cape Fear River, and cotton was the principal crop. The Greens also had tobacco acreage, raised hogs commercially, and grew corn for feed. Usually three or four black tenant families helped with the farm, and Paul’s closest childhood friend was a tenant boy. When the boy died, Paul felt it like a death in the family but realized that his father looked on the death as merely the loss of useful farm labor. Awareness of this difference between himself and his father was an early step in the development of his identity....

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Proskauer, Joseph Meyer (06 August 1877–11 September 1971), judge, political adviser, and Jewish communal leader, was born in Mobile, Alabama, the son of Alfred Proskauer, a bank cashier, and Rebecca Leinkauf. Born into a southern Jewish family of German and Hungarian descent, Proskauer was educated at Columbia College (B.A., 1896) and Columbia Law School (LL.B., 1899) and began practicing law in New York City in partnership with college friend James Rosenberg in 1900. Two years later both men entered the well-known firm of James, Schell & Elkus, which eventually became Elkus, Gleason & Proskauer. In 1903 Proskauer married Alice Naumburg. ...

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Weltfish, Gene (07 August 1902–02 August 1980), anthropologist and human rights advocate, was born Regina Weltfish in New York City, the daughter of Abraham Weltfish, a lawyer involved in Tammany Hall politics, and Eve Furman. Weltfish spent the first ten years of her life with several other relatives in the apartment of her maternal grandparents. As the first grandchild of a successful Jewish immigrant couple, she was the focus of their attentions and hopes for much of her early life. Her grandfather hired a German governess to teach her German (her first language). Weltfish was bilingual as a child, switching from German to English with ease, acquiring French sometime later. Weltfish’s family moved to a home of their own when she was ten years old. Her father died unexpectedly three years later without leaving a will. Her mother, a business-college graduate, was unable to make enough money to support them. Weltfish started working as a clerical assistant when she was fourteen, but she continued her education by attending night school, graduating from high school in 1919....