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Our values are represented by:

COTTON symbolizes daily activities related to productivity.

FAMILY works together as the mainstay of life, and

RELIGION glues all parts together.


Clarksdale’s population had grown from 7,552 to 10,043.


1930s the levees were built.[2]

Alvin Labens said,

There was a time in Clarksdale (early 1930s) when you drove between Memphis and Clarksdale that you would be guaranteed to have to change tire twice. By the 1940s Highway 61 was a pretty good highway, because it was put in by the WPA. Late 1920s, after the 1927 flood and the ‘1937 flood is when they patrolled the levees with the airplanes and with machine guns.… Cars authorized to be anywhere near the levee had to be identified on the roof so that the airplanes could tell.”

The people from Arkansas would blow the levee on this side, or the people from this side would want to blow the levee on that side. Cause if you blow the other side that keeps the water from coming on your side. It will go that way.

The forerunners of the cotton dusters these planes that you would see in the movies of these old WWI planes with the machine mounted in front of the pilot was the kind of planes they had. They didn’t have the 247 and the 57. It was after 1927 that they built Highway 61,[3]

Adele Cohen said, “Talking about the 200 block of Delta Avenue where the empty lot is. Before the store was “Allen's, it was Maurice Segal's store.”[4] Maurice Segal owned and operated Segal's Dixie Shop at 242 Delta Avenue, a men's wear store.[5]

Selma Weinberger added, “Right, Right, Early 1930's when I was out here. I was 21 years old.”[6]

Bobo High School fire proof building completed.[7]

County seat question finally comes to a close. 2 judicial districts are abolished and Clarksdale becomes the sole county seat.[8]

Tuttle Hotel, 225 Yazoo, closed.[9]

Mrs. Stewart’s continued telling about life on a Mississippi River riverboat.

In August 1930, we put out three trout lines baited with small German carp from two to three inches long. The next morning when we raised the line we got between 450 and 500 pounds of fish. One weighed 89 pounds another weighed 50 pounds, and the rest weighed between 25 and 40 pounds.

At present we retail our fish at Clarksdale, Memphis and Friars Point. We have taken as much as 2,000 pounds a week to these places, but at present, time are not that good.

Mr. Stewart only fishes net in the spring and fishes lines with live baits in the summer There is a bird called the fisherman's enemy that is called the goar bird. It is a black bird with white wings with legs a foot and a half long. They destroy all small fish by stomping the water until it becomes muddy, and the fish have to come to the top to breathe, and when they do these birds grabbed them and eat them.

'In low-water we block fish; by this I mean we have small blocks about eighteen inches long with a string ranging in length from five to ten feet with two fish hooks on it and are baited with a piece of beef. Mr. Stewart usually has about fifteen blocks of wood that they drop out in the channel and these flat, and he follows along with the blocks and watches them in a boat. When a fish gets a hold of it the block will begin to bob up and down or even sometimes the fish tries to run away with it. We catch nothing but large fish by this kind of fishing. We seldom ever catch anything under five pounds. One man a few miles up the river caught a fish weighing 138 pounds by block fishing.[10]


(1910, 1920)


Lee said,

The Torah says there are two duties for a father that are incumbent on him, one of them is to teach his son how to make a living. If he can’t, he has to see to it that somebody else does. Even if he has to pay for it. He has to teach his son how to make a living. Secondly, teach his son how to swim. So, I may have been three or four, but we went to Moon Lake, which was July 4th. All I can remember is that my father threw me in. I like to have drowned. My mama waded out, she couldn’t swim, but she waded out there and brought me in. And she raised hell with him. But the country doctors, when they found out that I had asthma, they said that swimming would be bad for me. So, I was fifty-eight years old before I learned how to swim.

When everyone else would go to the swimming spots, I felt embarrassed and ill at ease. I couldn’t do that, and they did. Another reason, I could get on my bicycle and go right into a different world. By myself, but this was the way it played out.[11]


(1868, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Adele said,

Harriet Baker was born ) then; there were seven children born in the course of about six months: Hilda Baskind Kaufman (1930), Harriet Baker (August, 1929), Stanley M. Cohen (August 13, 1929), Erline Shankerman, (October 1929) Hermine Bacharach Basist (June 19, 1931), Gloria Plitman, Alvin Binder (February 23, 1930) that was one group that became a cliché.[12] They were all very close. They all stuck together because they couldn’t get into the Gentile group, you know. Lennie never tried to get into their social group; but she had Gentile friends, you know.[13]

When Stanley started getting sick with asthma around two and one-half years old (need year), all those people were right there. They helped me; they were there for me from morning to night; helping me with him. We had an awful time. I would call Dr. Barrett, it was like three times a days. So he said to me one day, 'Why don’t you pay me by the month, and I will come out every time you need me. Just pay me $50 a month. I will come out here when you need me to take care of Stanley.'

So, I had my own doctor to take care of Stanley for $50 a month. That was not a lot of money at that time because:  “A lot , my God, he was there every other minute. Because I didn’t know what to do. I was dying.[14]


(1900, 1910, 1920)


Marion said,

One year I went to Camp Tallyhaw, Charleston, MS, with Dorothy Stoneman, Betty Bobo and the rest of the group. In fact, Baby Doll Peacock was our counselor. From ten to fifteen years old, I went to KYWY Camp, right outside of Hot Springs. That was the only place I was allowed to wear shorts.

I don’t remember much about the Girl Scouts. Betty Bobo’s mother was our scout leader, and we met at the Bobo home. I hated making knots[15]


(1900, 1910, 1920)


Aaron’s brother and Abe arrived in Coahoma County. [16]



Alvin Labens said,

One family, Sam Yaffe, who had an emotional problem really suffered. The three young girls [Ruth, Bertha, Alice] were placed in the Jewish Children Home in New Orleans..… Ruth had a scholarship to LSD; she was really smart. Bernard was the one of the founders of Beth Shalom. The father was sick and they had to send them to New Orleans. The mother and the two boys had a Press Scimiter route. They lived on Delta. They came during the depression when this actually started.[17]

The 1920 shows the family living in Shelby, Bolivar County, Mississippi [18] The data says the he was a retail dry goods merchant. Sam was born in Russia in 1998; his wife Annie Ostrow was born in Russia in 1892. They both immigrated in 1900 but did not marry until 1916. They had four daughters and two sons between 1918 and 1927.[19] The 1940 U. S. Census shows the family with the daughters are living in Clarksdale.[20]


Barbara Broad shared her parent's correspondence at a group discussion about the Alcazar Hotel and Issaquena Avenue. The following introduces the excerpts from the two letters which are quote,

I'm Barbara Broad Zitrow. I was born in Memphis and my mother was also born in Memphis. My father was a traveling salesman from Pittsburg and came down South and was traveling in the 1930s outside of Memphis, met my mother, and they were engaged at the time. and I have two letters written on Hotel Alcazar stationery, fireproof, Clarksdale, Mississippi, that my father wrote to my mother while they were engaged, and they are absolutely beautiful. It talks about the Depression and the mood of the merchants down in Clarksdale during the Depression. Also, later on, after my father married my mother, he did live down on our farm down in Hillhouse, Mississippi, and we would travel on the weekends and come to Memphis because my mother would not move down to Mississippi. She would not leave her pediatrician.[21]


November 5: Singer Ike Turner born in Clarksdale.


The Planters Wholesale Co. at 800 Tallahatchie suffered a $31,200 loss from fire in April 1931.[22]

Alvin Fink talked in a general manner about his impression of the Depression,

As the banks continued to close down during 1929, everything went down from there, but it didn’t affect the Delta until six to twelve months later or whenever they cut the credit off. All the small banks had, in that day, they didn’t have the Federal programs. They finally had to sue the farmers. It was all the banks. And the local banks use to depend on the regional banks and the regional banks depended on the national banks. In other words, the banks in Clarksdale were national banks. They were just “take control” banks. They didn’t have any of the banking laws. All of a sudden everything shut down. Everyone lost his or her job, didn’t have money.[23]



Blanche Dinner knew Annie. When asked by this author, she said,

This is why I don’t want to talk about Annie, and she was so sweet. A lot of single men were there, All those married people liked her. They liked her too much. You know, I don’t understand about Jewish men. They have wonderful wives, yet they were playing around with other women on the side. And [24]


(1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Julia said,

We had strict teachers. You weren’t just passed. We had the A, B, and C’s for grades. I wasn’t ashamed to say in English, I wasn’t an “A”’ but I was an “A” in math and in office. I liked to read. And the football boys would never; they just couldn’t make it. They just didn’t have time to study. So, the Coach said: “You can not play football, if you don’t pass. So, some of us were assigned to tutor them in math after school so that they could pass. We worked in a group. Now, they just push them through. Then, they got an education. [25]

Julia stated that she believed the Jews lived alongside the Christians. She continued,

They survived because we weren’t handed everything. Just like I told you what my grandfather did. They worked for everything they had. They earned it the old fashioned way. So did the Syrians, the others, the Chinese, the Japanese. They all worked hard because that was ingrained in them. You worked for what you had. (Ibid)

Julia remembered the Depression in Clarksdale.

I had a bank account. I don’t know how much I had but I had more than $9. That was all I got was $9, and I was so disappointed. It was a little savings account. Daddy would give some change. Like I said we would walk all over town. Go the bank and put our little money in.” (Ibid)


Everyone should have a bachelor uncle. We were raised with a bachelor uncle. He was a bachelor uncle to my children. When he announced that he was getting married, our children said: “He can’t do that, he is Uncle Sammy.” When they met Aunt Janet, they were happy. (Ibid)


(1910, 1920)


Leon said,

I remember going to school, and I was bored. Actually, they let me make the kindergarten and the first grade in one year, which was a terrible mistake. I wish it hadn’t happened. I was sixteen years old when I graduated from high school. I was socially retarded. I really wasn’t as personally developed as people who were older than I was. So, anyway, I remember distinctly that I went to school, I got bored, I told the teacher I had a headache, and she said go outside, sit under the tree, nice warm October day, and when the headache goes away come back in. I really didn’t have a headache but I just went and sat there for a while. I left and went back home.[26]

When I am five, still living in Dublin, my mother was supposed to be in the store helping my father. They had an African-American working around the house as a maid and a cook and so forth. I don’t remember her name. But I do remember, all of a sudden, here comes my mother, through the front door, I hid under the bed. She found me. Each room had a fireplace, and there was wood stacked up around it. This was the only time that I remember that my mother spanked me because I told a lie. She didn’t want that to become part of my personality at such an early age. She spanked me pretty good with that wood.[27]

One of my major problems, asthma, developed when I was five years old. They knew very little about it at that time or how to treat it. They even thought that asthma could be brought on by stress but I don’t believe that, it was really brought on by a bronchial infection is what it was. I can remember one October, I was terribly sick, couldn’t hardly breathe, my lungs were filled up with mucus, or rather the tubes, the esophagus, leading to the lungs were filled up with mucus. The doctor called my mother out into the hall and he said, "Look, he has about a 10s opening in there. But he said, I think you can start making funeral arrangements because I think we have no way of stopping that from closing up. But, the good Lord decided he had other things he wanted me to do. After that, I started improving. But, this was very important because I wasn’t able to participate in some of the more active sports. I was very interested in sports.(Ibid)

I was interested primarily in baseball - as a matter of fact, I invented a baseball game. (Ibid.)

My parents, my father, used to fuss at me for spending time throwing dice writing all those figures down on paper, he said, ,”You’re wasting time. You ought to do something more important.'(Ibid.)

So I invented this game, based on, you had a schedule to follow, and depending on how you threw the dice - what numbers came up. They didn’t know nothing about patents or stuff like that, and I didn’t know what to do. It was about two or three years later, that Parker Brothers came out with a baseball game, exactly the same thing. But it was a magnet that drew the boys in my neighborhood to my front porch, and we used to play together. There was a fellow named Wilson Meese. His father was on the police force. There were two other boys named Parks and Mitchell Samaha. It was important to me because it brought people, there that I could be with, I could play with. (Ibid.)

I can’t remember any more. This was later when we lived in Clarksdale on Desoto before you go under the viaduct. After I moved to Catalpa it was a different area, different types of people. (Ibid)

My mom was known for her meals than for her baking. My father lost his teeth. For some reason he never did have false teeth made. He had to have soft stuff that he could chew. And they loved vegetables. We had a lot of vegetables. They were our big staple at home. Actually, you know, I want to say this, that my father would get the, like a lot of Jewish fathers were, as I understand, but the older I get the more in awe I am of him and her. Now, she only had a sixth grade education. Here are two people without an education, during the Depression, no Social Security, no family to lean on, had to do it entirely by themselves, every other month they had to go buy whatever medicines for my asthma, and they made it!(Ibid)

Railroad tracks and railroads was a major thing for little kids who want to see--walk across those trellises and walking across those tracks. My favorite spot was across from my father’s store. I guess. I had a puppy. We left him out in the back yard once when I left the gate open. The train came, hit him, which severed her leg. My mother nursed him back to life. He had a limp but he lived. His name was Caneda I think it was in the thirties--early thirties while we were in Dublin. We weren’t near the train station in Clarksdale. And another little something that sticks in my mind about fifteen or twenty yards away from my father’s store was a filling station in Dublin. Saturday, I used to go - I was little, maybe eight years old - I used to go and sit on a Coca Cola box with two people that worked in the filling station and bus station. I felt like a big shot mixing with the elite. (Ibid)

They used to have a little building. I think it was on Delta Street. They called it the Menorah. Ira Kantor’s father was in the juke box business. They also had the first motel down there. He used to deliver a jukebox to the Menorah, and we would try to get all the Jewish kids down there and have a little dance. I don’t think it was particularly successful I didn’t have the only one. I had much in common with was Marvin because he lived around the block from me when I lived on Catalpa. Gerald Pittman lived in a world of his own--far as I could determine. Its to his credit that when the Memphis Symphony was being formed back in the middle fifties they asked him to be the first oboist in the orchestra. He’s used to make trips up here for the concerts and the performances. He had sort of a photographic type mind. He was an A student all the way through high school and college and med school. (Ibid)


(1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Adele was one of the first businesswomen in this town. She started by first coming down to help on Saturdays because she said,

”Saturday was the busy day, you know.” So, she would stay there all day Saturday. Run home, because she had a young son. After we had trouble with the banks-when the banks closed in 1931. From that time on, she had to be in the store because we could not afford help so, we only opened the store in the afternoons. So, she would go down to work in the afternoons. Then we were able to open more often. Fred only opened in the afternoon when she was there. Yea, than, it got better. We had before that, two girls: Erma McGowan and Mrs. Gahal. Erma use to do the sewing and Gahal was “on the floor” as a saleslady. So, they had one come in the morning and then, the other came in the afternoon because they couldn't afford to have both on a full salary. So, that went on for several years. Than business got better; he opened all day and both girls came in all day.[28]

Adele continued, by adding that even her friends would come in and would not buy because it was too high. They would wait till it would go on sale.

In all the years, I have been in business, very few Jewish people ever traded with me because I was always too high for them. They would go next door, to a Gentile store and pay the price there as in 'The Helen Shoppe' [in Memphis]. They would not come to me, and I had the same thing in my windows, in my store. I had one customer that came in one Saturday night. We had just gotten through dressing the window, and she had just come in from Memphis. She said: “Damn.” She was walking into the store cussing. I met her at the door. I said, ' What the heck is wrong with you?'

She said. 'Do you see that dress in your window?

I said: 'yea, what is the matter with it?'

She said: 'I went to Memphis and brought that same dress. What right have you got to have that dress?'

I said: 'If you had any sense, you would shop Clarksdale first, then go to Memphis.'[29]


Adele said,

I don’t exactly remember when Irving decided to come back here to live, but he wasn’t doing anything in Youngstown. So, he came here to live with us. Fred opened or got another store that was between Kerstine’s and our store (Maderia Store). We called it the Copy Cat. It had to be before 1932. At that time, Myron’s/Allen’s was next to Kerstine’s and Copy Cat was next to Myron’s/Allen’s. The Maderia Shop came next. Weller’s was next to that. There were another two stores then, a hat shop. We took that over. Rudolph Landau had the next store. It was turned into Earl’s or Jim Sander’s. The alley did not happen until there was a fire. It was suppose to be a parking lot, but there was trouble with parking in it. .[30]


Bernard won an honorable mention for a whatnot shelf which was mentioned in a newspaper article.[31]



Blanche said,

When the banks crashed, we were in Clarksdale. It was the Depression, too. My daddy said more '”schnorrers” were coming back for food.[32] They must have marked his restaurant on the outside. He would feed even a bowl of soup, not a little bowl, a big bowl. He wouldn’t be happy unless it ran over. He would put a whole loaf of bread, in front of that poor guy. He ate and he gave him more, and he gave him meat and other stuff. When he got through eating, my daddy said, 'Where you going from here?' He’d say he didn’t know, he’d keep walking. He’d say, 'It’s getting dark. Where you going to sleep?' He doesn’t have a place. So he gave him extra money even, to go get him a room.[33]

So, the Jewish people watched him do that. They said, "Mr. Dinner, you don’t know, I bet they got more money than you have but you’re schnorrers.

He said, I'll feed anybody that comes in and says, they’re hungry. I don’t want to have a guilty conscience. I’m going to throw it out or give it away if it’s left over. Same thing.”

I met Adele when Fred was up to my Daddy’s restaurant. They used to eat there all the time. And my Daddy used to make us, my sister and me, go up and buy dresses from Fred and Adele, because they were his steady customers. I’d say, Daddy, we don’t need no clothes. Buy anyway! Buy anyway![34]


Blanche continued describing the Depression in Clarksdale,

I remember Freda Fink was in business at that time. Yea, she had a dress shop. Yea, we had to trade with all of them Sebulsky, everybody. They were our customers. That was my Daddy. He’d send my Mama to shop for new dresses whether we need it or not. He was that kind of a man. He’d say, 'You’ve got to reciprocate.' After all, they come here every day lunch was our delicatessen. They’d come and eat supper He’d say, 'You’ve got to reciprocate or else they’ll stop coming in.' Not that we didn’t trade with them because Daddy would tell us to go. They had the nicest clothes in Clarksdale - - Sebulsky’s and Adele.

I liked Adele’s clothes better. I even modeled. I bought a two piece darling dress. It was like a top, and it was red and black. Anyway, they had a style show, and she asked me if I would model a dress that I bought. It was so adorable on me, and I said yes. I’ll modeled it was in the [movie] theatre. - - some picture show. We modeled on the stage, and I won the prize. I think I got ten dollars - - that was ten dollars! In those years, ten dollars was worth about fifty dollars. No, that was when I was already in high school. (Ibid)


Reuben's food was well liked and he did not share his recipes. His granddaughter gave the authors his recipes,

From all over, from all the little towns, they came every Sunday, they bought their delicatessen. They ate on Sunday at my Daddy’s place, and on Sunday they would buy bread, their challah[35] He ordered specially from Memphis, from Rosenbloom’s bakery. He had pumpernickel; he had bagel. He did it as a favor, it cost him a lot of money to pay for the expense, but he didn’t charge them one penny more than what the bread cost. He was generous. (Ibid)

[My dad] did more favors for the Clarksdale people. They used to come in, - - what’s her name? - the Friedman that was married to Joe Weiss, well she was always too busy to pay. 'Reuben, make a ticket.'

[He said.] 'OK.'So he made a ticket. For weeks time he had enough tickets, when he’d tell him, 'Joe, your tickets, you want to pay me?'

[Joe would] say, 'I didn’t charge all that.'

[My dad would] say, 'What do you think, I made it up out of my head? You think I just put it down, make a ticket if you didn’t eat?'

Anyway, [Joe] didn’t trust Daddy, and Daddy shouldn’t trust him. So he didn’t like when people make tickets for that one reason. He’d rather let them eat free.[36]

Esther Frances Meyer was Blanche's niece and her sister Mary's daughter. She talked about the Lady Dinner fish balls because everyone believed they brought good luck. Her letter says,

Esther used a pot that was for the fish. They swore it was Lady Dinner’s fish balls that brought the good luck. Then everyone Jewish and non-Jewish customers wanted them, and also the recipe in her own words. I still have this pot, and it is used for the purpose of gefilte fish. Ruben’s recipe for Ruben sandwiches.[37] [See recipe below]

Recipe for Lady Dinner’s Good Luck Fish Balls:


Line bottom of pot with 4 or 5 large onions.

Place 2 or 3 washed bones from each fish

Place 1 washed head from buffalo fish and 1 wash head from carp (eyes removed).

Place 5 or 6 carrots and 2 or 3 parsnips (ends and tips cut)

Peel carrots. (Save some to garnish with)

Fill water half way in pot

Shake a bissell of coarse salt, a Bissell of sugar, a small handful of whole cloves.

I like to add a small piece of grated ginger root when it’s available.

Get pot boiling.

While waiting to boil prepare fish mixture.


3 pounds buffalo fish ground

3 pounds carp fish ground

Dill pickle juice

5 or 6 eggs

1 or 2 small grated onions

Bissell of table salt and sugar

A small piece of grated ginger root

Ground matzo—enough to get good texture

Mix ground fish in dishpan. Add pickle juice to moisten. Break eggs (with a spoon or 2 of grated onion) 1 at a time mixing real good after each egg. Add salt, sugar & ginger.

Bind with ground matzo to get the right texture.

When there is no matzo & not Passover use bread crumbs (ground old bread). 

Wet hand—form balls in oval shapes.  Drop in boiling pot when water returns to boil, put cover on pot and lower flame. 

Shake pot by the handles and cook about 2 ½ hours

Shake pot 2 or 3 times during cooking.

Put clean dish towel over pot.

Cool about 30 minutes.

Take fish out of pot with slotted spoon.

Place in container lined with wax paper between layers.

Store in refrigerator.

Garnish with carrots when serving. (Ibid)


2 Slices rye bread – light or dark

1 slice corn beef (halved to fit bread)

1 slice pastrami

1 slice roast beef

Nice helping of sauerkraut

1chopped dill pickle

Bear mustard

Spread both slices of bread with mustard.

