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A History Note: Harry Golden remembered

Harry Golden was born Herschel Goldhirsch on May 6, 1902 in the Austro- Hungarian Empire. His family migrated to the Lower East Side of New York City in 1905, where Harry remained until the stock market crash of 1929. The brokerage firm where he worked declared bankruptcy, and Golden was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to 5 years in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. Upon his release, Golden returned to New York and worked at various New York papers writing and selling advertisements. After a brief stint at The Norfolk Times in Norfolk, VA, Golden arrived in 1942 to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he remained until his death in 1981.
 
Golden worked as a reporter for the Charlotte Observer in the 1940’s. He began to publish a bi-monthly newspaper called the Carolina Israelite in 1944. The newspaper focused on political issues, Jewish, and minority concerns. Golden’s response to the 1954 Supreme Court's school desegregation decision was picked up by the national media. His 1956 editorial, “Vertical Negro Plan,” - a humorous proposal of how Southerners could peacefully integrate - was published in papers across the nation. Golden ended publication of the Carolina Israelite in 1968.
 
Golden’s widest audience came with the publication in 1958 of Only in America, a collection of essays from the Carolina Israelite. The book was a bestseller and Golden followed it with numerous other publications, including a biography of his friend, Carl Sandburg. Golden’s audience expanded further with guest appearances on the “Tonight Show” with Jack Parr and “Person to Person” with Edward R. Murrow.
 
The Harry Golden Papers at J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections comprises personal and professional materials related to Golden’s role as an editor, a publisher, and a civil rights activist.
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