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The Bronx Is Up

Comment of the week

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(Ravi Joshi/Tablet Magazine)

Winner gets a free Nextbook Press book appropriate to his or her comment (provided he or she emails me at with his or her mailing address).

This week’s winner is “Delores Sloan,” who wrote, in response to contributing editor Rachel Shukert’s appreciation of Bess Myerson, the Jewish 1945 Miss America,

Bess Meyerson lived in the “The Amalgamated,” which is how we in the Bronx referred to the first cooperative housing development for workers, about three miles from where I lived, built by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union for their members. Most of the children in my elementary school lived in The Amalgamated. They were the children of Eastern European Jewish immigrants. They were good students and strong believers, with me (the only child in our class with American-born parents), of the American dream. When Bess won Miss America, I was a teenager, bemoaning how my wild, curly brown hair (in an era without gels and mousses) and curvy body was so unlike the blonde, long-legged glamourous movie stars and fashion models. Her victory (with dark hair like mine!), certainly helped me boost my self image and the pride in our neighborhood reminded me of the joy, years before, when Joe Louis beat Max Schmeling. You go, Bess!

“Delores Sloan” will receive a copy of Douglas Century’s biography of Barney Ross, who like Schmeling was a great boxer but who unlike Schmeling actually was Jewish (Schmeling wore a Star of David and was a Righteous Gentile, but he also flew in the Luftwaffe).

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elliot cohen says:

Schmeling did not wear the Star of David although he did have a Jewish manager. The gentile heavyweight champ who wore the star was Max Baer. More fact checking guys.

elliot cohen says:

Oh yeah, Schmeling wasn’t in the Luftwaffe. He was a paratrooper.

ken london says:

Schmeling’s story is not even close to what’s described at the end of the article. Here’s a 2005 NY Times article on the subject.

Brad Silver says:

I believe that Bess Meyerson did not live in the Amalgamated Houses but actually a few blocks away in what was then known as the Sholem Aleichem Houses. This development which was built as a cooperative but failed, became rental housing and still stands. The Amalgamated Houses contains a number of buildings and about 1500 apartments is still an operating cooperative (since 1927).

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The Bronx Is Up

Comment of the week

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