Drain juices from sauerkraut and replace withy beer to soak a few minutes.

Heat gently in saucepan.

Drain slightly.

Layer meats to alternate with each other.

Spread sauerkraut on layer in layer between layers of meat.

Top with chopped pickle put and put top slice of bread

Wrap in foil

Heat in oven until just warm. 

Serve as soon as possible

Cut sandwich in half for easy eating.

NOTE: This sandwich, a favorite Ruben’s Beer Mustard, was his exclusive secret. For his more “colorful” customers, he would use 1 dark slice bread and one light slice bread. The mustard was also used in potato salad as well as other times.[38]


Blanche continued about her the deli's customers,

Most of them. He was funny about that. He did pay, though. My Daddy was very tight. He had such a good heart. He didn’t get rich, believe me. If he had charged them what was supposed to be, he would probably have made more money. But he gave a lot of things, people didn’t have money, he’d let them eat free. I tell you, if people came to buy deli, if they wanted half a pound he gave them two ounces over, and they would holler, 'I didn’t want over, I wanted half a pound.'

And he would say, 'What do you care, I’m not charging you, I only charge you for half a pound.' He was the kind. He liked to give more, overweight rather than underweight. A lot of Jewish people put their hand on the scale, make it more. Not my daddy.[39]


Blanche said,

This is an interesting thing. At 2 o’clock, the police call us, "Mr. Dinner, your restaurant was robbed. He says, 'We want you to come in the morning, and we will take you to the prison. We arrested them.'

So he said, 'What did they take?"

[The policeman said, 'Oh, they took a big Salami, they took cartons of cigarettes, they took food, you know.'

[Dinner] said, 'Is that all they took?'

They said, 'Yea, just food and cigarettes.' He always left little change in the cash register. And he had left a little bit open, they didn’t take the little bit of money, they were hungry, they wanted food.

So Dinner said, 'Well, they must have been hungry. That’s OK, let them out.' Isn’t that something?

And [the police] said, 'You want it back?'

And he said, 'No, I don’t want it back, let them keep it.' And he paid [their bail], what do you call it when they make them pay in order to get out. Somebody had to pay to get them out. It was in the newspaper.

So many things happened. Really, [During the]Depression - - every few minutes, people came in, most of them were Jewish people, or even Gentiles. You know, hoboes would come. He’d feed everybody. And the Jewish friends of ours, they would sit there, and they’d tell my Daddy, 'You know, that’s remarkable how you don’t let one schnorrers get out without you feed them. And on top of that you give them a few dollars to go get a room to sleep overnight.'

Yea. My daddy was really a kind man. And my Mama, all the cotton buyers, next door, upstairs, cotton buyers, they bought and sold cotton. They would come [to] eat lunch [and ask] 'Mama what do you have today?' And she would tell them.

You know my Daddy was jealous. He told my Mama, 'You better not talk to all those men. I don’t like for you to talk.' He was a jealous man. My mother was a pretty woman.[40]


(1900, 1910, 1920)


Alvin said,

I played Center on the football team when we won the state championship. We had several who played good football: MK Woolbert, Jake Jacobson, Meadows was principal.[41]

The teacher we were the most afraid of was Annie Pannie. She was very tough as a 2nd grade teacher. We were all scared to death of Mr. Heidelberg. He was a driver. He made that School Board and he had some big people on it. They had a rule that you couldn’t be on the board unless you had a child in school. One of my cousins, Little Celeste Woolbert Dansinger was Heidelberg’s secretary for a number of years. I also remembered my Aunt Esther taught grammar school.[42]


Marion said, “I was in the Mrs. Long’s art class while in the 4th grade. I continued to take art until I graduated. I liked art so well that I decided to be an art major in college.”[43]


1868, 1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Selma said

I had one date in Clarksdale with Nat Okun. That was the extent of my dating. I was a sophomore at Ole Miss. He was not at Ole Miss with me. No, I came home. I didn't date until I went to college. Selma said that on this date, Nat Okun, had a car, he drove around. He talked about Reva Kline the whole time. I was going with James' roommate, and I was pretty well gone on him; so, I was not really interested in Nat.[44]

Corinne, her aunt added[45],

Selma met James, her husband, at Ole Miss. He was a Baptist; she as a Jewish girl who had had very little Jewish influence but she never lost her Jewish identity.

Selma continued,

You see James went with my roommate all my junior year, and I went with his roommate, and his roommate graduated in our junior year. They left us. I didn't think anything about it. I went to summer school that summer because I had been out a year (April 1929 to Jan, 1930) I knew James at that time, but I knew he was going with my roommate but we never did date while the two of them dated. I dated very little in college. Well, anyway, I went with James' roommate my sophomore year. When I came back from California, my boyfriend was going with a redheaded girl, but we went out some, but not much. He finished school a year before I did, and he left and that left James and me.[46]




Joe said,

Well, the social life picture came to mostly playing bridge and dancing-went to all the dances in that section. In Cleveland, we went to all the dances given by private people, not sponsored by organizations. We drove cars. I ran around with Ben Jacobson. We were close .-.-. very close. Matter of fact, I stayed over at his house quite often. I think there was a pool hall or something like that.[47]

I bought a bakery on Issaquena, because it had gone broke and Irving Shankerman was on one side and Harry, my brother was on the opposite side of the street--on the Square. It was four years later, and he bought the Adler’s store on Issaquena used to be, what’s his name? Albert Israel was down the street from me. No, no, he was in the inner store and Harry was there and the grocery store was on the corner.[48]

It was before that. Harry was across the street. Before I married in 1934, I bought my store about November 24, 1930 or ’31 when I was 23 years old. I bought out the bakery and went into the bakery business for 7 years.

There was a red light district on Issaquena, upstairs. It had moved on by the time I got there. The upstairs of the buildings were not being used at all. The restaurant where the women hung around was down the street from where we were. I don’t remember Campassi's store being on the corner when I was there. The only movie house I recall was uptown, not on Issaquena.

Seven people worked for me in the bakery. Well, we went to work at two o’clock in the morning. Now, that was when the first crew that went in because we had to make donuts and things. We used to bake donuts for the bread routes. They’d leave town around four or five o’clock. The only time was when somebody didn’t show up, then I had to help out at 2 am to help make donuts. They made the cakes and the breads and everything at the same time. We had a big business on Saturday nights.--the biggest time: I can tell you we stayed at the store, the bakery, sometimes until 1 o’clock, twelve o’clock--Till everyone else closed up on the street. The other merchants would close up and then y’all would close up. I don’t remember all of the people but I used to have people come into the bakery from the whole section around Clarksdale, Especially on holidays when I used to bake bread. No, I don’t remember Lenora and Mrs. Sach having a catering business at the same time that I had my bakery.(Ibid)

I don’t recall going to Dinner’s Delicatessen after the stores closed. We played a lot of bridge back then with the Louis Binders. We’d congregate over there. Jake Fink’s poker game was considered the older group. My brother, Amil, used to play pinochle. I learned how to play. They had a club on Second Street – down at the far end of Second Street which was away from town. Desoto and that area, way down in there was where they played most of the time. I don’t remember the name, but they had a club.(Ibid.)

The only time they called me was when they were short help, and they had to get help to move from Issaquena to over on the street … the bridge--on the other side of the ditch between Front Street .-.-. Sunflower and Yazoo … across the ditch-the street was Second Street. We moved the bakery over to that street because it was between Sunflower and Delta. It was on the corner, the opposite corner.... This was Second and ... I was here, right next to a service station across the street on the corner.(Ibid.)

I didn’t live upstairs, most of the time I stayed with the Hymen Cantor. His wife rented me a room – I stayed there. Then later on, when my sister, Libby, came down, we bought a house. She came down about eighteen months later. No, she stayed and married a fellow who was working for me; he was a baker.(Ibid.)

The Elks Club and the dances: People from the Peabody would come down and play one night. I was there every time. Well, used to be Flora Okun--Flora Hirshberg later on.

Adele Cohen came down from New York in 1928 married to Fred. You remember when she came? I knew Fred before he married her, though because I used to run around with him.(Ibid.)

All those dances and everything--all of them … used to be ... from Memphis used to come down all the time; such as Bill Angel used to come down--he married a black girl. (Ibid.)

Gerald Plitman was younger than me but he and his sister, Gloria used to babysit Joy when she was younger.(Ibid.) They lived next door. That’s when they lived on Elm Street. (Ibid.)

Jerome’s wife, Barbara Shepp and Gerald were first cousins. Louie used to run around with us...Fred, Jeannette Sack. Yea, they were married.(Ibid.)

Joe talked about the competition on Issaquena Street: Oh, that was very rough stuff. There was Jake Levinson and his brother had a store on Yazoo. Bill had his store on Delta. The guy on the corner was his uncle. Yea. Then the Okun store was right next door to them – he shoe store. No, on Delta--All of those were on Delta--on the corner. The furniture store was across the street from my Uncle. Then later on, they moved, Fred moved, the street next to the Square on Third between Yazoo and Delta. Later on they moved over...My brother -in-law, Bill, bought a store on the opposite side. This was the same side as the theatre was on but not right next door--several doors down on Second Street.

The minyans and services during the day and night on Issaquena were led by Rabbi Tolochko He was there most of the time when I was there. I met my future wife in Hughes. (Ibid.)

Albert Israel and Abe May and Uncle Harry all have stores on Issaquena at the same time I did. My father-in-law owned the store, but it was originally owned by a furniture company. I came to Memphis and got all of the wholesalers except Ogil Brothers to give me a line of credit so I could open up. And everybody but Ogil Brothers gave me credit.(Ibid.)


During the interview by Rabbi Plaut with the Mr. & Mrs. Katz. One of them said,

(Leopold or Jacob) accumulated … several thousand acres of land. He reared a big family and they all lived there--very, very wealthy. I remember as a child, they had this private train come into Marks with ready to wear from Lord & Taylor’s and Henry Bendow for the lady’s to select their clothing. That was the most exciting thing I ever saw. They lived there, and they had children. They all intermarried. The second generation lost all the money. They lived so high—everything was so high. Before you know it they had lost all the land. The children dissipated it. When they left Marks, people in Marks gave them money to move. The courthouse has a picture of Mr. Leopold Marks in it. He dedicated the entire town site. There are four homes there that they originally lived in.… When we got there in ’35 there was nobody. When they left Marks they had lost all the land and they were penniless.[49]


(1910, 1920)


Dave said,

Abe had two daughters and one son Dave. One was Rena Pearlman Grushin. She was really my stepsister because my father remarried to Annie Levenson Pearlman about 1930. Her husband was a Pearlman;.Her maiden name was Levenson. She was just like a sister to me.[50]

Soon as he remarried, he wanted his family back together. His daughters were all (interrupted). and I'm sure they wanted to get rid of us. I'm sure they loved us and all that.[51]

On Saturday, sure, my father wanted me in the store, and you had to. In the fall of the year, he had another store that was sort of like a variety store. He put me in that one, whenever they went out of town. I was about seventeen or eighteen, I'm sure we ran the damned store. I didn't have to work all the time. I had very little to do with earning living for the store. He had clerks.


Dave continued talking more about his life than his fathers,

We played on the high school football team. I played, an end. Yea. We played Greenwood,;played Drew; and we played the Clarksdale “B” team. We played Webb, and Sumner. I wasn't on the tennis team but I played tennis. We had tennis courts and, I went out for swimming at Ole Miss. Track. I went out at Ole Miss. While in high school we had field meets at Ole Miss. Oh, I must have won a few honors but, I'm not known as an athlete.[52]

We didn't have lighted fields in those days, so they played daytime football, they couldn't play at night. ]We didn't get the gym until later on. It was outside they played. Had .good basketball - we had some big 'rednecks.' We really couldn't get near them. Football we could because it took more players; but, basketball, no. They were good. (Ibid.)

I owned my first car when I was going to Medical School in New Orleans. There was car in Tutwiler. I didn’t own one. But my father had ‘em—a Model T Ford. I drove it. Yea, it was a big day when he bought the car—we were excited. Most of the cars he had—a Dodge, and he had a Nash. I think he had a Buick or something. Mot of them were small. When we got a bigger family. we didn’t have a Ford.… It would be a pickup truck. It was a Model T. Yea, I got to drive that. I didn’t need a driver’s license to drive it. I was about fourteen when I started driving. First, he’d let me take it to the filling station, put gas in it, we had to pump the gas.(Ibid.)

I was confirmed about 1930 or '31. I couldn't find a picture of any of us. All those pictures started about 1934 or 1935. I do not know if it was the first confirmation class or not. We didn't go as regular as they did later. We were always skipping. Each one had a little speech, a little sentence to say, and that was about all. They really, if you were a boy, they wanted you to be Bar Mitzvah. They didn't give a damn about Confirmation. I don’t remember ever going to Friday night services when I was a child. Dave: No. If they had them that much, I don't know. Never hurt me.(Ibid.)

During the depression, I don't remember suffering too much. Yes, they would buy some chickens from the farmers, and they would come in. We would put them in a chicken coop or something. and the cook would get them out and kill them. We didn't suffer as much in the cities because there was always a little money in the cash register--damned little. You could get an ice cream cone or something. (Ibid.)

I don't remember the famous horse, War Admiral. The movie made it sound like the whole country was watching, but I don't think my father paid a damned bit of attention to some racehorse. I don't think Tutwiler was enamored, but maybe the larger cities were. I think there were other things going on in Tutwiler. I remember something the newspapers had, got his big race, but the little races that he won along the way, we didn't know any more.[53]

I think living in the Delta was different from other locations because I would say we were accepted … and we played with the Christian children.. I don't remember them trying to convert me at all. They would take you to their Sunday School, what they called it, the BYTU--the Baptists League, but there was not much on conversion. I don't remember their preachers trying to convert you. Yea, They didn't bother me in any way, there was no recruiting, or 'you're going to die and go to Hell if you don't believe in Jesus.' I didn't hear that. They would come to my father's store. I think that was different.


First stretch of county’s concrete road system is completed.[54]

“Promenade Walk” was an ambitious production by the 1932 Senior Class under the direction of Miss Dorothy Middleton. Taking part in the production: Harold Sanders, Ben Ellis, Alvin Fink, Harvey Heidelberg, Gilcin Meadors, Alex Gilliam, Harold Jones, Gertrude Bernstein, etc.[55]


Rabbi J. Gerson Tolochko-first permanent Rabbi was employed. Congregation becomes partly reform. The Rabbi had to please Orthodox, Conservative and Reform members.

Rabbi Tolochko, universally loved and popular in the community and decidedly a leader among his people of Clarksdale, MS.[56]

Forty-six students in Sunday School. Eighty-six 86 on membership roster.[57] Beth Israel Anniversary Issue, June, 1939)

Before that, it wasn't very well organized Rabbi Tolochko. When it was Orthodox...the Orthodox … you were Bar Mitzvah and that was it.[58]

Labens said, “Tolochko made the Sunday school. Literally with his own hands, he partitioned off the basement; put in a buzzer bell system. He departmentalized; the bell rang every forty-five minutes, and we changed classes. He did a good job for what he was getting.” He continued, “The reason is it probably started in 1935 is because of Tolochko. They wouldn't have had it when the congregation and rabbis were more Orthodox. I am just presuming this. There would have been Bar Mitzvahs. Sam Baker and Charles Levine were older than me and they were Bar Mitzvah. He was a navy captain.”[59]


(1868, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


September 3: Gilda Jeannie dies, age 1 yr old. Daughter of Pearl and Louis.[60] (Jewish Cemetery, 9/22/1994)


(Believe this is Abe Block): Mayor of Jonestown, MS (Assignment #10, Historical Research Project of Coahoma County, W.M. Walton Interviewer & Mrs. Donna E. Dance, Canvasser, 5/19/1936)


(1910, 1920)


It was 1932 or 1933, one of the two, that we left Dublin and came to Clarksdale.

Leon said

I have a younger brother, his name is Irving David, but he goes by the name of Butch, everybody knows him as Butch. There’s about four and one-half or five years separating the oldest: Dorothy, from me, and me from Butch. By the time he was born, I believe, we were already in Clarksdale. So he could add something. Our first rented house was on DeSoto Street, South of the viaduct.

They rented a store on Issaquena Street from a man named Abraham. It was a long narrow store. My father used to have to have hang socks, bandanas and stock from the ceiling and then it was just he and my mother in the store, so, he thought, a number of times, when he bent over or she bent over they couldn’t see the customers and somebody would reach over and grab something.

I went to Elizabeth Dorr School. Bobby Friedman lived a block away. I remember. He used to have somebody come and pick him up and take him home every day. I had started high school at twelve years old.… Yes. Bobo Junior High is where we went. Miss Hutton was the Latin teacher, Miss Edith Wilkinson passed me in geometry just to get rid of me. The problem was that I had an asthma attack. I used to have a lot of them in the course of a year. I got behind in geometry, I never did catch up/ I never did understand what was going on. So I think she passed me just to help me out, to get rid of me.

I played in the clarinet band. Mr. Kooyman was the band director. Well, he had what he called a concert band and a marching band.… Mr. Kirkpatrick had the Coca Cola Company. And he had some children. And his boys used to be the cheerleaders, the bandleaders when we would be marching, and they were very flamboyant. The band was an important element. We thought we had a pretty decent high school band. We never did do well when we used to go to all the contests in Jackson where they brought all the different bands together, I don’t know why but we didn’t. But we did very well as a marching band. Oh, yes,. in the concert band, I played clarinet and eventually became first clarinet. Once you learned how to play the clarinet, it’s easy to play a saxophone. So I picked up the alto saxophone. Then me and a boy named Paul Abel, who played trumpet and another boy whose name I can’t remember, played trombone, we formed a little band. In those days, the greatest music in the world was Glenn Miller, Ray Anthony, even somebody I was crazy about, but most people never heard of. As far as we were concerned, we thought of the music the Blacks played around Clarksdale as foolish stuff. The music that was THE music was produced by big bands. We didn’t care for blues or stuff like that. When I went to college, I played in a dance band in college.

I remember Vernon Hughes. Well, he had to prove to them what a tough guy he was, that he should be accepted. He played on the football team all right but that wasn’t enough. And he used to pick on me. I was much smaller than he was. Sometimes I tried to fight back. Now, here’s where I was caught on a dilemma:

I would come home and my mother would fuss at me because, "here’s that clean shirt I just pressed today and here you’ve got grass stains all over it and you’ve got a tear in it.

And my father used to say, 'Good for you. I don’t care. You took up for yourself.'

[Leon said,] I didn’t know what I should do. Half the time I was scared as the devil because he was a big guy. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I was wearing glasses.

Vernon was probably a year or two older than me. But anyway, I suffered from discrimination, not only from him, but, really, the things that hit me the hardest was, there was a fellow by the name of Joe Weeks, who was one of the sons of one of the plantation owners. He and I started playing the clarinet together at the same time.[61]


Sol’s brother Mose married a Gentile, Alma Deeds. They had five children. \ They did make an effort to send their children to the Temple in Clarksdale at the very beginning. But it didn’t last too long. Alma, Moses’ wife, and mother just couldn’t get along. So, actually, the family separated. They were ten miles apart. I remember when we first moved to Clarksdale, maybe once every two or three months we used to drive down there and visit with them. They still lived in Dublin. As time went by, I think in part for the children, they started going to the Baptist Church there. Mose, unfortunately, was an alcoholic. But I think that was guilt and even with five children and a wife, loneliness. He lived in a world by himself. [I.e. Going to the Baptist church. He was unaccustomed to being a Gentile.[62]


(1868, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Adele said:

The thing about it when my kids--when Stanley started getting sick with asthma he was about 2 1/2 years old. We had an awful time. All those people were right there. They helped me; they were there for me from morning to night--helping me with him. Such a terrible time, that when I would call Dr. Barrett, it was like three times a day.

So, he said to me one day, 'Why don't I make it easier for you? Why don't you pay me by the month, and I will come out every time you need me. Just pay me $50 a month, and I will come out here when you need me to take care of Stanley.[63]

Adele continued,

So, I had my own doctor to take care of Stanley for $50 a month. That's wasn’t a lot of money in those days because, my God, the man was there every other minute. Because I didn't know to do about Stanley when he had an asthma attack. I didn't know what to do. I was dying.[64]


(1900, 1910, 1920)


According to Dave Wiener, “Jack committed suicide, he jumped out of a building. No he didn't, not Jake [who lived in Clarksdale.]That was another Fink, it must have been his brother.” [65]


Alvin said, “When I graduated from Clarksdale High School, my mother pawned her diamonds to send me to school that year to Tulane University.”[66]

Another story by Pauline was about how the money was used. She said, “[My mother] had backbone in that straight carriage because, at the time of the Depression, when the stock market crashed, and Jake lost his money, but not his land.”[67]

Amy Greenwood, Freda's niece said, “No one who was interviewed could clarify when or how often, Freda took her diamonds and went to the bank to put them up as collateral. She wanted to go into business even though she had never worked a day in her life, not even for her father. Abraham.”[68]

Marion, Freda and Jack's daughter, said,

Alvin later attended Ole Miss and George Washington, Washington, DC to complete his law degree. While Alvin was at Ole Miss, he roomed with Edwin Shackeroff for about 6 months. They couldn’t stand each other. Marion had not really known Edwin even though he would come to all of Pauline Kline’s and Alvin Fink’s parties. Marion said she was only allowed to come down stairs once a year on New Year’s Eve. There was such an 8 year age difference between Edwin and myself.”[69]


(1868, 1900, 1910, 1920)


According to the Walton an interviewer for the W. P. A. Project, “Max Friedman, prominent leader in all civic enterprises and organizations for the good of the City of Clarksdale and county as large.”[70]


Mrs. Max (Rose) was re-appointed to the board of trustees of the Clarksdale Carnegie Library for a period of 3 years.[71]


During the interview with theFriedman children, one of them said,

We had two fires at our house that started from an electrical malfunction. The whole town turned out to put the fire out and to take the furniture out. I was ten once and in my teens during the second fire. They took a complete china cabinet with crystal and china out of our house and broke only one stem of crystal. They took the refrigerator out and broke one egg while the fire was raging. We had an upright piano that two men walked out with and it took about six to put it back in. At the first fire that was in the summer and we lived in the Teacher age—a home where all the teachers lived during the year. They were gone for the summer, so we took possession. The next fire, we lived with the Marcuses until our house was repaired. Both times it was rent free; nobody charged us.[72]


Sickness brought the town people to your home with food. We used the doctors in Jonestown; these included: Dr W. S. Slaughter and Dr. D.O. Pierce who were general practitioners. We went to Clarksdale if we had to be admitted to a hospital. I had my tonsils taken out and when I was in that car wreck in Clarksdale.

We all three had scarlet fever when Elaine was in the third grade, and Charles was in the sixth or seventh grade. I remember Dr. Slaughter sat up all night, maybe one or two nights with Mama. Charles came down with it New Year’s Day. Neither our parents nor the maid caught it. We don’t know where it came from that we got it. Nobody else in town had it. There was one child that lived in Lula that had it at the same time we had it but we did not have any contact with the child. It was a black child, and we couldn’t have had any contact. The Clarksdale Laundry would not take our linens, and we had to boil our linens at home while we were sick.[73]


(1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Budgie said,

I graduated in 1932. Better talents than I would ever be were walking the streets looking for jobs. I came home. I ultimately got a job, starting November 1 I came back in June So I came up here. The firm was Joe Ellis. I came up here, and I told him that what I wanted was experience that I would work without compensation. I didn't want to loaf. I wanted to some experience because I wanted to take the C. P. A. Examination. At that time, fortunately for me, he was quite busy. He needed another man, and he put me on. And, of course, started paying me from the beginning. I came to work here July 1, 1932[74].


(1910, 1920)


Misses Mozell Critz and Dolly Kantor Named at General Assembly: Cheer Leaders for Gridiron Team Selected were selected for their cheering ability and for their beauty.”[75]


(1868, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Selma said,

I did not go to many parties in Clarksdale, except Lenabel had a raft of showers when she got married. She said they had games. She had every kind of shower you could have. I believed I was invited to all of her bridal parties.

Selma married on January 7th that was before she finished college. After her graduation, they moved to Tutwiler. James was a pharmacist. While in Tutwiler, he owned his pharmacy across the street from another pharmacy.[76]

I remember James & Selma. Before James owned the pharmacy, it was called the Whittington. He bought the thing from Mr. Whittington.

Corinne said, “She completed her degree in teaching but she never did teach because she didn’t want to.”[77]

Dave Wiener said,

Mr. Ragland had the big one on the other side of. Right James went bankrupt in 1936. [78]Mr. James did, yes. He got into trouble. I don't remember. Wasn't anything bad.…

James Faulkner, lived in Tutwiler I think it was six months or so. at that time, with his wife. He was an engineer for Highway 49 in that area. James wasn't a Faulkner but a cousin.[79]

Corinne and Selma talked about the Faulkner couple,

Selma knew James or Robert Faulkner while s\he lived there, but she does not want this to be told for a book. She used to talk with Mrs. Faulkner daily. Mrs. Faulkner would come in and spend the morning with her. They would have coffee or something in the morning. This was from 1932-1936. They would sit around the laundry or in the kitchen. She had two little boys. I don’t know what their names are now. Her mother-in-law was an artist. He was there to build the highway from Tutwiler to Memphis through Clarksdale. He had a book he wrote. She was from Oxford. Her mother had a boarding house. He had a good voice. I heard him over there. I think, he had a little too much to drink. He was singing at the top of his voice. He had such a beautiful voice.[80]

Selma continued,

Mrs. Faulkner[81] used to say she hoped the Lord that they wouldn’t be geniuses because they had enough of them in the family. They were fine children. She had them refuse a handkerchief in front of them. She wouldn’t let them use a handkerchief to blow your nose because it was considered impolite. Yea, she got mad at Mrs. Dickens. She lived on the corner up there. Because Mrs. Dickens said she didn’t believe little boys and little girls should play together on the school ground. She said she knew her little boys were good as any little girls you ever saw. I got into the middle of that, but I didn’t mean too. Mrs. Dickens had invited her to a party. She told Mrs. Dickens she couldn’t go. I didn’t know any thing about it. Mr. Dickens came into the store. He was the Internal Revenue man. He asked me where Mrs. Faulkner was. I told him she was on the back porch. I didn’t know there was a party going on and she wouldn’t go. So, I told him where she was. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t care too much. I didn’t care about Mrs. Dickens.


Selma said,

Neither Max nor Caesar worked in Isidor's store but Isidor may have helped them in their stores. Each of them had a store in 1933. Adolph and Caesar had a store on Second Street. \ Right there at Sunflower between Sunflower and Delta Avenue. I think it was where the Confectionery was later. I don't know when he decided to leave Clarksdale.[82]

Corinne said, “He was up in his thirties when he went to Florida.”[83]

When talking with Julia B. Glassman, she said that the three[84] Kerstine men who were unmarried were called the “Kerstine Bachelors.”


Corinne said,

After Isidor helped raised his niece, Selma, he decided he did not want to remain a bachelor any longer. Isidor's uncle, Mose Landau, of was dating with Corinne's aunt, Gussie Weiss Bernstein in Memphis. Isidor used to drive Mose to Memphis to see Aunt Gussie on Sundays. I do not know how he knew Aunt Gussie. One time Aunt Gussie asked Isidor if he would to write to her niece in St. Joe, Missouri. He said that if she writes me, I will write her. That’s how it started. I met Isidor on 4th of July. He brought Uncle Mose up to see Aunt Gussie. Aunt Gussie had me to come down from St. Joe to meet Isidor. That’s how it all came about. He took me out, and we got to know each other. We went to the Peabody Hotel for supper. Yes, I liked him at that time. We agreed to write when I went home. This was for six months, and I agreed to get to know him through letters. Then I invited him up for Christmas that year or Hanukkah or whatever. He came up Christmas day. He asked me to marry him at my house the day before New Year’s Eve. He asked me if I would stay with him when we went to Kansas City to spend New Year’s Eve. I said, 'strictly honorable.'

He said, 'Of course.'

I assumed that as a marriage proposal.[85]


Corinne said,

We married in Kansas City, MO, on New Year's Eve, 1932. He did not tell his father or his family about his marriage until he arrived in Clarksdale with his bride. He also waited to tell his bride about his father until they were on the way to Clarksdale from Memphis. It was the way we started 1933.

[On New Years' Eve, we went to the courthouse and got the license first. It was Saturday, and they closed at noon. We wandered around the stores a little while and went back to the hotel. We got married at six o’clock. We got dressed and cleaned up. We had called a rabbi from the courthouse. Rabbi Meyerberg had agreed to marry us after the Sabbath was over. Then it was a short ceremony at his apartment. I don’t know who the witnesses were. That night we went across the street to the “Myron Greens” and had supper. It was across from the Rabbi’s apartment on the Plaza. After dinner we went back to the hotel and went to the picture show. No, I don’t remember the name of the movie. We went back to the hotel and called Minnie Bornman to tell her and to see if she wanted to be with us ( Ben Putter, her uncle). She was at the hotel because she was a guest at a party going on at the hotel.

Yes, I called home that night. My mom didn’t say anything. I don’t remember what my dad did. I don’t remember if Gene was there.We went back to St. Joe the next day after Aunt Jessie, who lived in Kansas City, gave us a dinner party. Mom and Daddy came down to Kansas City for the dinner party. Mama gave us a reception the next day (January 2).[86]


(1868, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


September 10: “Medals Given Here in School Music Contest…. Winners of the music proficiency medals offered to members of the Clarksdale school bands by Director Simon Kooyman for the best showing made during the summer session band practices were awarded the badges yesterday at the formal opening of school by the donor.… Melvin Rappaport was awarded the medals from the Oakhurst school students … promoted to the first band.[87]


(1868, 1890, 1920)


Active member of Board of Supervisors, Jonestown, Mississippi.[88]


(1910, 1920)


My full name is James Edward Wise. I was born in Sumner Mississippi Feb. 11, 1932. Well I grew up in Sumner. We had a very fine school and so forth. I went to school there until my junior year in high school when I went to Clarksdale because after the war the population shift resulted in a lack of funding for the rural schools, and they no longer offered courses like foreign languages which in my day you had to have to get into a good liberal arts school.

Oh yes, I remember my teachers. (Well, some of them, I don't remember all of them. I can remember the teacher that I referred to as being “riches.”) Maybe I shouldn't use that term I suppose. It does translate. She was the wife of the school principal. I remember her just berating a child over her father's business or shady business. Nothing directed toward me.

I do remember in the Christmas pageant. I thought I should have been a wise man because of my name, but there wasn't much possibility of that. I dunno if they even got past that, but I couldn't even carry a tune They all had solo parts but I did march and sing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.”

I can remember crossing the old bridge in Clarksdale, but I don't really remember that. I'm sure it was in the mid to late thirties, but I don't have the personal recollection of it. And so they were very conscious that I also knew about shoes, and we used to laugh. They used to send me to Louisville in the summer time to visit my cousin Helen Fink from Marigold, who was there married and living in Louisville. And I'd stay for weeks, and what they were doing is that they would send me up there to see what Jews looked like. I didn't know it at the time, but that's exactly what they had in mind. In fact, instead of sending me to a fancy camp, they'd send me to a YMHA camp out of Louisville in the summer time. I didn't know it at the time. And also you know in my generation in college if you joined a fraternity you joined a Jewish fraternity 'cuss they were totally segregated. And we always had a lot of Jewish connections so it never dawned on me that you would not be a part of the Jewish community.

When I was a wee, small child before I went to Sunday School in Clarksdale, I was enrolled in the Presbyterian Cradle-roll because we affiliated with them. …We didn't affiliate with the church, but we had many friends there. The minister and my father were friends, and my mother worked with the women in the church doing charity work. [For example,] running the clothes closet for people whose houses were burned and poor people … who needed clothes. I'm sure there was some anti-Semitism, certainly in thought, if not in dee, but I was never aware of any. I saw what I would call somewhat righteousness in the school, but it was never directed at me. It was directed by super Christians toward those that they believed to be less Christian than they oughta be. Nothing that I ever recognized was ever directed toward me. Things like Debutante Balls and Bachelor's Clubs I just thought were natural.… I never gave it a thought.… I was always taught to respect myself and my religion and never back from it. And you did, not in a forceful sorta way, but to always know where you came from, and what it was … Always be prepared to answer questions.

Oh course I went to Sunday School in Clarksdale throughout the entire period. Well I can remember Max Freeman being superintendent of the Sunday School. I remember from photographs that Mr. Abramson was at one time, but I don't remember that. Elaine Friedman from Jonestown at that time was a Sunday School teacher of mine. Sissy Friedman taught one of my classes; I can remember.… I don't really remember who else taught our Sunday School classes at that time. Now my father taught me also at home. My father taught me to read Hebrew. He didn't teach me [to] translate but he taught me to read.… He saw that I learned the tune … from a Rabbi Atlas in Greenwood,. He took me down there to learn the tunes.

Oh there was a tremendous amount of turn over [with the Rabbis] when I was a child. I think I told you last time about, that when I was confirmed we didn't have a Rabbi, and he'd left [during] my confirmation year. My father arranged for Rabbi Rabinowitz from Greenville to come up on Sunday afternoons to meet with us and confirmed us.

Oh there was tremendous, a lot of controversy and even the many of them that considered themselves Reform really didn't know what Reform meant. It just meant that they tried to Americanize is what it was. And when you scratched them a little bit, they didn't like the Reform trappings.… There was a lot of social problem in there within the congregation, within the community, not the congregation.

My parents didn't, but I think to them a trip to Clarksdale as I say, they never got over the concept that it was a trip. Of course nowadays it's like one community. Other people didn't. I know I mean I talked with Hermine Davidson or Hermine Jacobs she was, we grew up basically together. And she says they always went to Cleveland on Friday night. That same sorta deal, but we didn't do it. And the Peals didn't. The Turners didn't go much of anywhere. I don't know about holidays. But we just didn't do that.

Well I know that we had many acquaintances that we were friendly, we spoke, and we were never in their house or them in ours.… I can remember that there were some boundaries in my house. Coming from my father, my mother was just “I love everybody”, but she conformed pretty well. She said that more than she really meant it. She was always pleasantly charming. I loved her but she didn't always really think that sometimes.

My class was Hermine Bacharach. She was then; she moved and became Bassist, Lynnie Cohen, Henry Weiss was in and out depending on what year it was. I really think his younger brother Richard was really my age but he was never in my class. Irving Califf--Butch Califf and me.

Richard was a sick child also. I remember Mrs. Lena Plitman, who was probably related. She said '[she] could recall going to the synagogue to change his name because he was such a sick child.' That was the old Eastern European custom that if you would change the name you would confuse the Angel of Death. And they had either given him an additional name or had changed his name. Now whether it's true or not, I don't know. But I can remember Ms. Lena Plitman telling me this story.

[Lena Plitman] was Gloria's mother. Gloria was older than me by either one or two years, I'm not sure but she and Joann Kaplan [Bloom] I knew better our mothers were friends and fathers. But Gloria, Joann, Hilda Baskind [Kaufman] she was there was an Erline Shankerman but there was several years in there. They weren't all in the same group, but that was a group that was Stanley Cohen, Alvin Binder were all in there about that age group. Isabelle Peal [Posner] I remember Isabelle, not from Clarksdale, but from wherever because we grew up together quite literally.[89]


March 6-10: Franklin Roosevelt Proclamation invoked that declared a 4-day national banking holiday suspending all transactions in the Federal Reserve and other banks, trust companies, credit unions and building and loan associations. In order to permit the continuance of business operations, the use of scrip was allowed. (e.g., cleaning house certificates or other evidence of claims against the assets of banks)[90] (World Encyclopedia, 341)

March 31: President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) an idea suggested to him during his presidential campaign by F. A. Anderson, a Gloster lumberman.

The Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC, was one of the first New Deal programs. It was a public works project intended to promote environmental conservation and to build good citizens through vigorous, disciplined outdoor labor. Close to the heart of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the CCC combined his interests in conservation and universal service for youth. He believed that this civilian “tree army” would relieve the rural unemployed and keep youth “off the city street corners.”[91]

September 1: Harold Lloyd Jenkins, better known as country music singer Conway Twitty, was born in Friars Point.

U. S. Highway 61. “Concrete road on U.S. 61 northward is built almost to Lulu on an absolute straight line, which is being extended to Evansville, MS and is the longest straight section of concrete highway in the world.”[92]


1933-1937: Jake Fink President

The year that Pauline Fink Adelson was confirmed, her mother, Freda Fink was Superintendent. Freda arranged to have Bernard Cohen, McGehee, AR, to play his violin, and Lillian Small played the piano. Lillian Small and Bernard me during this event. They practiced on the baby grand piano at the Fink’s home on Second St. Later they married. The piano burned in the fire.[93]


The congregation started a Women’s Auxiliary/ Corinne Kerstine said, “I can’t tell you whom the president was but I believe Mrs. Max Friedman was. About thirty-seven women were members at that time, but I am not sure. Only the local ladies came; they did not come from Marks, or Tunica. Yea, mostly Orthodox women because it was from the first temple.”[94]


Corinne said,

The first time I played the piano for the service; Becky Bishop sang. The piano was downstairs on the bema. However, Victor Binder and Selma Levine got up and left. Max Plitman made a speech. It had to do with the tradition of Orthodox Jews playing/chanting their own music. Rabbi Rabinowitz, Greenwood, came to officiate during the services.[95]

Corinne said they started almost immediately after I got there. We used to go down to the B'nai B'rith Hut and practice down there. Then we had a piano on the dais, and there was Lena Plitman, Bea Califf, and Natalie Marks. Later we had Harold Levine. We didn't have males in the beginning. We started with using the piano, not the organ. Rabbi Tolochko was there. I remember when we got the organ more than I do the piano. The piano was on the bema. You said that, it stayed there for years, you mean.[96]

Corinne said,

I was never in charge of the choir. Lena Plitman was head of it. I do not know her musical background but she liked to be in charge. Oh yes, we let her. She played the piano. Lena Plitman selected the music and told everyone what to sing. These were not democratic decisions. Yes, whatever she wanted, we did. Yes, we always sang from upstairs. They never came down on the bema after they got the organ.[97]


Corinne said,

After I married and came to Clarksdale and before I had children, our social life was going around with Fred and Adele Cohen and Anna and Louis Segal. We use to play Bridge. I learned to play Bridge in St. Joe I didn’t play a lot in St. Joe. I used to go over to Mrs. Freyman’s with someone, probably Flora. We got the chickens for the Okuns.[98]

I don’t know if Sam Abrams was there at that time. We used to go over to Pearl and Louis Binder’s house and to Ben Jacobson’s. All of us would go over to Pearl’s house. We were invited over there. We invited, occasionally to Esther Bernstein’s house. Of course, Lenabel and Harry didn’t marry until a year after we did. So, we didn’t start going with them until after they married.[99]

Adele said:

My goodness, Isidor never missed a dance. He never stopped dancing. He was just a heck of a wonderful dancer and good company. We used to have him out for lunch and dinner, just like we did when you two got married. You came for lunch, stayed all day. We played cards that night until midnight. Then, I think, y'all went home.” Corinne agreed with Adele that they use to go to the Cohen home every Sunday night for --black jack games.[100]

Corinne said, “When I first came to Clarksdale as a bride, my husband was a merchant and well accepted in the community. I didn’t find it hard assimilating into this new type of culture that I was not familiar with. I don’t remember a lot about it really.”

She continued,

I got into the musical activities almost right away when I got there. I was taken in right away. I joined the Woman’s Club. The Opera Study Club had just started, and I was one of the first invited in. I didn’t go in as a charter member, but I was in the first group that was invited in.[101]


Catherine Curtis, a charter member of the ODD club-a local social girls' club, told the following about the way the club began,

Approximately ten girls in the ninth grade formed the high s school's club called the ODD Club (means Our Democratic Daughters). Some of the members included Baby Doll Peacock and Margaret Cooper. It only was for social purposes for the girls who were dating to give parties. Most of these were close friends and daughters of plantation owners and mothers who were in the Daughters of American Revolution (DAR); however, it didn't appear to matter to the charter members.[102]



Corinne said.” I started playing for weddings in 1933. The first one was Shepp, who was Barbara Shepp Magdovitz father's brother. They got married in a home in Tutwiler.”[103]

Author asked Corinne if there any unusual things that happened during any of these weddings that she played. Did they all used the same music? But the tape is garbled and all Margie can remember is that Corinne answered nothing unusual happened, She used the same pieces plus the ones requested by the family.[104]

Corinne did not know who played for Temple weddings between 1929 and 1933 because she was not there. She did not remember anyone telling her this type of information. Most of the receptions were held at the Alcazar Hotel on the mezzanine level. Corinne added, “No, I don’t remember anything about the catering.”[105]

No one in the Jewish community who helped plan the weddings.

Corinne said, “I never played for Christian weddings after I came to Clarksdale.” When Corinne described the difference between the Jewish and Christian ceremonies, she said: “The Jews would put on a little bit better weddings. The Christians had every thing at the church. Then they would go to the Country Club for the reception. Occasionally, they would use the Fellowship Hall or the Methodist Church for the receptions.”[106]

Corinne talked about the bridal showers before weddings: “Oh, there were a lot of showers for the bride. Everybody gave showers. Maybe six would go together and give it at the B’nai B'rith building. Some gave the bridal gift at the shower; some gave a shower gift and a bridal gift later on.”[107]

Corinne did not remember much about the type of bridal showers they usually had. She said,

They were just general rather than a specific type, such as kitchen, linen, or bathroom. Sometimes they would give a kitchen or a linen shower. No, not silver shower. Some played games at these showers; others did not. Well, the majority of us just gave luncheons. You would go to the luncheon in the home or the hotel. They just had X number of people there to eat lunch and gave a gift and left. If they wanted to give a gift, usually the hostess gave the gift, not the guests. Yes they always dressed up for these luncheons. She did not remember if they wore hats and gloves, but Margie remembers a few and the answer is yes they did wear hats and gloves to any dressy luncheons.[108]


(1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


People would come from out of town on Sundays, like the Wieners, the Turners, and the Moyers.[109]

I can’t remember other friends in school , other than the Rossies, I think it was Rosy Rossie. They had a store on Sunflower. Another was the Gattas. We were all friends in school because I played basketball. You know we had all these ethnic groups that we call now in Clarksdale. My sister, whom I said had dark skin and dark hair, would go to the Syrian Club to play Bingo. All the Syrians thought she was Syrian and would try to get dates with her.

We had dances at the Elk’s Club. The building had a big Elk or moose or something in front. When we went outside we had to go on top of that thing as kids.[110]


(1910, 1920)

May 18: Newspaper clipping shows Dorothy Califf being presented in a Minnie Shannon Recital held at the Woman's Club. She played several pieces.[111]


Leon said,

At seven years old, I went to work in our Issaquena store. It was called Califf’s General Merchandise. My father had rented a long, narrow store, and the handkerchiefs and bandanas were even hanging from the ceiling. Of course, my job was to stand around and watch. Across the street from us, a man named Rossie had a theater. It was the poorest excuse for a theater you could imagine but these people coming in from the country - - it was such a novelty, such a new thing. We used to have big rushes of people. We had a break about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and so they told me I could go to the movies. They had a better movie. I think Mr. Aronoff ran it.

There was another theater there in the Thirties. I remember the Levines had a store on a particular street, and a Mr. Kaufmann had a men’s store on a street. I think you come up to the corner and turn right and there was this theater. It was primarily cowboys, you know Tex Ritter, Hopalong Cassidy. Well, this was not on Sunflower. It was not far from there on another street. Yea. They had the cowboys. Well, I remember the Dinners, they may have been a block farther away.

They had the cowboys, and then they had the continued Buck Rogers serials. I used to get a quarter, and I’d go to the movies. After about a month I got tired of it. Same stuff, over and over and over. The Buck Rogers was so impossible, I mean so far-fetched, like nothing I had ever heard of or ever dreamed of. I couldn’t even imagine it, so I thought it was a bunch of baloney. I used to come back to the store, and they’d give me a quarter and I had to pass by the bus station in order to go to the theater. I’d go into the bus station, and I’d get a big Orange and a Moon Pie and go sit down in the seats, and I’d watch the people. That was what was exciting to me--watching people: how this one dressed, how this one walked, how this one talked, I’ll just shift gears just a little bit. Well, I didn’t talk to anybody. But I could make up these scenarios in my mind. There was one other thing that I mentioned.

Al Israel’s store was on one side and Leon Binder’s store on the other side. Califf’s was in the middle of the block. OK, Al Israel was on one side, and Leon Binder’s store was on the other side. As I recall, across the street from the Campassi's, right at the end of the street by the viaduct.

They would come in, you could see them coming in on the trucks from the country, from the plantations, and there were certain times when we were much busier than other times But the trucks would come in from the country and they would be loaded with the Negro people and they would jump off, and of course there were a number of reasons why they came: to see a movie, to do some shopping, to see friends and maybe sexual acquaintances and things like that. They used to get off and some would go right to the movie, and others would go do their shopping so they could get that out of the way and then go to their movies, and there was a restaurant on the street that was of poor quality. But eating out for them, regardless, was something they could only do when they had a chance to come to Clarksdale. A lot of them would go there very week. This side was for the Whites, and this side was for the Blacks. I don’t remember the name of it. I have heard that before the Jewish merchants took over Issaquena and became very well-known down there, that it was a red-light district. I don’t know about Issaquena but I know that there was several blocks away from Issaquena in different directions. I was too young to know much about that kind of thing but I used to hear. They used to say things tied in with the idea that prostitutes were over here. Several blocks away from Issaquena in an all-Negro area where they couldn’t be seen by white folks.

The Orthodox men on Issaquena, rather than going to the schul sometimes, would have minyans and things in the morning or at night. They used to call me over a few times. I wasn’t even Bar Mitzvah but I don’t think that mattered under the circumstances. No. They just needed ten men. I think it was Irving Shankerman’s store or Abrams. They may have done it much oftener during the daytime.

I remember that Ella Jacobson was loud, revolting and aggressive. I know that the merchants were in constant competition with each other. So, they were only friendly because they were all Jews, but other than that, right beneath the surface, there was a lot of dislike. Well, my parents, my mother saw to it they didn’t talk about those things while we were … in our presence. But you could sense it; you could feel it, and I could sense that my father had no relationship with the other merchants. And the other merchants … if you went into another merchant’s store he would think you were spying on him. Everybody depended upon the same source of revenue, that is, the Negro cotton pickers from the country. Of course, they had a few little industries in town. This was the reason my father moved from Dublin to Clarksdale because he couldn’t make a living in Dublin. But in Clarksdale, they had a bakery and an oil mill and a few other things. They had a few town people who bought things in June and July when the sharecroppers didn’t. But there was always this element of competition - each man wanted to feel that he was somebody special. He adopted a pose or a persona or a mask of some sort to make himself different from everyone else.

I remember one time I had made an "A" on an exam. I came home and was all excited, and I showed it to him. I remember, on the kitchen table, it wasn’t round it was a square table, milk was sitting in a jar, in a big pitcher, and I knocked the milk over. He chased me around the house. This was because it cost a lot of money in those days. They used to barter and trade a lot. My father had worked for the Baker Brothers for several years so he knew a lot of the sharecroppers, and they used to bring stuff to him, foodstuffs primarily, to trade for clothes. That’s wonderful, except you still have to have money to pay the bank or the company that you got your clothes from to begin with. I’m just in awe. This is ingenuity, perseverance, stick-to-it-liveness, determination, and set of values. This is one of the reasons why Judaism has prevailed over all the difficulties.

Well, mother sang in the choir and my father - at the very beginning, they used to have Orthodox services in the Temple in the morning and Reform later in the day. At the very beginning we used to go to the Orthodox services. And he later stopped...he became...he only went when he had to go, on Holidays, and sit next to Mr. Plitman, who fell asleep and the Rabbi Tolochko. He and my daddy were buddies.

Rabbi tried to teach me how to read Hebrew. I did it for a couple of weeks. I rebelled. I’m the only one doing this; nobody else is doing this. I asked the other boys. There was Gerald Plitman; there was Charles Levine; Ira Cantor; the Kauffman boy, Irving Kauffman, they didn’t know what I was talking about. I don’t want to do this. I’m the only one doing this. When am I going to use it? Well, he didn’t want to fight with me. So, actually, I had very, very little religious background.

Well, we had a very odd situation. My mother came from an extremely dysfunctional family. Her mother died at a fairly early age, she was about ten or so. And her father married a woman who was a widow with one child. This woman became a matriarch.[112]


(1900, 1910, 1920)

Alvin said,

After [Jake] left the top floor of McWilliams Building, he moved his wholesale business into the center of 2nd Block of Delta Avenue where the Gift and Art Shop was during the 1950s through 1980s. Kate and Morris Sebulsky moved from that building to Yazoo. He had his wholesale grocery right there. Then when the Alcazar Hotel burned, they eventually moved to Yazoo. That’s where Woolworth’s used to be, where Shankerman's moved. Woolworth's built that new store on the corner.[113]


Alvin said,

During 1930s, when things had gotten a little better, the Planters Bank (prior name before Coahoma County Bank) was closed. Jake got the ledger of the loans and stuff. They used to keep them in longhand writing. They were flipping through the pages to find Felix Balson owed $50,000. He had a five and dime store.[114]


Alvin's sister, Pauline said,

Among the ODD club’s by-laws was the rule that the club members could not ask a Jewish girl. Jessie Kline, Sylvia Basking, Reva Morgan and myself did not receive invitations. That is what made the difference in Clarksdale. The club membership included the most aristocratic families of the top 400 families; the plumber’s daughter was not included; nor was the electrician daughter’s. It was only the plantation daughters or the DAR that were included in this small group. The first Jewish girl to be asked was Betty Jean Salomon circa 1950 because her family was friendly with the Barksdales’ Later, my niece Sandra Leibson was president.[115]


(1868, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Selma said, “Yea, I remember him. I remember the family. I remember that they lived on Oakhurst.. Yes, I know they use to take chickens and stuff there for him to kill.”

Selma added,

I know that Mrs. Silverstein, you don’t know, her, but she lived in Tutwiler. I don't remember her first name. They took their chickens over to Freyman’s too. Yea, they would take them in the car. I would go with them. The chickens would get loose and fly around the car. She had the feet tied, but the chicken could still fly a little. She would take me over there. I never watched him kill them because she would leave them at the Rabbi’s. He would kill them later by cutting the neck and letting it bleed to death. They thought that was sanitary. They didn’t like the idea of wringing a chicken’s neck.[116]


(1868, 1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


After the banks closed things were terrible. From 1914 until the banks closed, my father, Charles proposed very well as a merchant in Jonestown.[117]


Max Friedman, we all knew him. Well, he very active in the schul. Very active in it. He was always on the bema. They would auction off the aliyahs, (visits to Israel) he was one of the auctioneers. [118]


(1868, 1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Corinne said,

We left for Clarksdale. on January 2nd after the party. The train trip included spending the night on the train.) Yes,we got into Memphis early in the morning. We went to the Claridge Hotel to see Aunt Gussie. She got so excited. No, she didn’t do anything. So you spent the day with her, and then[we] went somewhere to eat and to meet Julius Jeidal, Daddy’s friend who was there. We got on the Panama Limited train at 4 and got home by 6.[119]

Corinne doesn’t remember exactly how Isidor told her his fatherAdolph did not want Isidor or his brothers to get married. She said Isidor did not whisper when he was telling me on the train about what I was about to witness and go through.

Corinne added, “I don’t remember what I thought then. Yes, it did; it scare me. It kept me from wanting to meet his father. Oh yea, I knew about his father before Isidor came up to meet me. I knew about his father because Aunt Gussie had told us. I knew that he was mean--a mean man--ruled his boys, dominated them; dictated to them.”[120]

Corinne continued,

Isidor just talked about--why we got married in Kansas City without his family. He wouldn’t let me have any of her family there because he didn’t want her to tell her family until after she was married. He was not afraid that her family would not let her marry him. So when we got off the train

Max and Mose were there, and they didn’t know he had married, because he had not sent any word home ahead of time. They suspected that he was going to. They knew something was going on. Uncle Mose who had been married to Minnie Brush was living in Clarksdale. Well, he was working for Max. He later married Jennie Small after that. He had met her years before. He had lived with Aunt Gussie for years.

We went to the Sam’sCafé across from the old post office on Second and Issaquena. I did not meet a lot of people in the restaurant because there were very few people there. I only remember Inez Payne was one of three people I met. They didn’t make any big to do over [Isidor marrying], except Sam.

I met [Adolph], his father, the next day (January 3rd). He had told his three sons previously they would regret marrying. This occurred the day I met him in Caesar’s store. I don’t think it had anything to do with me,” It made me not like him.”

Adolph said to Corinne, “You will live to regret this.” It made me not like him. I did begin liking him later on.

Corinne said, “

After we left the restaurant Isidor went out to the house at 401 Elm house. No one else was living there. Isidor was renting one room from someone else but he owned the property. It had a cheap bed, and there was a trunk sitting there. That was when I first got there--Within the first couple of days.

We went over to Mrs. Vernon’s who was living across the street (on Elm). She was working for Isidor at the time. Yes, she was surprised. No, she did not know something was going to happen. She was surprised.

And, Adolph always made fun of Isidor when any of my furniture would come he would say, “you’re living like a prince.”) Yes, that was his way of making fun of his son.

Isidor was paying $3.75 for a dress, and he was selling it for $7.95 when Corinne moved there.[121]


Corinne said, “As soon as you got the people moved out of the Cherry Street house, [Isidor and I] moved in because Isidor had to give the renters notice that he wanted the house, and they left..”

Corinne described the furnishings of the house at 224 Cherry Street when she arrived in 1933,

Well, in the front room and in the dining room they had a dining room table and five or six chairs but they didn’t have anything else. In the front room they had a living room suite that had two chairs. There was a coal oil stove what was once called a potbelly stove. In the bedrooms they had wrought iron beds. One dresser was in one room. It was very cheap stuff. He had bought at Memphis Wholesale Furniture but he didn’t buy good stuff, you know. They had two bedrooms but only furnished one bedroom. As far as she knew they did not go out to buy it before she arrived. There was one wooden bed, a vanity, and that was all. The three men used trunks to live out of. In the kitchen the dishes were cheap and disorganized. There were hardly any cooking utensils or anything else.[122]

Three brothers and one father were living as bachelors in another house, and 224 Cherry Street had been rented out. Although we don't know when,it was rented as a furnished house. However, Corinne was describing it as she found it when she moved in during 1933.”

Corinne said, “Max and Mose Landau were German Jews; so were the Richbergers Most of the orthodox [Jews} know the Richbergers, so I suspect you are right; J. Jeidal wasn’t.”[123] It was difficult for her to compare the Orthodox Jews from Missouri with those in Mississippi because, other than one friend, she had not associated with Orthodox Jews people in Missouri.


Corinne said, “Adolph was living on Desoto in that little house where Max use to live. Max was living there too with Caesar at that time.”

Corinne and Selma talked about Adolph always buying two houses when he lived with his family in Manitou, Myrtle Beach and Clarksdale.

Selma said. “When they went to New York that time, he bought two houses. When they went to Denver, he bought two houses. Everywhere he went he always bought two houses.”[124]

Corinne restated many times that Molly, his wife, never understood this.

Margie, the author, said: You told me earlier that he did not like the way his wife had forced him to pick things up or move things around.”

Corinne was told Mollie always complained about the way he was such a mess. She said,

He bought the home on DeSoto and wouldn't let Molly come in it. He lived in the back part and put a padlock on that house. He built the house that Max lived in after Adolph died. Max lived there until he entered the nursing home in the 60s. The family lived in the front part. Irene Shelby lived next door to them, not in one of the Kerstine’s house.

At the time I met and knew Adolph, he was in his 70s. He was a short and very thin man. At the time she knew him, he did not wear his derby. Margie said that others who were interviewed stated that he wore a derby like Jake Jeidal did. He had a mustache because he has one in every picture.

This was about four years before Adolph died. He was no longer wealthy or powerful, just an old man. I took walks with him, and he talked a lot. Adolph talked all the time. I imagine he was with many people because he was quite a mixer. He was quite a talker. He loved to talk around with people. He had a lot of friends, he really did. They had not met before. She couldn’t remember what he talked about. Just said everything---just talked, talked and talked. He believed the older you were, the smarter your were, so he always wanted people to think that he was older than he was. He never talked about going broke or his wife. He never went to Helena to visit her grave. He never talked about Rosa or anything like that, nor about philosophy, cotton, or music.

[Adolph] liked the cotton brokers across from Isidor’s store on Delta, and he liked to be with them. So, he went over there and associated with all those men. He talked about everything. I don’t know. He wasn’t a salesman at that time, except land and properties. No, he did not sell cotton like the cotton broker. He did not play poker or pinochle or any of those games. She wasn’t sure whether or not he associated a lot with the Jewish people in town The brokers he talked to were all non-Jewish. I think he was very friendly with Wildberger. He was a big name in town--Wildberger was the Mayor. I don’t know where Wildberger’s store was located. His house was at the end of Issaquena. I think he was friendly with Al Nachman.… He was very friendly with bankers in town. No, at that time. Richberger, his friend had left. The Depression was going on. He never read or talked about books and music,[125]

Adolph could read but he didn’t read a lot though because Corinne believed he wasn’t a cultured man, like Morris Weiss, her father.[126]

Selma said that her grandfather, Adolph Kerstine did not believe in hugging and kissing his family or anybody else because he was highly concerned about passing on infectious diseases. Thus, she did not receive a lot of petting and nurturing during her childhood.[127]


Corinne said, “Caesar owned a store in Clarksdale where there was a candy store (confectioner) in the 40s and 50s on Second Street. It was when I was first there; he had the store there--a cheap haberdashery. She did not know where he bought his merchandise for it.[128]


(1880 1910, 1920)


Corinne said, “

Carlie was a short, heavyset brunette and had a conservative personality. She wore glasses and was soft spoken. Max had an accent; she did not. She was a very nice woman from Memphis. She didn't tell jokes. They didn't do that in those days. Women didn't tell jokes, [except our Aunt Gussie]. Carly was known for her cooking. She was famous for her chocolate cake. She was a good baker. She didn’t sew much, only did mending.[129]


Corinne said: “Mose was thin and tall. Mose and Max did not look alike; they differed in their appearances. Mose was bald--wore glasses. He always wore vested suits, even on Saturdays. He came back to Clarksdale [after Caryl died] and married Jenny Small. They lived on Leflore Street in Jenny's house on the other side of town.”[130]…. Corinne added “I do not remember the year Max came back to Clarksdale”[131]

Margie remembered Corinne said Mose was Isidor's uncle because he had married Minnie Bush, Isidor's aunt. Yet, Corinne and her parents Rose and Morris Weiss, were closer to Max and Carly.”


(1910, 1920)


James said,

I wasn’t impacted by the Great Depression simply because I was born in 1932, and by the time I wanted anything or to spend any money, the good times had returned. My father went bankrupt in 1933, I think. I’m not real sure. Yes, he was really aided tremendously by Abe Wiener in Tutwiler-Dr. Dave Wiener’s father. He sorta looked after him and got him back started and so forth. In fact, I just paid an insurance premium for three dollars which was a burial policy, that I’m sure he took out at about that time. And just for the hell of it, I have no idea of canceling that policy. It is three dollars a year. Some company in Kosciusko, Mississippi, and I wouldn’t dare cancel it. I just think it’s great. But yeah, they were badly affected, and I heard mother say that they married in Memphis at the Peabody, but not because they were so rich but because they lived in Mariana so long that if they married there it required a really large wedding. If they married in Memphis it was much smaller deal, and that was the reason. I’ve also heard her say that my father didn’t have anything at that time, 1930, but her mother the German in classic fashion had stashed enough away. And mother what she described as a beautiful trousseau, but it came from her mother who just squirreled away that money in case it ever happened.[132]



Julia Baker said,

Before the Temple was built, we had our Temple on Delta, and it was very small. Sometimes we went to the American Legion next door, and then we would go across the street to the Court House. Jeannie Freyman Shepp was my teacher. We would meet in those different places. I don’t remember if we had different teacher every year or from class to class. I think we were the second confirmation class because my sister was in the first one, which was 1933. [133]


(1910, 1920)


Blanche Dinner Behrend said,

In 1929, the Dinners lived over the restaurant; then later, we lived at 125 Oakhurst.[134] He built a house next door to where the policeman lived and his wife; she was a drunk. I think it was the first block. We were next door to Isaacson’s on Oakhurst. Yea, he had the bedrooms upstairs, and we had up and down. It was a cute duplex. What’s her name, lived there in the downstairs, Mrs. Cantor - - Rose Cantor’s sister - - Annie Aronson, yes. She married a young man, and he was in the delicatessen business, too. But she was a pretty woman but she had a mouth on her, boy! Annie could get anything. I liked her. She had the best personality of anybody She was funny. She was really funny. She was liked; you would be surprised. Couldn’t help but like her. She used to tell jokes, make you laugh. Even when we were talking, she would tell jokes - - dirty jokes. She could really tell them.

I used to play poker with her and all the women. All I remember is from Clarksdale. Rose Cantor and Annie Aronson were sisters. Oh, wait a minute, I knew their maiden names - - Rosen. I believe, their mother was in Memphis - - little old lady. I knew her. She was the sweetest lady. Fanny Rosen. They had a delicatessen in Memphis. Leon Cantor was her son. Her husband used to travel.[135]

Lawrence Magdovitz said, “Annie had the store where Leon was. He bought her out, and she left. And the only thing I know about them is they said that she really gave Leon a royal screwing.”[136]




Blanche said,

Oh, I’ll tell you, Ruth Cohen, Colleen Balicer, let’s see who else. It wasn’t Gertrude Bernstein; she was older; Alma Baker lives in Memphis; she’s the youngest. Lorraine Gordon graduated with me. Yea, I know. Her mother lived in the same project when I lived in Memphis. I used to go to her room whenever I cooked good soup and everything. Her husband was living then, and bring [the soup] to them. They were so happy to get my food. I cooked like my Mama, you know. I always shared my cooking, baking, with my neighbors. They liked it.

I went to out of town football games - - Greenwood and Greenville and other places. I graduated with honors. I have to make all 'A’s' for two years straight to get a separate diploma, and I took shorthand, bookkeeping and typing. Those three subjects I had to make straight 'A’s'…. spelling was the easiest thing for me. No, the school required this, not my parents. To get a separate diploma, I got two diplomas - - one for graduating and one for business - - for secretary.

In fact the President of Clarksdale Bank came to school - - Mr. Peacock. Yea. He asked my teacher to recommend him one of the students. He wanted a private secretary.

[The teacher said, “which one would you prefer, the one who types sixty words and no errors, or the one that types seventy-five words with forty errors?'”

Blanche continued, “I corrected their papers. We have to change papers. Each one had to correct somebody else’s. I made sixty words a minute. The others made about seventy-five words a minute but they made about forty errors.”

Peacock said, “No way. Give me the sixty words.”

Blanche added,

The teacher recommended me. So when I graduated, Daddy wouldn’t let me go to work. Because he said ... in fact two months before graduation, some doctor or somebody came to check us for TB. I guess they must have had a couple of cases or something. They wanted to stop it. They’d scratch our arm. In a few days if it got red, then that’s the sign you had the germ. Me, I was so skinny, and I worked so hard to make those grades. I wouldn’t eat.… I would practice typing upstairs a clock with a typewriter.…

Everybody downstairs would say, 'Reuben, what’s that I hear?…

Reuben answered, “Oh, that’s Blanche typing."

Blanche said,

The more I practiced the faster I typed. And I wouldn’t dare make a mistake.… I had worked so hard. I was my history teacher’s private secretary. I have to pack all of her papers, test papers and everything. I was so exhausted, and every day I would leave school when she left … after four o’clock most of the time. I came home; we had living quarters above the restaurant. I would start studying. Some don’t study right away when they first got home. Everything wasn’t so easy for me. like the American kids. I worked hard to earn what I did.

I never finished telling you why I didn’t go to work. Remember they tested us for TB? Well I had the biggest spot of anybody at school, and then I had TB. Bad germ - - I used to cough all the time. I’d catch a cold and cough up blood and everything. [I] didn’t know I was so sick with the cold couldn’t get rid of it. So the doctor called my Daddy’s place, the restaurant

The doctor said, “Mr. Dinner, your daughter has the germ, TB, and she really needs to go to sanitarium."

My dad] was so worried he says, "I’m going to put you...

Blanche added, “It was two months before graduation, and I had to work so hard to make all "A’s. I said, 'Daddy, I’ll do anything you tell me. Don’t send me to Sanitarium. I worked so hard to graduate. I finally made it.'

So he said, “On one condition. That you have to drink a quart of rich milk a day, a quart of cream a day and you got to start eating.

Blanche said,

So, I drank coffee cream, a whole quart a day. And the richest milk, a quart a day. Listen, it almost came back but I forced it down. I wouldn’t dare throw up because I was scared he would put me in the sanitarium. So, I gained one pound in one month - - one pound. But, that was a start, anyway. And so he let me graduate. He was so proud when they called out my name for this, not the four years diploma; but the one I won for secretary. And so he was so proud and, what’s her name, Ruth Cohen was with me she’s my best friend.

Celia was Ruth’s mother, and Harry Cohen, her father. Celia used to come for coffee and maybe eat maybe a little lunch, and Harry did too.

My mama used to tell Mrs. Cohen, “Would you please let Blanche eat at your house?"

Blanche added, “You know, I used to study with Ruth. We’d spend the night over at her house.”

My mama would say, "I’ll pay you if you will make her eat".

Mrs. Cohen answered, "No, don’t worry, she’ll eat".

Blanche said,

I ate better at [Ruth's] house than in a restaurant. In a restaurant, you see so much food you lose your appetite. … and here I had all the food ,and I didn’t want to eat.

Ruth used to say, "How come I don’t have no trouble, Blanche, eats good at my house."

Blanche said, “When [Peacock] wanted me to come to work, I couldn’t work.”

Because [Peacock] said, "She’s sick. She cannot work. I’m not letting her work."

Blanche said, “That’s why I never worked in my life for anybody. I didn’t have experience. He wouldn’t let me work and keep up my speed in typing or anything.”

Peacock said, "I’m not going to let you be a secretary--be a TB patient."

Blanche said, “well Daddy, how in the world will I get the practice and experience?"

Reuben said, "Your health is worth more than your money. You don’t need to work."

Blanche said, “He gave me anything I needed. We had plenty. He had property in Clarksdale.”[137]

Alvin Labens recalled meeting a gentleman at the Delicatessen. He believed his name was Lieberman who was from Ohio. I was a kid in the Reuben’s Delicatessen on a Sunday. He told me that he was instrumental in locating most of the people in Clarksdale through the HAIS (Hebrew American Immigration Society).[138]


(1910, 1920)


Alvin said,

We moved back to Clarksdale.… I went into the 6th grade.which would be more between 1932 and 1934. We moved to 318 Delta. My father had a dry goods store at that address. Even though the economics were good for the Labens family in Itta Bena, they moved to Clarksdale for Jewish influence for children.

Mr. Heidelberg, the principal, lived across the street from Elizabeth Dorr School; he brought his Doberman, Black Boy, to school. It was not a racial designation. We had enough of our own there ... just like the 30s, we had enough Jewish kids there we didn't have to go look down in Greenville or somewhere for something to do.[139]




Joe said,

I met my wife, Hilda Reisen as a blind date. My brother Harry was in Memphis at that time. He had two stores. He was running around with that group. He got me a date a blind date … and she was from Memphis. We married in 1934. We stayed at the Peabody but we married at her home. Rabbi Ettelson married us.

At this time I was still working in Clarksdale. Well, Mrs. Sacks rented us a room to start with, and then finally we got our own home on Maple Street right across the street on the back side of the Clarksdale Hospital. The Plitmans lived right next door to us.[140]



This information is a combination of what Dan Tonkel, Robert's son, said about his family and an magazine article by Robert Tonkel and Olive Edward. Robert & Fannie and the five children (Beatrice, Edith, Mildred, Daniel and Bernard moved to Clarksdale in 1933 because he was able to rent a store space from M. R. Blouin on Delta. He bought the stock and contracted E. P. Peacock, Sr. to rent the building for $75 a month for five years.

Robert was born in July 17, 1888 in Riga, Latvia, as the fifth of eight children. At age 14, he left his parents to join his two older brothers, Morris and Aaron in Shaw, MS. Dan said his father told him,

I did not have much to eat during the 48 hours on the train [from New York City] as I did not know where to buy food. I had a five cent apple pie I bought in Washington at Penn Station. I recall the board walks around the station. I arrived finally in Memphis on 18th of December 1904 and had to change trains. So at 11 am that morning I took the train to Shaw, Mississippi, and arrived there at 3 pm. My brother Morris met me in Shelby. The train going North and the train going South met at Shelby, and he had come from Shaw to meet me. When I got off the train I saw a sight I had never seen before in my life. I saw big cotton wagons pulled by mules, so bogged in the street the wagons had to be left there until the street dried out.

The article says,

Robert lived in the back of the store. He slept on a counter with quilts for a mattress. He cooked and stayed warm with a small wood burning store. By day he helped to clerk. In March, Morris suggested that Robert should go out into the countryside and peddle. This was mutually satisfying. Robert’s back-pack held some laces, embroideries, handkerchiefs, ladies stockings and black silk petticoats, men’s socks and the like. On foot and glad to be out in the open country, he made a circuit to Shaw to Boyle and Jones Bayou and Cleveland and Choctaw. On weekends, he worked in the store. Delta heat stopped the peddling from July until September.

By September 1906 he had peddled by foot or by mule all week and worked in his brother’s store on weekends enough to purchase a horse and a Tennessee Wagon. His stock had increased to five large packs of goods including counterpanes, tablecloths and men’s heavy underwear. In two years he had saved $900 before the Panic. This caused the banks to freeze all the money and issue script (paper) that was good only in the town and bank with which one did business. In January 1908 they released the money. He was 18 years,and at that time Robert opened his first store in Leland, next door to a saloon.

Because Robert wanted to go to school but not allowed to enter the one-room schoolhouse with thirty children, he had to take up reading and writing in his own spare time. [Another boy and Robert] would take the train-[because] Jewish people lived [in Hollandale]. He said,' so we took the train at 11 am and we’d go to Hollandale and we’d spend the day and evening. About 5 pm, the train came back from Vicksburg to Memphis, so we’d get on the train and come back to Leland. That was our trip. And that’s when I met my wife. I was with some Rubinstein. They had two girls and I was in their house. [I saw Fannie Lockowitz; she lived in Percy, MS,] and she rode on a mule from Percy to Hollandale.[141]

It was two years later that Robert and Fannie married on March 14, 1909. They lived in Leland until that Fall. He sold the store for $2400 and joined his brother, Aaron, in Durham, North Carolina. Although he first went into business with this brother, he opened a shoe store that was unsuccessful. He went back in partnership with his brother that lasted until 1912. After his daughter, Beatrice was born, he moved his family to Henderson, N.C. to open a second store while Aaron remained with the Durham store. Two months later, he went to bed with typhoid fever for 14 weeks. “He had sent for his younger brother, Ben and sister, Lillie. Business was at a very low level”; the family was deep in debt but Robert went about recouping his capital. “He rented a store in Goldsboro, NC and he convinced the Credit Manager of the Baltimore House to give him $3500 [and] he was in business again and he was 22 years old.

There was a 1914 recession, a 1919 flu epidemic and the loss of their 21-month old baby daughter Ruth who succumbed to whooping cough and pneumonia. During the flu epidemic four of the fifteen clerks in the successful store died.…After 1921, things roughed up again, The Tonkel brothers had invested in lots of property and values slumped dreadfully as a depression gained momentum. Business was so bad that to survive they dissolved partnership, and Robert and his family, now with five children, moved back to Hollandale. There they lived with Mrs. Tonkel’s father for three months. All children came down with measles.

In 1921, the Tonkel brothers brought over their parents from Latvia. When they died during the thirties, the mother and father were buried in Durham.… [They] bought a newly established store in Shaw from a Mr. Gordon for $9,000. I had high grade merchandise - - Florsheim shoes and Hart-Shaffner-Marx clothing in the store. He went to the Chicago market for a few days to supplement his stock. Returning home he was met at the railroad station by his brother, Morris … [who told him that someone broke in the store and stole all the merchandise]. He borrowed monies from Aron and Bennie and stayed in business but business was bad and he had to leave Shaw in 1923.” He was lucky and was able to rent a store in Rosedale because of a successful encounter with a banker, which led to expansion of a chain of five stores: Rosedale, Benoit, Drew, West Point and Houston. Things went well until the flood of 1927 and then the depression of 1929. By1931 there was not enough business to take care of his obligations.

In 1933, after Robert opened the store on Delta, business boomed. He had eight clerks. I paid the girls $1 day and the men $12.50 a week, which was the average wage at that time.

In 1921, the Tonkel brothers brought over their parents from Latvia. When they died during the thirties, the mother and father were buried in Durham.” He sold his business to Beatrice 'Bea' in 1955.[142]


(1910, 1920)


Dave said,

In going through school, they had prepared me for math. I could go into college math, and English we had more trouble. I started at Ole Miss in 1934. They put us in a special … for the ones who came from small high schools.… I don't think we stayed in it but about one semester. Second semester we were in the same classes as all the rest of them. I didn't have any trouble in college at all. Well, we had a Jewish fraternity there - - called Phi Epsilon Pi. We had quite a few from Clarksdale. Harold Levine was there the same time I was. The Fink boy was there - - Alvin Fink. We must have had 12 or 15 groups. There were two Jewish girls there. One was Segal, and she became a lawyer. She was from Morehead or somewhere down there. Then there was one girl from Jackson, Mississippi. We thought she was Gentile, There were only two that I knew of. They had some Jewish people in Holly Springs that they would go and date but mainly the Jewish boys at Ole Miss came to Memphis. They came from all over. There were quite a few Jewish boys from Vicksburg, quite a few....There weren't many from Jackson. From Tupelo they had Jewish boys, and we had some from down in Hattiesburg. Yea, they came from all over. Mainly from the Delta because, I think, there were more Jews right around there.... But there were some … certainly from Vicksburg. Natchez had some.

Mose Wonder was from Charleston, Mississippi. He had something to do with the sports thing. I don't know what ever happened to him. Shankerman had a store. He had the first one of those linen suits about 1930 or1929.

I guess it was in 1934 I was out of there. I moved to New Orleans in 1937. I went to Tulane Medical School. We were accepted. I was accepted at Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Tulane. Any one we applied to. We were. Accepted. The Northern Jews did have more trouble being accepted. There were quotas. There weren't any quotas in Mississippi. You had to have the grades.[143]


January 8: Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo.[144]

Farmers further cooperate by entering into written contracts with government to agree to reduce their cotton acreage to reduce the cotton supply[145]

Tenth Street Bridge across Sunflower River on Highway 61 is constructed.[146]



Corinne said:

Well, we had a very active B'nai B'rith. The men's organization was very active. They wanted an auxiliary to go to the meetings and participate; so, the organization started about 1934. The Women’s Auxiliary of the B’nai B’rith was a social group, rather than a service club. Dottie Turner and Sylvia formed B’nai B’rith Auxiliary. They felt they needed two organizations because their husbands went to B’nai B’rith conventions, and they could go along if they belonged to the Auxiliary.[147]


Corinne said,

Ladies’ Auxiliary was disbanded and this became Sisterhood. It was the same group of women. It was not the Reform Jewish women (put it that way, Be Careful!). We joined Sisterhood when they joined the Hebrew Union Congregation. Sisterhood started 1935.

During that time and prior to that I don’t’ remember what kind of projects they did. I just attended the meetings. I don’t think they did anything. They just had meetings. They met in the homes. The only meeting that I can remember was at Mrs. Meyer Kline's home. I don't remember any of their meetings. No, we did not have luncheons in the beginning that didn't come until later. This was during the Depression. I don’t remember the type of activities that were done those years Mrs. Friedman had charge. She was president for three years.

Corinne said: “I don’t think Sisterhood went down. The Sisterhood never went down until recently when there were just no members.” You know. They started meeting at noon with luncheons, and we had three or four women to be hostesses. I remember about 30 or 40 women used to meet in the Temple. Yes, we had good crowds.[148]

Mrs. Friedman was the first President[149]

were living in Chicago at the time of her death.[150]


(1900, 1910, 1920)


Marion said, “When the house burned in 1934, the family moved.”[151]

Pauline said, “Alvin was off at school. Marion and I shared a bedroom and Mama and Daddy shared a bedroom. We were on the mezzanine, which was like a living room. It had a baby grand piano on that level. Marion sent a great deal of time with her friend, Selma May Kantor.”[152]


(1868, 1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


One of the Friedmans talking during the interview,

Most of our lives, Sam was a merchant. About 1935, he became a farmer of a 600 to 700 acre farm after the depression and the banks closed. He was one of the few farmers who lived in town and farmed about two to three miles away from Jonestown. He had learned plenty about faming from being a merchant as he talked to and dealt with farmers. We all lived together, farmers and merchants. Abe Block also farmed in Jonestown. Sam was the kind of farmer that got out of his car and walked his 600 acres practically every day. He was one of the first to get a CASE tractor and it was a really big deal. One day we walked up to a field where an old black man was plowing with a mule. Sam had his tractor over in the next field. He said, 'Well, Uncle Ed, what do you thank about that thing?'

Uncle Ed said, “That thing is never going to work, Mr. Sam.”

Sam replied, “ Why do you say that?”

Uncle Ed answers, “Because a man just can’t work sitting on his butt.”

One of the Friedman's said,

Sam never used an alarm clock. When he had to get up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. he just woke up. On the weekends, he maybe would sleep a couple more hours. He did his own farming as he never brought in additional help. He used about 10 or 12 sharecropper families at one time. These families had from 3 or 4 up to 10 or 12 in the family; each family had its own shack.[153]


(1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)

Gilbert reported, “This house burned down in about 1935. Almost everything they had was destroyed. Grandma saved her family and her pictures of her parents and her prayer books. I have a Yom Kippur prayer book that is burned; it was on fire when she took it out of the house.”[154]




Clara said, “In Marks, you see, now we live in Marks. I lived in Lambert. From there I went off to college at the University of Alabama. That’s where I met Nat. He was from Hartford Connecticut.”

Nat said; “That’s right. I went to the University of Alabama. You ever heard of the Depression? They wanted $1,200 for the first year there. At the University of Alabama I could go for $1,200 dollars for four years. So I married a local.”

Clara said,

There were no jobs available. He was an engineer. And there were no jobs available in 1935. So he came to Lambert, and we got married in Clarksdale. Rabbi Tolochko performed the ceremony. We lived in Lambert for two years and ran a store. My dad put us in a store. We didn’t have anything to do. We didn’t know how to do anything. There were no jobs for engineers. So my father owned a building four miles away in Marks, and he asked if we wanted to move there. We said yes, and it was much more of a progressive little town than the one that we were in. Lambert is half the size of Marks. it must have had about 1,200 people there in Lambert. By then two other families of Jews had moved into Lambert. So when we moved to Marks.[155]


(1868, 1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Selma said,

One of the people that lived in Tutwiler was Frances Bailey. She had problems. She was the first person I knew in Tutwiler. They lived on the other side of the house He had to do everything. He had to climb poles, go out in bad weather, he had a long Clarksdale-Tutwiler territory, all over. She would get so scared when he had to climb poles with raining, thundering and lightning. She would come over there and sit with me. Bob, her son, would come see me every day.

Selma talked about the fact that she was never told that she was pretty until she was a young woman. Hattie Ross told her. She mentioned that her mother-in-law, Mrs. James, would always write to her husband as my dear beloved son. She would write a lot about how much she missed him and loved him. Selma said she never once mentioned her name in any of these letters. This hurt her very much.[156]


Corinne said,

Adolph’s first grandson, Richard Stanton Kerstine was born 1/16. When I had Richard on January 16 Adolph began to be kinder to me. He was so excited because I had Richard. I don’t know what made me change, I just changed. I began to like him.[157]



Lawrence Magdovitz said, “I understand J. Krieger died from blood poisoning. He cut his hand. He didn't go to a doctor ,and it got infected..[158]


(1910, 1920)


Rowena said, “I was born in Tallahatchie County, 1917. I had always lived in the Delta. My parents were Floyd and Beatrice Ellington. I grew up in Tunica County, out in the country. My family were farmers .I met Sam in 1935.”[159]


(1910, 1920)


February 6: “Musicians Will Organize Group.… Organization of a community orchestra will be started tonight at a meeting of local musicians at the home of Phil Shankerman at 340 Elm Avenue.… Professor Kooyman, bandmaster and orchestra director of the local schools, will direct the community orchestra and give instructions to the musicians.”[160]



Ellis Henry Shapira's obit provided this data: “Moved to Clarksdale this year with his wife. He was born in 1886 and was raised in Dallas, TX. He was owner of Shapira, a retail store and was a prominent Jewish leader. His brother was Louis H of Helena, AR.”[161]


September 3: Present population of Clarksdale is estimated at 12,000. Most important industry is cotton ginning… seed crushing … lumber … and planer mills. .… 65 gins and two oil mills operate within Coahoma County.

It is estimated by Chamber of Commerce officials that the yearly value of manufactured products was in the neighborhood of $3,000,000.

The immediate retail trade area served by Clarksdale is approximately 60 miles in diameter and has expanded steadily over a period of years and is still expanding thanks to great extent to an improved system of highways , many of which are concrete, recently built throughout the county.

Clarksdale has 25 wholesale and 223 retail concerns to supply the large trading area.[162]

Sixth Annual Horse Show to Be Big Event: staged on September 11 at the ball park had more than 200 entries seeking the $1,000 in cash prizes

Since 1906, 746 Mississippi Jewish families had increased to 2,897.[163]

Sage & Baucom report:

Second Street Bridge ($77,000) over Second Street constructed with funds supplied by the Works Progress Administration and the City and County.

The Centennial Celebration is staged in conjunction with the 8th Delta Staple Cotton Festival.[164]


The author has written a manuscript about all Issaquena merchants which should be published in approximately one year; the working title is “Issaquena Street Merchants.” Four merchants tried to do business prior to 1936. Those stores which were on the street for short periods will be included in the previous years (1923, 1927, 1933) Most of the merchants migrated from 1936. The last store closed his doors some time in the 1980s.

Julian Bloom said,

The Sebulskys had the Style Shop in town; Nat Okun's shoe store; The Madeira Shop; Cohens and Re snicks had a shoe store and then they opened up later, Alan's. Yaffes, had a store on Sunflower Street; the Rappaports…. I think Sunflower was the main business street before Issaquena started. Kaufmans had their tailor shop on Sunflower.

Actually, the whole Jewish community was merchants, except the Friedmans and the Blooms in the scrap business. The Sacks and the Klines were in farming, cotton. Jake [Fink] was a cotton merchant. . Aaron Sack had one for a while here. He had a cotton brokerage and farms. He had all kind of stuff. Back in his days, he was one of the wealthiest people here.[165]



General conversation with Laura Osofsky about Dave and Sadie her great aunt and great Uncle Dave who had a shop on Issaquena. She was Fannie Feinberg, my grandmother's youngest sister. She continued,

Yes,,… stayed with Auerbachs some [in 1950s], and I stayed with the Okuns some. I don't have that much in the way of memories of his store or business. I remember going there. I think he was like a shoe repair man.… He repaired shoes. I don't remember that much. I just remember through the front [of the store] being your basic shoe repair kind of place. You know. He would be hanging out there. He spent all day there. He would leave early to go down there. [Sadie] was at home. I don't remember her being down there. I just remember her being in the house.… I remember her more than I do him.

The house was spic and span. You could have eaten off the floor. I am not kidding. She was an unbelievable housekeeper. We drove her a little crazy when I came to visit. I remember there were like three bedrooms and wooden floors highly polished. Everything was just so - - always just so. His shop [was not] as spic and span as the house. I wouldn't go that far. I don't know that it wasn't. It wasn't yucky-looking but I don't remember. Aunt Sadie's house was like, you know, - - oh my god - - just so. The kitchen, you know, was where everything was always in its proper place - - nothing left around.

I remember being there [when] … she made the best sponge cake. I can remember as a child being aware of how delicious it was to the point that I can remember the taste. It is so good. So many of the Peach (Hebrew for Passover) things are just dry. It is just wonderful. - -absolutely wonderful!

[Dave] was a good-size man, yea. He was tall. It seems to me that he was a large frame, but not fat. He was a nice size man, and he had beautiful hair—salt and pepper curly hair. He would not have worn a suit. I think right, he did wear suspenders. He just wore a workshop shirt and pants

[Sadie] never dressed up a lot. I never saw her dress up. She was always, you know, plain, not dressy.[more like] old-fashioned European dress. Aunt Sadie was probably a little over 5'2”. I wouldn't say tall. The one that was the tallest of the three sisters was Aunt Bessie [Okun].

When I went to stay with Aunt Sadie—this is hilarious—she would listen to the show operas on radio. So,, I would listen to them too. My mother almost plotzed when she found out I had been listening to this stuff. But, you know, my mother wouldn't listen to that stuff, but, Aunt Sadie loved it. Just llooooved it. I remember “Pepper Young's Family” and “Stella Dallas”. All this stuff. Oh, she just loved them. She had all her work done, and she be listening. She organized herself for that.[166]


Eva, [their only daughter] married A. D. Kaplan. She lived in Greenwood. Her son was Sammy/Sam.[167]

The following information is in the chapter “Building 13, Lot 2”, Issaquena Merchants by the author, but it is not published yet.

[The north side of Building 13 remained vacant until 1936 when Giatras sold it to Sherman. About the time Sherman rented to Auerbach, he also rented this remaining portion of the building to John J. Mason, a Black-American photographer rented it for a studio,

Additional data in that chapter says,

The second merchant was Dave Auebach. He rented the space for a year to open his shoe repair shop.[168] This center section was not used again after Dave signed a three-year lease with King and Anderson in 1940 and moved from 389 Issaquena northward to the storeroom found on north side of Building 16. (367 Issaquena.)[169]

Dave and his wife, Sadie were related by marriage to Israel and Bessie Okun, whose shoe repair shop had been on Delta since the 1920s. The Auerbachs followed the Okuns to Clarksdale as the sisters, Bessie and Sade, were close and did not like the separation.

Dave was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1888 and immigrated about 1906. His wife Sadie was born in Sherijila, Lithuania, in 1891 and immigrated in 1909. In her naturalizations papers, she described herself as 5' 2” with blue eyes and brown hair. In his World War I Draft Registration Card, Dave described himself as tall, stout with blue eyes and brown hair. He was exempted due to a physical disability not listed specifically, and because he was the father of one child in 1917.[170]

Flora Hirsberg, Sadie's niece, talked primarily about her family. Flora said her parents, Israel and Bessie Okun were married in Europe. Her father was first to arrive, then sent for his Bessie. They lived in New York until after 1912 when the last of their three children were born.[171] The family moved to Dyersburg, Tennessee. Dave and Sadie who married in New York, in 1914 soon joined them in Dyersburg. The Okuns moved to Clarksdale before 1920, because their oldest son Morris wanted his father, a shoe repairman, to help with his shoe business in Clarksdale.

Edith Jacobson said,

Dave Auerbach was a sweet man. When Gilbert was an infant in 1956, and she parked in front of Jacobson's Department Store, Dave would see them and run out to play with Gilbert even before Edith could remove him from the car seat. Dave repeated over and over again, “boytshikl,” the American Jewish Yiddish to mean a sweet young boy - - a darling young boy.[172]


(1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Lawrence Magdovitz reported,

You know, back in the thirties, around the corner of Delta and Third [was] Bakers Department Store, supposed to be one of the best men's stores around. Maurice Segal had a brother called Sol Segal, and he worked for him. Said he brought in accounts. Harry told him he didn’t have enough money to pay his salary during the depression. So, Sol, tore up what Harry owed him.[173]

Julia Baker Glassman said, “Frank was the first one to die. When he was sick they said he had a stomach problem. t was cancer but no one said cancer in those days.”[174]

My grandmother was my grandfather’s second wife. She died, we think it was 1940 and she died in Shkudvile, Russia. At that time, it was Lithuania or Latvia or whoever was powerful at the time. We would hear from her. She wrote with a return address of “ecker” but it was pronounced “Baker. So when they came through Ellis Island, and said “Baker” they spelled it “Baker.”

Daddy said, 'Sure, she was a Baker, she knew I would marry a pretty lady who couldn’t cook so she taught me how to cook. She did have a bakery. When Grandfather traveled, she ran the bakery. When he came, he helped her.

My grandmother never came to this country but she was the mother of the Baker children. She was the second mother. She was my daddy’s mother, and he had some sisters and a younger brother. One sister reached maturity; the other two died young.[175]


(1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


The newspaper obit says,

Lillie Balicer lived at 205 Maple and died from swallowing a quantity of carbolic acid and iodine. Her two daughters Pauline and Martel came home from the picture show about 6 pm. and found her on the floor in the hallway near the telephone. Medical aide was summoned but she died shortly after the physician arrived. Her note indicated that she was despondent over ill health. Her husband, Felix, operated a dry goods store on Sunflower Avenue for a number of years. He was in Greenwood at the time. Her two brothers were Joe and Isadore Frank. Three sisters were Mrs. Harry Baker, Mrs. Morris Baker and Mrs. H Mostkoss of Rosedale.[176]


(1910, 1920)


Leon said,

There was one other thing that I mentioned. About 1936 or 1937, I don’t remember exactly, about ’36 I believe it was, we left DeSoto Street. My mother and father built. Mr. Harry Cannon had built a house on Catalpa Street. I had a bicycle. At that time we were near the end of town. Since then, I believe, it has spread way out past there. At that time, we were near the end of town. My brother was more a stay at home type of fellow, but I liked to travel, to move about, see what’s on the other side of the hill. So I used to get on my bicycle and go riding into the country. Paths or little roads, just anything to see what I could see. And I’d take a sandwich and a bottle of water and maybe find me a little place in the woods to stop and eat and so forth.

One time, this was in April, I believe it was, and I was sitting under the tree when I heard a lot of noise off to the side. And I crept over there... I believe, I’m not positive about this.... I believe that March and maybe early April was the time when the Negroes had the least amount of work to do on the plantation. January and February was repairing all of the equipment that they had for the next season. They were building a church, of course they were using second hand lumber which means that there would be holes. I used to watch them. I was really surprised, and then I’d come back. [Then] I’d leave. Toward the end of the summer, maybe August or early September, they finished building the church.I wasn’t supposed to be out at night but I was out this night.They were holding services, and I could creep up to the building. They hadn’t put mud or something to cover up these little holes yet and I could look inside. I been to [their] Temple. These people were laughing and happy and singing, and I just marveled at what I saw at this church near Mattson, [Mississippi]. I didn’t go all the way to Mattson. I know I was going in that direction, because there was a two lane, like two lane little road of some sort that had been developed over the years, but was now unused and that was what I rode on.

The difference of course, as I realize now, or think, that religion was a very essential part of their lives, and they were preparing themselves for like after they left this dreadful earth. They were thinking in terms of a joyful, happy place to go to. They were preparing themselves for that. Singing is an important element in any congregation because it creates unity. I see the same thing. I belong to the Baron Hirsch [Synagogue. I’ve seen the same thing going on there. They sing, and they’re singing the same thing, but everybody’s doing it. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re a millionaire or you’re on welfare, you’re sitting there, and you’re participating, and you’re a member. It’s unity.

I was interested primarily in baseball. As a matter of fact, I invented a baseball game. My parents, my father, used to fuss at me for spending time throwing dice [and] writing all those figures down on paper,

[My dad said,] 'You’re wasting time; you ought to do something more important.' So I invented this game, based on, you had a schedule to follow and depending on how you threw the dice - what numbers came up. They didn’t know nothing about patents or stuff like that, and I didn’t know what to do. It was about two or three years later that Parker Brothers came out with a baseball game, exactly the same thing.

It was a magnet that drew the boys in my neighborhood to my front porch on Desoto, and we used to play together.--Wilson Kessee, his father was on the police force, there were two boys named Parks and Mitchell Samaha. I can’t remember any more than that. After I moved to Catalpa it was a different area - - different types of people. But it was important to me because it brought people there that I could be with, I could play with.

My father gave me about two lessons in Hebrew when I was about ten, eight, or eleven. I felt I was wasting my time because nobody else had to do it How was I going to use it after I learned it? Of course, I read Hebrew pretty fluently although I can’t speak it, and I can’t read it but it’s interesting. Self taught since I came here.

We seldom went in the Dinner’s delicatessen--May have gone in there a couple of times, that’s all. We used to come to Memphis for my folks to buy merchandise at William R. Moore and Jetsons. I don’t know.... But I know we used to stop on the way out, on Third Street, there was a Siegal's Delicatessen. They used to buy some things to take home. I wouldn’t go in there because you go up to the front door. It just looked like a big dark cavern. It was poorly lit. He did that on purpose. But it was poorly lit and it scared me. I wouldn’t go in there. I would stay in the car.

Much to my regret, there was a girl there named Miriam Davidson from Marks.... There was another little town next to Marks. I asked her to meet me at the theater. I wanted to take her to the movie. When the time came, her parents brought her there, and I didn’t say nothing to my parents, I was afraid to go. They stayed and they waited, and I never showed up, and they left. So they said something to my parents about it.

My daddy said, 'What’s going on, what happened?'

'I just told him I had forgotten, but I was really afraid but that was the only time something like that came up. We didn’t date the Jewish girls--didn’t have cars like they do now.

There was one fellow by the name of Joe Weeks. He was about my only Christian friend.... In the summertime we could use the school grounds for, like a baseball diamond, so we used to meet there and play but I never did leave with any of them. When it was over, I went my way they went their way.

I think I told you about that the band was going to make a tour. That was the one bright spot I guess in the Mississippi Delta was the fact that Clarksdale had such a well known high school band in those days. We’re going to make a tour. Thought automatically that been buddies with Joe Weeks now for years that we would stay together, the people would take two. He told me he couldn’t stay with me.[177]


(1900, 1910, 1920)


As a teenager, I bought my clothes at Powers and Memphis (Adelson, 13) We went to Gerber’s and Lowenstein’s because we were just in the habit of going there.

I graduated in 1936 and attended art school at the Vogue Art School, Chicago, because it was well known and on the same level as Pratt Art Institute, New York. I couldn’t go where I wanted to go, Sophie Newcomb, New Orleans. I chose it because Alvin was still in school, and because I could finish in a year. I didn’t take fine art; I took advertising and fashion. It was more business than art school but offered commercial training.[178]

Marion remarked, “Pauline spent some of her time eating at fine restaurants.[179]


This was the year that Jake suffered severe losses as he lost the land and all his money. However, Freda, who had lots of jewelry gave Pauline the diamond ring that her father gave Freda when Pauline was born. (Adelson, 20)

Jake‘s bookkeeper W. E. Mercer had been the bookkeeper for years; however, he drank a great deal and may not show up for work for a week. Freda had been helping Jake in the grocery. Jake didn’t really want Freda in the shop. He gave her $2,500 to open the dress shop. I remember Harry Kantor was doing a Buyer’s Job in New York City by this time. Freda went to New York to buy her opening stock. She stopped in Washington, D.C. to spend the night with Alvin, who was working there for the government. She was a always worrying.… If they weren’t going to be perfect, don’t do it.[180]

Jake, not Freda, had the management skills. He set everything up because he had a mind like a computer. He could look at a row of figures and, in 2 seconds, tell you what the total was.[181]


Alvin said, “I practiced law in West Memphis for four years before the war was declared.”[182]

According to the author, he did not clarified whether he worked for the government in Washington prior to starting a practice in West Memphis.


(1868, 1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Leon Binder said, “Adolph told me that he didn’t believe in God. He was an atheist.”[183]

Corinne talked about Adolph’s religious activities by saying,

[Adolph] never belonged to the Temple nor supported the cemetery. During the High Holy days, he attended all the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. He sat all day long at the services and never left. He observed all the Jewish holidays. But, he didn’t believe in God.I never understood that and never tried to. He had a strong Jewish identity because he was a Jew, and he wasn’t ashamed, but he had lost his belief in God.[184]

According to Corinne,

Because Adolph went around town talking about atheism and did not belong to the Temple. He never participated in anything in the Temple, which meant he never helped in the Temple. Isidor had trouble arranging for Adolph to be buried in the Jewish cemetery in January, 1936. It cost Isidor a ‘pretty plenty’ as Louis Goldstein was against him.… He wanted to keep him from being buried in Clarksdale. He was the most out-spoken opponent.

Isidor always regretted that he buried him there, and said he should have buried him in Helena. He wanted to bury him where the family lived because it was convenient.

Corinne always believed that Louie Goldstein held such a big to do over this because he had a big mouth. He was a partner of Max Kaufman but never president of the congregation. [185]

Sam Abrams said, “I never will forget Isidor Kerstine when your grandfather died. I was single. I helped sit up with the body. In those days, people sat up with the body to say Kaddish. A mirror fell off the wall on top of the casket. Isidor had a fit.” Sam also described Adolph as a very stubborn man.[186]


Corinne often described Margery's birth by saying,

Frances was head nurse, a Myrtle Moore, Ilene Johnson referred to as 'Johnny,' who had the night shift; These were the nurses at the hospital the night Margery was born. The last one had the night shift. I believe Myrtle Moore was in surgery at the time of Margery’s birth. There was another lady in another room. Johnnie met Dr. Carr in the corridor and told him that he should get out of the way if he couldn’t deliver these two women at the same time.[187]


Selma said, “Evelyn married Emanuel H. (Manny) Silberman on September 6, 1936. Manny, a distributor for Paul Mason wines, was born June 27, 1914 and died September 9, 1989. He is Bur: Hillside Memorial Park, Glendale, California.[188]

Selma continued talking about Jame's drugstore, and their move to Jackson,

James owned the drugstore in Tutwiler except for the fixtures. Well, it wasn’t good business. We managed to live out of it for a little while. We left on Christmas day. Came to Jackson because he had a job with Heidelberg Drugstore. ( We just didn’t have too much stock. Roy Flowers had talked to him. He owned that hospital in Clarksdale. He was a fine fellow. He let us be most anywhere we could. He knew we didn’t have any money. He was mighty good to us. We had managed to live there and managed that drugstore for four years. Didn’t owe anybody. Didn’t owe a soul. Paid cash for everything. That was the hardest part of the Depression.[189]

Corinne said, “James was from Mount Rose and most of his family lived in Mount Rose. I guess he wanted to be closer to them and to be in a bigger area where he could make more money. They moved to Jackson.”[190]




Alvin said, “I was Bar Mitzvah there around 1936. Harry Kantor a resident buyer in New York, my grandmother bought my tallis for my Bar Mitzvah from Rosie Kantor. She had a side line.”[191]




WPA's selection of Al Nachman was based on his prominence in Masonic circles of Clarksdale and a pioneer.[192]


WPA's selection mentions Louis as a successful dry goods merchant of Friars Point, Mississippi.[193]




WPA's selection mentions Joe Weiss, cotton factor and president of ball club.[194]


January-February: The Mississippi River Flood

Mississippi River flood: It did affect Coahoma County rather than Clarksdale. Some farmers got rich off of it. The Red Cross came in to help the victims with a large tent living area food and clothes. They stayed during the planting period until the water drained off. After the Red Cross left, these big farmers charged the sharecroppers for the tent and food they were given by the Red Cross. [195]

Harriet Damsker Jaegar said that her father sent his daughters somewhere during the flood. Her father's company Rose Seed Co was there on Delta Avenue. Because the newspaper picture went up in a fire, there are no pictures of the community.

Corinne said,

It came in January 1937. Corinne took Margery and Richard with her. Men were putting up sandbags to stop river at Friars Point by the river. I knew a day ahead of time that Isidor had decided we should leave and go to St. Joseph, Missouri. Margery [the author] was less than one year old. I caught the Illinois Central to Memphis that was about to pull out. The "Yellow Dog" went in another direction. I caught train to Memphis They yelled "refugee" so they stopped the train and put us on. At Walls, the conductor stopped the train, threw down his coat and refused to go on river was about to overflow. He stopped train for about 1 hour. Took about two hours to go six miles to Memphis from Walls. No water on track so I do not know why it took so long. The conductor was terrified of what was happening. May have been going through water. He was not going to be responsible for women and children. Last train from Memphis to Kansas City. They had water at Marked Tree, but after that, we were OK.[196]

Congregation Beth Israel

President was Jacob Fink (1933-1937)

Al Nachman had the mortgage on the Temple. This is Bernard 'Budgie' Hirsberg’s quote: “Before I back off of this mortgage, I would have the pleasure of tearing this building down-brick by brick. Each brick would give me more pleasure.”[197] [198]

Labens said, “If you find 1937, you will find the Torah cover is black. In 1938, it is white because my class. We paid $35 with nickels and dimes. NOTE: There is a photo of this in the Kaufman Album at Temple Israel Archives, Memphis, Tennessee.

Women's Organization: Sisterhood

Corinne said,

Somewhere around 1937, we met at the Temple. The Rabbi’s wife, Mamie Tolochko, was the Vice President. Anyway, Mamie was President; then they left because he got another call in Greensboro, NC. During the middle of her term, she had to leave. Eva Kantor was President about 1937, 1938 or 1939. We were still meeting at the Temple; there were no luncheons. We raised money by dances we had. I don' remember what else. We raised money to maintain some of the things in the Temple: Prayer books, maintenance, bema flowers at the Temple on Friday nights, took care of the Oneg Shabbat which was only once a month, not every week.[199]


(1900, 1910, 1920)


Sam said,

In 1937, I got a job in the Levee Board Payroll Department. We had all these problems, and everybody was working on the levee. I was one of the last ones to leave there because I found duplicate payrolls. I stayed off a long time while each section was being distributed. I never knew if they were paying them twice, or if this was a fraud or a mistake.

We had a man H. Dabney who was head of the Levee Board for years and years and years, and he died. I went to work after he died. We had a black boy work for us at this payroll in 1937. So one year we were playing a prank on him and sent him to the top of the building. He didn’t know I was going to be there. I scared him by rattling some chains that he thought could be a ghost up there—like a Halloween trick.[200]


(1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Julia's said about her school days,

I have been to two class reunions. Each time we all said that we got a good education and we had a good time. Mr. Heidelberg was a good principal. I don’t remember any bad stories about him. He was strict because he was German - - a tough German. The boys always thought he was a mean man because he was so strict.

Miss Johnson was the math teacher. Miss Payne was the study hall teacher. When Mrs. McCain became pregnant she had to leave the end of the school year. Mrs. Johnson was one of the couple that they let come into the high school.

I won honors in typing. At graduation, I receive certificates in typing and home economics. Miss Walker we had was our Counselor. When it came time to take Latin, they didn’t offer Spanish, just Latin or Home Economics. I said to her 'What shall I do?'

Miss Walker said: 'You are never going to need Latin; continue your Home Economics'

Julia continued,

We took one year in Junior High, and then. we could finish off in Senior High. We took cooking and sewing. Miss Johnson taught my older and younger sister. We had the manuals or the treadle type [sewing machine]. I think by the time my younger sister got there they had the electric.

I played second fiddle in the orchestra with Mr. Kooyman. I can’t remember anything except that he would tap that baton on that music stand, and he would tap our music stand. I took violin from Miss Rust beginning in Junior High, I think.

Mama use to tell us that even at the playground in the summertime: 'If it cost a quarter or less.' So, I don’t know what she paid for music but we got the violin. I still have the violin when I moved here over twenty-years ago. I gave it away. I don’t know why I kept it, We all took piano lessons. I was about fourteen or in Junior High. I took from another lady, not Miss Ada Chapman or Miss Minnie Shannon. I don’t remember her name but I do remember she was a beautiful lady. I remember if we did well we could have chicken fingers at the end of the piano - - that was my old sister and I. My younger sister took from Miss Shannon, I think. Both my sisters can still play. My brother took clarinet. At that time Junior High School was six, seventh and eighth grades.

I took lessons and swam a little in the Elizabeth Dorr indoor pool after Hazel Coleman, a friend of mine pushed me in the Mullins’ pool. When she pushed me in she said, 'She cannot swim' However, I swam. When I took lessons in the indoor pool, I took a Red Cross lifesaver’s course This happened the beginning of high school. That is when I found out I had sinus problems. Because I couldn’t go under water. I still swim with my head up.

We had night football games down at the river, the Wildcat field. It never failed that the football games came during the Jewish holidays.

All my mother said “You buy the ticket at school and you can go. You can’t go down there and buy a ticket.”

Julia added, “Cause we would buy the ticket, and we would all meet together at some point and go down there to sit together.”[201]


(1910, 1920)

Julian said,

My father came from Russia about the age he was to go into the Russian army. His parents picked up and brought him to this country. They went to Helena, Arkansas ,because they had landsmen in Helena who were from their town in Russia, I don't know what year, maybe somewhere around 1905-07. It was real interesting. I don't know if you remember him but there used to be a man here by the name of Mr. Benenson. He was a cattleman. He lived in Helena at the time, and he remembers when my grandparents came from Russia to Helena. Then, they moved to Memphis. (Bloom, 5).

Joanne's [Kaplan] family, I guess it's her father, had people in Helena too. I think their name was Dumont, and that was a very prominent family in Helena. And the Solomon’s, they were the bankers over there.

My mother had been in Memphis most all her life. She was from Poland and came to this country when she was a little girl. Her family went from Poland to Canada and from Canada to Memphis. My grandmother had a brother, Steinberg that lived in Memphis. He was in the hide and fur business. He sent for them because it was so cold in Canada. I think in order for them to come into the country, they had to go to Canada first. It was an immigration thing. He brought them to Memphis.

My father was a representative for Endicott Johnson. They made shoes, etc. He used to buy the hides for the leather. He went all over. Back in those days they used to have slaughter houses, and people used to sell the hides. Then he would buy them from the hide dealers, like Delta Packing. All my family, some in Paducah, Kentucky, was always in the hide, fur and junk business.

My father and mother met in Memphis. In fact, he met her before he moved there. He used to come in to see her. She worked as a clerk or something for Eddie Alperin, a Jewish dry goods merchant on North Main Street. She would tell stories about my father coming there They got married in 1912. My great-uncle, my mother's uncle, trained my father in the hide and fur business in Memphis. My dad went on the road. He traveled and went to Meridian, Mississippi, to a man named Golden who was in the hide and fur business. [202]

Mr. Golden told my father. “Well you know all about the business and everything else, and I've got the backing. You can come in and go in business with me."

Julian continued,

My parents moved to Meridian, Mississippi, and they lived there when I was born. I was born in Memphis as my mother came home because her parents were there. Then, my mother missed Memphis, and her family and all. So they decided to move back to Memphis. Mr. Golden moved to Memphis and opened a place. He was a competitor to my mother's uncle. I don't know whether they had children or what it was but he kept his place in Meridian too.They opened up and did real well in Memphis but Mrs. Golden didn't like Memphis and wanted to go back to Meridian - - the same old story. So he sold out his interest to my father and the Goldens went back to Meridian.

We remained in Memphis. My father was in that business until the Depression came along. Yes, the Depression wiped him out just like it did everybody else. He always told a story; he had 100,000 possum that cost a dollar apiece, and overnight they went down to $400. So that's $60,000. Back in those days, I guess it's like $600,000 today. That's how he lost his money; the value of stuff and everything.

By 1933, Nat was already out of high school; he got out during the real Depression. He just kind of hung around, couldn't get a job or anything else. After I graduated from high school, we decided we wanted to go into business.

A friend in Memphis told us to look at two places - - Clarksdale and Paducah, Kentucky. My mother who was living in Memphis wanted to know how far Clarksdale was. We said 75 miles, and Paducah was about 150 miles; so she said to go to Clarksdale because it's closer and try. She didn't think much of it anyway. She thought we'd be back. So we came down here and opened up on Sunflower. I think 133 Sunflower by Third Street. My brother Nat and I went into business on September 1, 1937.

In the fall of 1937, we started buying pecans. Back in those days, the levee was full of wild pecan trees, and they called them seedlings. We started buying pecans, and I think we paid 5 cents a pound for them that year. We would buy; and as soon as we got a truckload, we would take it to Memphis to sell. Then we started handling a little metal because all we had was a building.

Then we kind of got into more of the metal scrap trade. We rented the small lot that was right next door. We started buying a little scrap iron and some old cars. The people would come in from the plantations and want to know if they could buy a piece off the car, and a piece here and there.

[These people] knew that we went to Memphis every weekend,, and they would ask us. 'I can't find something for my car, and I can't find this, would you see if you could get it for me.'

Julian continued

So, we got to the point where every weekend we were shopping for parts for customers. We bought nine old cars from the Ford Co. here for $45 and put them on the lot to scrap them. Actually, it was the beginning of a used auto parts business.”

One of the men who was in that kind of business where we used to go shopping said, “if we were going to be in that business, we needed to be on the highway. That’s the place to have a used auto parts business. So after we got back, we looked into the possibility of coming out here on the highway. We bought these highway lots, and a couple of more here from Clark, who were the founder of Clarksdale.

It wasn’t very difficult to be friendly with people in Clarksdale when we first got here. Course, we really didn't know anybody or anything, and there was a second floor where we had our business, We fixed ourselves up a room with a coal heater, and that's where we slept. We used to eat our meals at Reuben Behrend's. He had a restaurant right around the corner.

My mother decided it was silly for her to be in Memphis, and we were in Clarksdale. She felt we didn’t have a home. She talked about it but she never, I don't think realized, she was going to move down here.[203]


(1910, 1930)


Leon said, “Well, I remember all of the worries about the flood of 1937. It didn’t mean anything to me. I just heard people talking about them. I couldn’t imagine. I didn’t see it in my minds eye. I remember thinking what’s going on here?[204]




Blanche said,

I met Julius in Houston. My brother in law’s cousin was President of Hadassah Junior, and they had a dance to make money. I was visiting my sister. She told me she met a nice young man from Memphis - that’s where we lived later on. I said, 'What’s his name?'

My sister said, "Julius Behrend."

Blanche continued,

I didn’t know him. The funny part, at that time, I lived in Clarksdale. I had a girl friend in Memphis, and I came to visit her. He worked in a store. I don’t know whether it was shoe store or what kind of store, anyway, he worked downstairs. There was a store, and they lived upstairs; [they] had living quarters. I came [to Memphis] a million times, and I never met him. Right there where he was I never met him. Excellent salesman, he knew all about shoes--how to fit them and everything. I visited the girlfriend upstairs - you know they lived upstairs. I have to go to Houston.

His little mother’s name was Helen Rosen. She was chosen the most beautiful woman in Memphis. Her husband’s name was Morris Rosen. He was a shoe salesman, you know on the road selling. Whenever they had conventions at one of those hotels they would write my Daddy a letter and tell him to prepare for like a hundred salesmen, an hundred fifty, and he would be prepared to cook for that many people. They would come through Clarksdale? He would cater those affairs.

Morris Rosen was Julius’s uncle, and his Aunt Helen. [Julius] was crazy about her. She was gorgeous. And they came to eat in my Daddy’s restaurant. He brought his wife and one of his daughters. Her name was Bernice Rosen; she was single then but she didn’t look nothing like her mother. She was mannish looking - - Tall, walked mannish. She talked mannish. She was one of those big shots. I never got along with her, after I married Julius. No. We were neighbors at one time. I had an apartment on Mount Moriah in the apartments and every time, at that time, her daddy retired, when we lived in Wolf’s (sounds like) Apartments, and he lived with Bernice. He used to love Mama’s cooking so every time I fix good soup or I would bake, I would take it to Uncle Morris but I couldn’t get along with Bernice. She used to make fun of Julius. Always repeat the same thing. I forget what she would repeat. And I didn’t answer her. It’s none of her business. She thought everybody. She thought I wouldn’t live with Julius. She gives me three months after I married him. Well, we lived 57 years. She took back her words. That was a sure thing.

Julius was adopted. Julius had two brothers trying to find him when his mother was in the hospital with tumor on the brain. She used to be Jewish opera singer, she played in Jewish operas. And she also sang in the Temple. I named Freddie after his real mother, Freda Hecht. But he goes under his adopted name because he didn’t know he was adopted until he was twenty one. His brothers finally got hold of me. Julius brothers lived in St. Louis. And the oldest brother, Morris, he worked in some kind of company that sold cars. He had a night job--the worst job. Go and steal the cars, people that didn’t pay for it. Morris Hecht, is still alive. He’s more than 91.… When his mother died he was about seven years old. His middle brother was five and Julius was a baby. Before they put them into Catholic home, his daddy paid a very, very religious woman, lived in Memphis. They give him up for adoption because his mother died.

Rabbi Tolochko married me. He lived next door on Oakhurst, and we married at his house. I didn’t have big wedding.

No, nobody taught me to cook. I learned when I got married in Houston. I didn’t learn from my parent because they were too busy. I couldn’t stand there and learn how to cook when I was in school. My Mother was the cook.

Flora Hirshberg was our best friend. And her brother and Nat were like attached twins. My brother was a little older than Nat. Nat was much younger - they got along so beautifully, Nat slept at the Okun’s house, and Pasha [Bessie] was his mother’s name. And when, I was pregnant when I had Freddie, she adored her. So she crocheted a little blanket. I still have it in the cedar chest - and little booties - and little, what do you call it? No, what do you call it when they eat? The bibs and little shoes, she crocheted them. It was so cute. She loved her, she loved all of us. She was the best person.(

Freddie said: I remember when we went over the Second Street bridge, and there was a Fire Station there. I remember, during the summer, against the wall would be black with crickets.[205]


(1900, 1910, 1920)


Pauline said,

Afterwards I finished the one year at Vogue Art School, I was able to help my mother in her store; I did the windows. I helped with selling and dressing the window. I married [when I was 19] at the Temple. Rabbis Tolochko and Rabinowitz (Greenville) officiated. S. Lillian Small and her husband, Bernard, played the violin.


Amy Greenwood, Freda's niece said, “Freda wanted to go into business even though she had never worked a day in her life, not even for her father, Abraham.”[206]

Alvin stated “[My dad] did not like Freda puttering around with the bookkeeping so he encouraged her to open up her dress shop across the street on Delta Avenue.[207]

Pauline said, “When Freda dressed for work she always wore her work oxfords, not high heels or fancy shows because it saved her feet. She gave up her participation in clubs except her fashion shows that she gave at the Woman’s Club.”[208]


(1868, 1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Julian Bloom said and the author agrees, “Caesar was kind of a loner, very shy. He would nod to say hello when you passed him on the street, just to acknowledge that he knew who you were, but that's the extent of what I know.”[209]


Corinne said:

I tell you Margery, in my youth, I associated a great deal [with gentiles] because when we lived in Smith Center, Kansas we were the only Jewish family there. In fact, not only in Smith Center, but also in the county, we were the only Jewish people. I was compelled to, but I wouldn’t say forced, but I had to have friends. , All my friends were Gentiles. I used to go to Christian churches. I used to participate in all the Sunday school things. It didn’t make any difference, I was still Jewish at home. I got over that hump - - the prejudice. They forgot about the fact. They were some voiced; there were some that like to make remarks, but they didn’t bother me. I was affiliated with the Jews and the Gentiles in St. Joe. In Joplin, we went with Gentile kids all the time.

So, it wasn’t a problem to me when I moved to Clarksdale for the Jewish/Gentile association. I associated right away with the American Legion Auxiliary, which I was not a charter member. I wasn’t of the very first but I was in the second group that started the American Legion [or]when they re-founded their organization. It was never difficult for me to be around Gentile people because I was used to it - - from going to Sunday School, from affiliating with them, from playing in churches and from school friends. It was easy for me. I felt a prejudice occasionally, yes but, not all that much. I was invited to parties. When Walter Chapman was living in Clarksdale, I was one of those invited to the recital at the Cutrer home. Francis [Cutrer] used to invite me to these evening musicals in their home.

After my children were born, I did not find it difficult to go out to enjoy myself because I always had baby sitters. My Negroes helped. I had to depend on Viola, the maid and baby sitter. I can’t remember the names of the other girls, but Viola was my main stay. Daddy and I use to go out all the time.The baseball games, the picture shows and visits with people in their homes. As an adult we participate Well, I was in charge and I had a lot of them.[210]

Community Services

Corinne said,

I did a lot to promote social activities in the community; like I was Chairman of Music Week of the Civic Opera. I got up parades and ran around and had all the churches to observe Music Week, the schools. I don’t know the dates. When we wanted to go out and have a good time, we would go out to eat. Daddy and I would go to Memphis. Occasionally, we would go with Pearl and Louis. We would go to Memphis to the Opera once a year. We had Community musical events here in Clarksdale in which I was in charge of. I did a lot about bringing people to Clarksdale. Later, they became very well known, such as Ferrente and Teicher but I can’t remember the other names of the well-known people. There were quite a few of them, I know. We had big concerts in Clarksdale. We brought good talent there. We did not go to Jackson or Vicksburg for entertainment only to went to Memphis.[211]

WPA Projects Interview:


"Mrs. Kerstine's parents were Rose Baum and Morris J. Weiss of Pittsburgh, Kansas. The greater part of her literary education was received in St. Joseph, Missouri, where she began school in the public schools; after graduating from the High School she attended both a Junior College and a Business College of St. Joseph. Later, studied at the University of Wisconsin majoring in piano music. She studied under Epstein at the Beethoven Conservatory, St. Louis. The music world of St. Joseph, Missouri, have the artist teacher Frank Mannheimer of London, England, come nearly every summer and give a ten day Master Class. Mrs. Kerstine has studied in this class.

In the high schools of St. Joseph, … the unusual pupils were permitted to teach as apprentices. Mrs. Kerstine began teaching piano as an apprentice in High school and taught for eight years before her marriage.

Miss Corinne Weiss was married to [Isidor] Kerstine Dec. 31, 1932. To this union has been born two children a son Richard Stanton and a daughter, Margery Helen.

Mrs. Kerstine is a member of the Opera Study Club, Clarksdale, MS, and chorus-accompanist of the Woman's Club and gives freely of her talent on programs.”[212]


(1910, 1920)


Aaron said,

I came to Clarksdale in 1937. I went to Alligator to join my brother, Charles. My uncle Meyer was there too. The store was already there. It was established in 1929. There was the Kaplan store. Kline’s Store was kept like a general department store. I was in dry goods; called it general merchandise; had a little bit of everything. Meyer Kline, when it was incorporated, had the whole town, the whole block. … Next to the store there were several commissaries, such as Clemens, Butlers, non-Jewish people. There was a café down the road. Before that, I believe Baskind had a store there. There were two to three Chinese stores. There was a Chinese store next to me. There was one at the end of the block. There was still like an office and commissary for R. A Butler & Son.[213]


Aaron said,

Henry is my late uncle; that's the one that did the farming in Anguilla, MS. They built a house and moved to Vicksburg at the same time that Myer Kline moved to Clarksdale. An article said he traveled a hundred miles everyday to go to his work. Aaron said that was probably because after he moved he kept the store in Anguilla. He also had a farm with his son, Milton “Micky” in Onward, Mississippi, that is between Anguilla and Vicksburg. Micky married Helen Baskind. [214]


Corinne said, “Meyer Kline had all his holdings alone. Then Henry Kline had his separate from the Adelsons. I know that Henry Kline was a wealthy man than Meyer. He made more than his brother. They built homes that were identical.”[215]




“Brother to Morris; married to Lena Abrams,” according to Sam Abrams.[216]



She and Edith Woolbert were very close friends.[217]


“They moved to Kansas City approximately 5 years before we married in May 1942. Sol had a job traveling out of Kansas City, and they moved, according to Same Abrams.[218]


A birds eye view of Coahoma County, 1938, Coahoma (County Chamber of Commerce Brochure) lists:

Coahoma County was called "the golden buckle on the cotton belt. "

Stadium, municipal swimming pool, and baseball park lighted for night use;

1588 homes

Reference, circulating and school libraries;

Daily newspaper circulation of 5,200;

19 churchesFederal court seat

Meat curing plant in cold storage; ice cream plant ; 3 bottling works; only plant in Mississippi of Continental baking company; largest bank in a farming area in the United States; three lumber mills

County chamber of Commerce brochure) him him him him him him him him n



MS Institute of Jewish and Cognate Studies

Trained Sunday school teachers; only one of its kind; conferred degree of Bachelor of Hebrew History and Literature. 10 students graduated from Institute of Jewish and Cognate Studies.[219]

Corinne said,

We did have a rabbi, but I can't remember his name that was there from 1938 to 1945. He got fired. I can't remember his name. His A birds eye view of Coahoma County, 1938, Coahoma daughter's name was Ruth. His wife was a sick woman. They lived where Mrs. Carnes' lived on Maple Street, but I can't remember his name. We had him, I guess, around four years. During the war, we had him mostly during the war.


Julian Bloom said,

B’nai B’rith Club on Delta was really the Jewish social life. The men had a poker game going on Sunday afternoon. They used to have New Year's Eve parties that we would cater it ourselves. B’nai B’rith Men’s Club always made up social events, especially if they were trying to raise money.

When the Elks Club was popular that was for big events. We used to have dances up there, like maybe twice a year. We would have people from Cleveland and Greenville and Greenwood, that would always come to The Cotton Ball. It was held maybe in the spring, before it got too hot. We always had that, then the B’nai B’rith Club always had some kind of a function going on.[220]

The Sebulskys had the Style Shop in town; Nat Okun's shoe store; The Madeira Shop; Cohens and Resnecks had a shoe store and then they opened up later, Alan's. (Bloom, 11) Yaffes, had a store on Sunflower Street; the Rappaports… I think Sunflower was the main business street before Issaquena started. Kaufmans had their tailor shop on Sunflower . (Bloom, 11)

Actually, the whole Jewish community was merchants, except the Friedmans and the Blooms in the scrap business. (Bloom, 11)

The Sacks and the Klines were in farming, cotton. (Bloom, 11) Jake was a cotton merchant. (Bloom, 11)M. Aaron Sack had one for a while here. He had a cotton brokerage and farms. He had all kind of stuff. Back in his days, he was one of the wealthiest people here. (Bloom, 11)


(1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)

Julia said,

Six months after [I] graduated from high school [I] went to Memphis. Uncle Harry sent me here. The Grounds Business School had what they called “Salesman.” They go around asking people if they wanted to send their children to business school. Uncle Harry had a store. Alma was already working for him. He asked me if I wanted to go.

In 1938, Mom and Dad said now you call us once a week, either Friday or Saturday; reverse the charges; 35 cents. Thirty-five cents was a lot of money then. So I would try to call on Friday night. One Friday night I called. Mary Belle, who lived down the street from us, was the long distance operator. I would call and get her. 'Mary Bell, this is Julia Bell, I want to talk to my parents.'

Mary Belle answered, “Oh, Julia Bell, I don’t think you can talk to them. I just saw your mother walk into the Temple when I was walking to work. So, there is nobody at home.”

Julia continued,

Well, then we didn’t have a phone that you had to ring. We had a party line for a while. When I’d go down to Rosedale, Mississippi, you had to ring with the operator. That phone is still in my aunt’s house. They haven’t paid the money to make it useful. But after I was married, and I had one or two or three children; I have forgotten. My cousin who was from Rosedale who lived in New York, and she came home to recuperate from surgery. My aunt was no longer living. I called her brother’s house. I get the operator and ask for Louise Mostkoff. She is at Adolph Moskoff’s house.

Operator said, 'just a minute.

I said, 'Would you try Toby’s house?'

The operator answered, 'If you are trying to get in touch with Louise, they are having a party for her down at the Country Club. Do you want me to ring the Country Club?'

I said, 'No; I’ll call her another time.' Mrs. J. Mostkoff, Ida and Nellie’s sister eventually moved back to Rosedale when her brother got sick and took over the mercantile business.[221]


Julia Glassman said, “One of them in Riverton. For a while he had the same store that Mr. Small had. I don’t remember anymore. Frank was Dave’s father. He named his son after his father.


(1910, 1920)


Leon recalled,

We went back to St. Louis to visit my mother’s family a couple of times. I don’t remember how we went. I only remember going once. May have gone twice. She didn’t get along too well with those. I think her father was put in an old folks’ home She went a time or two by herself then she wanted somebody to go with her. I went with her one time I think. And of course, I think, one of the... she met with her brothers and their wives and one of them had a son that appeared to me to be homosexual. That was a no-no in those days. So I didn’t have much to do with them. (Califf, 40)




Blanche remembered being in Clarksdale with her new baby, Freddie, She said, “When Freddie was little, she was in the buggy, had a mosquito net over, outside Daddy’s restaurant, everybody came in said you’d better take that baby in, somebody’s going to kidnap her, because she was such a beautiful baby. I said, “Nobody’s going to kidnap her.”

I did play poker with Rose and Annie and Gertrude Bernstein. She’s something. [222]


(1910, 1920)


Sam Abrams said: Louis Goldstein was a bachelor. Of course, he showed off a lot. What he would do on the High Holy Days when people would donate money to show this message, he would donate a lot of money and never paid it. He wanted the honor was the main thing because he wanted to be known as the one who gave the most.

That’s right. I never will forget Mr. Levine lost his house and Louis Goldstein got it. The whole family had to move to the upstairs in the balcony of the store on Sunflower. Somehow or other, they got the house back after Louis Goldstein died. He left a lot of money to the schul.[223]

Julia Glassman said,“I remember Louis Goldstein. I just remember that he had a store. I believe he [was] Mrs. Gordon’s brother or maybe he was her uncle. I know they were kin.”[224]

Goldstein's obituary report, “He had lived in lived in the city for the past 45 years,… He was a philanthropist and was instrumental in the financing of the Beth Israel Temple and was a charter member of the B’nai B’rith. It did not mention any local citizen as part of his family.[225]


(1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)

Gilbert said,

The business was open on the Sabbath Grandpa and Uncle Louis had expanded it from shoes to general merchandise and had moved the store from Sunflower to Issaquena before he died. Aunt Ella couldn’t have inherited Grandpa’s store. She lived in Lambert when he died. Daddy and Aunt Nell took over his store. Uncle Louie joined them later.

My father and uncle’s business was named G. Jacobson Bros. When Aunt Nell married Uncle Sam; she went into business with him. Aunt Ella and Uncle Phil had a store down the street.


(1910, 1930)


Adele Cohen-Kline said,

[Harry] used to hang out with them (on Issaquena) but he didn’t have a store over there. Harry’s uncle used to sell jewelry or something. Harry’s brother was Leon. Hymen had a store over there. Harry hung around that store all the time. On one corner was Sherman [and] Campassi's store and Abe Issacson’s was the other corner store. There was Simon Lurie store. There was a picture show that was on the street. There was a Grober. The Shepp store was over there; the Levites, Dorothy’s parents.[226]

Aaron Kline said “I know that it was hard to get the Jews to deposit money in the banks before the bank crash.”[227]


(1868, 1880 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Corinne said she was told Mimi and Caesar were close friends in their teens. Adolph Kerstine and Governor Brewer put their head together to break it off. Neither Caesar nor Mini ever married.

Selma said,

She was alive when Caesar dated Mimi Brewer. but she did not remember anything about it. She thought Mini Brewer had a store. I thought she had a store on Delta. She sold baby stuff. I’m pretty sure she did. I remember it so well but she actually did have a store, I think I remember a big house they had in Clarksdale.[228]

Corinne said, “Max sent Caesar out and did the dancing. He loved to dance.”[229]

Lenore Sack Beatus told how much she enjoyed dancing with them.[230]

Selma added.[231]

Max and Caesar went to every dance When Caesar left Clarksdale he went into the government at Washington. He was in the Army between the two wars. I was living in Jackson when he did this. This was after 1936, I had moved down here. He was living in that one-way experiment station. Selma said that he signed up in Vicksburg. I went with him and spent the day with him in Vicksburg before he left. I thought that was the end of the world when he went but he had the best time he ever had in his life.

Caesar never had to leave the United States. When the Army sent him to Ole Miss he began to fool with his music. He wanted to go on stage. He was in a play at Ole Miss.

Corinne added, He was in charge of play there because he directed it. He did acting because he enjoyed entertaining) He didn’t go on stage as a professional actor but he wanted to. He tried to get into movies.

Corinne said,

Caesar worked in Chicago for a while. He took piano lessons there and when he worked in Washington, DC, and he learned to play a piano pretty well for what he had. Had he had a chance, he would have been good. Caesar composed words and music. Caesar did have his music published but he had to pay for it himself and never sold any composition. That cost a good bit of money. He could not get the music recognized. He went to Amos and Andy to get published. Supposedly, Selma believed no one encouraged him or talked him into it. He did it on his own. It's awful hard to get it published. She said that no one truly encouraged him or supported him; he did it on his own. Although he never made anything out of it, he worked hard at it. I just remember him carrying it. He never got the chance.[232]

Lillian Shankerman, said that she had some of his music too.[233]

Selma said, “He loved to have his picture taken. Caesar drew a portrait of Max.”[234]

Corinne said, “I have a picture of Caesar wearing knickerbockers. He was about fifteen years old yrs. old [235]

Corinne said,

Caesar never had a mother that pushed it. He pushed himself for a while according to Selma. They criticized him at home. He was in Chicago, in Washington; he was all over. He tried to make it for himself. He was always called home. His father always called the boys home.


(1868, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)


Rowena said,

I married Sam in 1938. I was living here in Clarksdale when I met him. I had been living here from 1935 till I married him. Prior to 1935 I had been living in Tunica. All I can say is, if a non-Jewish and a Jewish person get married, they need to get the religion straight before they get married.[236]


(1890, 1900, 1910, 1920)

March 25: Lorraine and Teddy baby daughter dies.[237]



Corinne said, “Gene Weiss, my brother, came to Clarksdale in 1938.[238]



A second radio station was established in Clarksdale in 1939, WROX, and an affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System with offices in the Alcazar Hotel. Originally owned by Birney Imes of Columbus, MS, WROX featured programs over the years including “Coffee Club” with Helen Sugg and the Early Wright Show. Wright went to work for WROX just after World War II. (Clarksdale and Its Resources, p. 108)


Sunday School had 131 students with the largest Jewish membership in Mississippi, 148 on membership roster. See photograph in front of Temple.. (website: http://issaquenamemoirs. com/index.php/clarksdale-jewish-community-memoirs/1939-school-photo)

During this year, the congregation celebrated its 45th anniversary.[239]


(1910, 1920)


Julian said,

They had just cut the highway through here, just completed it. In 1939, we moved out here on the highway. We built a small building with leftovers from Rose Seed Co. We put up a fence and started buying old cars and stuff to sell parts off of and scrap iron, and that's how we got into the junk business after we had room. So we were in the pecan business and the raw fur business. We bought raw furs because my father taught us all about that. We would take all this stuff to Memphis to sell. mink, coon, and possum, three items.

The Levines involved in furs at the time as a sort of a sideline with them. Mr. Levine used to buy and sell cattle, and he farmed a little bit. They had a dry goods store. People did all kind of things.

After my father passed away, we moved my mother to Clarksdale on July 4, 1939. We moved to a house right down here at 716 Leflore. We moved here in 1937. We were actually here two years before she moved here. And then, we started meeting people in Clarksdale. Amazingly enough, my mother loved living here. She thought she was going to the end of the world, but she did it for us. Left all her friends in Memphis, and she had lots and lots of them there. And had her poker club, etc. When we came down here, of course we became a part of the Clarksdale community little by little.

During the first two years, we really didn't live here, and we were busy. We met people at the restaurant, and they knew that we were Jewish, but we just never socially didn't get involved till after we actually moved here, in 1939. My mama was always a good one, for socializing.

I'll tell you the incident that really happened after the first two years of moving back and forth to Memphis. We were out here on the highway working, and Mrs. Sebulsky drove up here and kind of tooted her horn. I went out there to the car. I didn't know who she was or anything.

She introduced herself, and said, 'I understand that y'all have moved to Clarksdale. My daughter is coming home for Thanksgiving, and I want to have a little dinner party for her. I would like for you and your brother to come and meet my daughter and some of her friends.'

Which was really wonderful, and we went. Natalie had come home. That's where we met some people. And my mama, bless her, she says, 'Well you know why people invited you, her daughter's home from school. Y'all need to take her out.'

So Nat called her and had a date with her, and paid off his obligation, = I called her and took her to a dance, or something that was going on here, either in Greenwood or Greenville, I think it was Greenville, during the holidays. That's how I really got to know Natalie. I liked Natalie, and we became real good friends. In fact, we became very close to the Sebulsky family, very close. I dated others too. I used to date Marian Fink Shackeroff quite a bit. Of course, Natalie went off to college, and Marian was here in high school.

Our business kept growing, and we used to go Saturday nights up on Issaquena, just for the sights and the doing. Nat dated Goldie Isaacson, (Goldie Himmelstein) and Mr. Isaacson used to get him to come up there and help them on Saturday nights in the store. The whole Issaquena was nothing but Jewish merchants.[240]


(1910, 1920)


Leon said,

Mr. Jones who was Mr. Kooyman’s assistant, was our teacher. We used to hypnotize each other and we would talk, and we were buddies, I was either thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen. We were big buddies, and we got along beautifully. Now the band was going to make a tour of parts of Mississippi. People in different cities, [or] towns that we stopped in, … would offer us the night at their house. Usually they would like to get two, like somebody would have two single beds in a room. So, I asked him, 'let’s me, and you stay together, and he told me, 'No.'

Now, he was going to stay with somebody more his social equal, and that just hit me hard.

Every once in a while, not always, but every once in a while, we would hear this business about Christ killing. I remember thinking to myself, first time I ever heard it; I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. I don’t know nobody by that name, I never killed anybody. But there was a lot of anti-Semitism, most of it was right beneath the surface. Of course, we couldn’t go to the country club.

I was confirmed, did not have a Bar Mitzvah. I’m surprised I’m not in that picture because it could have been about that time. My brother was Bar Mitzvah in Israel later in life and had it done. He had several friends who belonged to the Baron Hirsch. You could go to Jerusalem and go to the Wailing Wall, and there are Rabbis by the thousands. One of them trying to hustle me for money so he would say prayers for my good feast for my family every day. In a way I have to sympathize with him because if you really are committed, and you follow what the Torah says it puts you at a disadvantage for earning a living. They’re beginning; there is a section in Jerusalem called Neiri Sherem where the ultra Orthodox congregate. That’s where the ultra Orthodox live. They’re beginning to change their minds a little bit. Instead of a boy studying until he was forty and had a wife and five or six children and then had to go out and...he couldn’t earn a living. This delayed it. It’s not right. It doesn’t follow some kind of sequence. Of course...in Israel now...you see, I’m not worried about the past - the past doesn’t bother me at all.[241]


(1890, 1900)

Julian said,

I remember Julius Picard was a merchant here. Julius Picard was the father of Mabel Picard, who was a beautician. He use to sell meat; go out to butcher cattle and sell meat.[242]

Corinne Kerstine said, “He was a little man.”[243]

Adele Cohen/Kline said, “I just knew he was her father.”[244]

Rowena Rappaport who remembered him, said,

Picard had a meat market. He killed his own or the rabbi killed them, and he butchered.

I knew his daughter, Mabel. She was a neighbor when we lived on Madison. Yes, said she was French. When she died, a first cousin from the East came as she was a big shot with a bank. He came to see about her estate. He had a will and did not leave them anything. She never married. I inherited a rocking chair from her which we still have. She was a beauty operator. Her mother’s name may have been Mabel also. [245]

[1] "Coahoma County Is Famous Throughout Dixie for Its Abundant Crop." Clarksdale Daily Register and Daily News (Clarksdale, Mississippi), September 3, 1936.

[2] Weeks, Linton. “The Golden Age of Friars Point.” Clarksdale & Coahoma County: A History. Clarksdale, Miss. (P.O. Box 280, Clarksdale 38614): Carnegie Public Library, 1982, p. 22.

[3] Labens, Alvin. Interviews by author. Memphis, Tennessee., November 3, 2004, October 2008, and May 22, 2009. Oral taped interviews.

[4] Kline, Adele Cohen, Aaron Kline and Corinne Kerstine. Interview by author. Memphis, Tennessee. November 27, 1993. Oral taped interview.

[5] Interstate Directory Co.'s Clarksdale, Mississippi City Directory 1929-1930 (June 27,1929), p. 61. Database online Clarksdale, Mississippi, City Directory 1929-1930. Record for Segal's Dixie Shop. Digital image. Ancestry.com <www.ancestry.com>. (Accessed August 20, 2016).

[6] James, Selma Weinberger. Interview by author. Jackson, Mississippi. 1987- 2001. Oral taped interviews.

[7] Sage, Harold K. and Madge P. Baucom. Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936: One hundred years of progress in the Mississippi Delta: Centennial Edition. Delta Staple Cotton Festival Association 1936.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Dabbs, Miriam. "Clarksdale's Tuttle Hotel." Here's Clarksdale, November/December 1976, pp. 16-22.

[10] United States. WPA. Resource: 241 – Houseboat, Coahoma .-.-. Folk Tale FC Florence F. Montroy Title Mr. and Mrs. Louis N. Stewart—WPA Project. 1936). By Florence F. Monterey. Series 241. Clarksdale, Mississippi: WPA, 1936.

[11] Califf, Leon Interview by author. Memphis, November 5, 2002. Oral taped interview.

[12] Erline Shankerman: Erline Shankerman: USA. National Archives and Records Administration. Bureau of the Census. 1930 United States Federal Census for Erline Shankerman Mississippi Coahoma Clarksdale District 17. p. 18, Line 99. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, 2002. (Accessed August 20, 2016).

USA. National Archives and Records Administration. Bureau of the Census. 1940 United States Federal Census for Harriet S Baker Mississippi Coahoma Clarksdale 14-17. p. 7. Line 32. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, 2012. (Accessed August 20, 2016).

USA. National Archives and Records Administration,. Bureau of the Census. 1940 United States Federal Census Mississippi Coahoma Clarksdale 14-17. p. 7, Line 1. Ancestry.com Operations, 2012. (Accessed August 20, 2016).

"JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry - USA - Mississippi Burial Record." Jewish Gen - The Home of Jewish Genealogy. Record for Alvin Binder,Stanley Cohen & Hermine Bacharach Basist. Digital image. <http://www.jewishgen.org/>. (Accessed August 20, 2016.)

[13] Kline, Adele Cohen, Aaron Kline and Corinne Kerstine.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Shackeroff, Marion Fink. Interview by author. Jackson, Mississippi. October 30, 1999. Oral taped interview.

[16] Kline, Adele Cohen, Aaron Kline and Corinne Kerstine.

[17] Labens, Alvin, Burt Jaeger, Irvin Kaufman. Interview by author. Memphis, Tenessee. November 28, 2004. Oral taped interview.

[18] USA. Bureau of the Census. National Archives, Washington, D.C. 1920 United States Federal Census for Sam Yaffe Mississippi Bolivar Shelby District 0015. p. 7, Lines 10-13. Provo, UT,: Ancestry.com Operations,, 2012., 2010. <Http://search.ancestry.com>. (Accessed November 27, 2016).

[19] USA. National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. Bureau of the Census. 1930 United States Federal Census for Sam Yaffa Mississippi Bolivar Beat 1 District 4. p. 35, Lines 15-22. Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. <www.search.ancestry.com>. (Accessed August 21, 2016).

[20] USA. National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. Bureau of the Census. 1940 United States Federal Census for Sam Yoffe Mississippi Coahoma Clarksdale 14-15. p. 1, Lines 1-8. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations,, 2012. <www.search.ancestry.com>. (Accessed August 21, 2016).

[21] “Issaquena and Alcazar Hotel.” Interview by author and Terry Thompson. Temple Israel, Memphis Tennessee. September 15, 2008 .Oral taped with DVD interview.

[22] Martin, Stella. "Local Fire Department Has Grown Steadily During 51 Years It Has Served Clarksdale." Clarksdale Press Register (Clarksdale Mississippi), March 14, 1959, 16.

[23] Fink, Alvin , Kathleen Lowenthal, Corinne Kerstine. Interview by author. Memphis, Tennessee. November 27, 1993. Oral taped interview.

[24] Behrend, Blanche Dinner. Interview by author. Clarksdale, Mississippi, .July 1, 1996. Oral taped interview.

[25] Glassman, Julia Mae Baker. Interviews by author. Memphis, Tennessee. 1993 2003 and 2012. Oral taped interviews.

[26] Califf, Leon

[27] Ibid.

[28] Kline, Adele Cohen, Aaron Kline and Corinne Kerstine. Interview by author. Memphis, Tennessee. November 27, 1993. Oral taped interview.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Kline, Adele Cohen. Interview by author. Clarksdale, Mississippi April 01, 2004. Oral taped interview.

[31] "Exhibit of Useful and Artistic Articles Made by Clarksdale Boys and Girls during Summer Playground Period." Clarksdale Press Register, Carnegie Public Library Album #1 (Clarksdale, Mississippi), p. 195.

[32] "Schnorrer." Merriam-Webster.com. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/schnorrer>.(Accessed July 24, 2016). [Comment: ” beggar”; especially: one who wheedles others into supplying his want, The origin ad Etymology of schnorerr is from Yiddish, “snorer”]

[33] Behrend, Blanche Dinner.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Rich, Tracey R. Glossary of Jewish Terminology, “Challah.” Judaism 101. <http://www.jewfaq.Org/ glossary.htm> (Accessed July 24, 2016). [A sweet, eggy, yellow bread, usually braided, which is served on Shabbat and holidays, confusingly named for the commandment to set aside a portion of the dough from any bread].

[36] Behrend, Blanche Dinner.

[37] Meyer, Esther Frances letter. Genealogical Collection, Temple Israel Archives, Memphis, Tennessee. 2008.

Gefilte Fish (g'-FIL-tuh) Yiddish: lit. stuffed fish. A traditional Jewish dish consisting of a ball or cake of chopped up fish. Rich, Tracey R. Glossary of Jewish Terminology, <http://www.jewfaq. Org/ glossary.htm> (Accessed September 18, 2016).

[38] Ibid.

[39] Behrend, Blanche Dinner.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Fink, Alvin , Kathleen Lowenthal, Corinne Kerstine.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Shackeroff, Marion Fink.

[44] James, Selma Weinberger.

[45] Kerstine, Corinne.

[46] James, Selma Weinberger.

[47] Magdovitz, Joe, Interview by author. Memphis, Tenessee. November 4, 2002. Oral taped interview.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Katz, Clara and Aaron-Kline. Interview with Plaut, Rabbi Joshua. Clarksdale, Mississippi. 1986. Oral taped interview.

[50] Wiener, Dave, M.D. Interview with author. Memphis, Tennessee. April, 2003. Oral taped interview.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Sage, Harold K. and Madge P. Baucom.

[55] Edwards, Olive. "Circa 1932." Here's Clarksdale Volume I6, #3, May/June 1982, pp. 6-7. Accessed October 2, 2016.

[56] WPA Historical Research Project of Coahoma County, Assignment #3-10, Mrs. J. L. McKeown, Canvasser, July 1936. (this is in the Bibliography as a part of the same project.


USA. Works Administration Project. Clarksdale, Mississippi. Assignment #10, Historical Research Project of Coahoma County,. By Mrs. Donna Dance, Canvasser E. and W. M. Walton, Interviewer May 19, 1936.

[57] Beth Israel Anniversary Issue. Clarksdale, Mississippi: Clarksdale Beth Israel Congregation, 1939.

[58] Wiener, Dave, M.D.

[59] Labens, Alvin, Burt Jaeger, Irvin Kaufman. Interview by author. Memphis, Tenessee. November 28, 2004. Oral taped interview.

[60] U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database On-line]. Record for Gilda Jeannie Binder. <http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi>. (Accessed October 9, 2016).

[61] Califf, Leon Interview by author. Memphis, November 5, 2002. Oral taped interview.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Kline, Adele Cohen, Aaron Kline and Corinne Kerstine.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Wiener, Dave, M.D.

[66] Fink, Alvin , Kathleen Lowenthal, Corinne Kerstine.

[67] Adelson, Pauline Fink. Interview by author. Merigold, Mississippi, October 31, 1999. Oral taped interview.

[68] Greenwood, Amy Morrow. Interview by author. Chicago, Illinois. October 28, 1999. Phone taped interview.

[69] Shackeroff, Marion Fink. Interview by author. Jackson, Mississippi. October 30, 1999. Oral taped interview.

[70] Walton, W. M, Interviewer. “Assignment #10.” WPA Historical Research Project of Coahoma County. Clarksdale, Mississippi. May 15, 1936.

[71] “Mrs. Friedman, Mr. Turpin are Board Members”, Clarksdale Microfilm Album #1, p. 115.

[72] Alexander, Charles, Elaine, Sarah, and other family members. Interview with author, 1994. Oral taped interview.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Hirsberg, Bernard. Interview by author. Clarksdale, Mississippi. April 27, 1994. Oral taped interview.

[75] Clarksdale Microfilm Album #1, p. 212

[76] James, Selma Weinberger.

[77] Kerstine, Corinne,

[78] Wiener, Dave.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Kerstine, Corinne. James, Selma Weinberger.

[81] James, Selma Weinberger.

[82] Ibid.

[83] Kerstine, Corinne.

[84] Glassman, Julia Baker.

[85] Kerstine, Corinne.

[86] Ibid.

[87] Clarksdale Public Library Albums Collection, comp. Carnegie Collection (Clarksdale Mississippi). #1, p. 212.

[88] Walton, W. M, Interviewer. “Assignment #10.” WPA Historical Research Project of Coahoma County. Clarksdale, Mississippi. May 15, 1936.

[89] Wise, James Edward. Interview with author. Memphis, Tennessee. June 28, 2005 Oral taped interview.

[90] "Bank Holiday." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. <https://www. britannica.com/topic/bank-holiday">. (Accessed October 15, 2016).

[91] History.com Staff. "Civilian Conservation Corps." History.com. 2010. <http://www.history.com/ topics/civilian-conservation-corps>. (Accessed October 16, 2016.)

[92] Sage, Harold K. and Madge P. Baucom. Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936: One hundred years of progress in the Mississippi Delta: Centennial Edition. Delta Staple Cotton Festival Association 1936.

[93] Adelson, Pauline Fink. Interview by author. Merigold, Mississippi, October 31, 1999. Oral taped interview.

[94] Kerstine, Corinne.

[95] Fink, Alvin , Kathleen Lowenthal, Corinne Kerstine.

[96] Kerstine, Corinne.

[97] Ibid.

[98] Ibid.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Kline, Adele Cohen, Aaron Kline and Corinne Kerstine.

[101] Kerstine, Corinne.

[102] Curtis, Catherine. Phone interview by author. Clarksdale, Mississippi. November 21, 1999.

[103] Kerstine, Corinne.

[104] Ibid.

[105] Ibid.

[106] Ibid.

[107] Ibid.

[108] Ibid.

[109] Glassman, Julia Baker.

[110] Ibid.

[111]Misses Califf, Robinson and Smith Present in Senior Recital Tuesday Evening by Miss Minnie Shannon of Piano Department; Pianists Assisted by Misses Shell and Presley”, Clarksdale, MS: Clarksdale Press Register. May 18, 1938.

[112] Califf, Leon.

[113] Fink, Alvin , Kathleen Lowenthal, Corinne Kerstine.

[114] Ibid.

[115] Adelson, Pauline Fink

[116] James, Selma Weinberger.

[117] Alexander, Charles, Elaine, Sarah, and other family members. Interview with author, 1994. Oral taped interview.

[118] Wiener, Dave.

[119] Kerstine, Corinne.

[120] Ibid.

[121] Ibid.

[122] Ibid.

[123] Ibid.

[124] James, Selma Weinberger.

[125] Kerstine, Corinne.

[126] Ibid.

[127] James, Selma Weinberger.

[128] Kerstine, Corinne.

[129] Ibid.

[130] Ibid.

[131] Ibid.

[132] Wise, James Edward. I

[133] Glassman, Julia Baker.

[134] Baldwin, Robert Morton. Record for Reuben Dinner. Clarksdale Mississippi City Directory. 1939 Parsons, Kansas: Baldwin Con Survey Company, and Clarksdale: The Clarksdale Press Register, 1939, p. 227.

[135] Behrend, Blanche Dinner. Interview by author. Clarksdale, Mississippi, .July 1, 1996. Oral taped interview.

[136] Magdovitz, Lawrence. Interview by author. Memphis, Tenessee. July, 22, 2003 and August, 2010.

[137] Behrend, Blanche Dinner.

[138] Labens, Alvin, Burt Jaeger, Irvin Kaufman. Interview by author. Memphis, Tenessee. November 3, 28, 2004; May22, 2009. Oral taped interview.

[139] Labens, Alvin. Interviews by author. Memphis, Tennessee., November 3, 2004, October 2008, and May 22, 2009. Oral taped interviews.

[140] Magdovitz, Joe, Interview by author. Memphis, Tenessee. November 4, 2002. Oral taped interview.

[141] Ibid.

[142] Tonkel, Robert, and Olive Edward. "This Is My Story." Here's Clarksdale Volume I6, #3, July/August 1978 pp. 10-24.

[143] Wiener, Dave.

[144] Cooper, Forrest Lamar. “Mississippi Matter of Fact”, 1995 Calendar Florence, MS, 1995. [Note: use dates for page number.]

[145] Sage, Harold K. and Madge P. Baucom. Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936: One hundred years of progress in the Mississippi Delta: Centennial Edition. Delta Staple Cotton Festival Association 1936.

[146] Ibid.

[147] Kerstine, Corinne.

[148] Ibid.

[149] "Jewish Historical Edition of Clarksdale, Mississippi." Jewish Ledger [New Orleans, LA] Mar. 1923.

[150] Carnegie Public Library Albums Collection, comp. "Mrs. Charles Cohen Is Laid to Rest." Clarksdale Press Register (Clarksdale, Mississippi), April 21, 1941.

[151] Shackeroff, Marion Fink.

[152] Adelson, Pauline Fink.

[153] Alexander, Charles, Elaine, Sarah, and other family members.

[154] Jacobson, Gilbert. Interview by author. Memphis, Tennessee. 2001 to 2016. Taped oral, phone and email interviews.

[155] Katz, Clara and Aaron-Kline. Interview with Plaut, Rabbi Joshua. Clarksdale, Mississippi. 1986. Oral taped interview.

[156] James, Selma Weinberger.

[157] Kerstine, Corinne.

[158] Magdovitz, Lawrence

[159] Rappaport Family. Interview by author, Clarksdale, Mississippi. November 11, 1993, Oral taped interview.

[160] Carnegie Library Albums #1, Carnegie Public Library, Clarksdale, Mississippi, p. 289.

[161] "Ellis Henry Shapira Dies After Long Illness, Services Held Here Today." Clarksdale Press Register (Clarksdale, Mississippi), January 17, 1949.

[162] "Coahoma County Is Famous Throughout Dixie for Its Abundant Crop." Clarksdale Press Register (Clarksdale, Mississippi), September 3, 1936.

[163] Religious Bodies 1936 I, 374-375 and 1906 I, 220-221.

[164] Sage, Harold K. and Madge P. Baucom. Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936: One hundred years of progress in the Mississippi Delta: Centennial Edition. Delta Staple Cotton Festival Association 1936.

[165] Bloom, Julian.

[166] Osofsky, Laura Manis. Taped phone interview by author. Jacksonville, Floria. April 13, 2016 Taped phone interview.

[167] Rappaport Family. Interview by author, Clarksdale, Mississippi. November 11, 1993, Oral taped interview.

[168] Baldwin, Robert Morton, ed. The Baldwin and Register Clarksdale MS Con Survey Directory. ABCD ed. Vol. 1. No. 32. Hebron, Nebraska: Baldwin Con Survey Company, and Clarksdale, Mississippi: The Clarksdale Register, 1936, 178.

Baldwin, Robert Morton. Clarksdale Mississippi City Directory. 1939 Parsons, Kansas: Baldwin Con Survey Company, and Clarksdale: The Clarksdale Press Register, 1939, 206.

[169] Land Deed Record, #148, 2nd District Coahoma County, Clerk of the Chancery Court Clarksdale, MS, 236 21.

[170] U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 for Dave Auerbach” Registration State: Tennessee; Registration County: Dyer; Roll: 1852980, June 5, 1917. Accessed January 8, 20156 http://interactive. ancestry.comp.

“Mississippi, Naturalization Records, 1867-2008 for Mrs Sadie Auerbach.” Ancestry.com. Mississippi, Naturalization Records, 1867-2008 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Accessed January 8, 2016 http://interactive. ancestry.comp.

[171] “1920 United States Federal Census for Florence Okun.” ear: 1920; Census Place: Clarksdale, Coahoma, Mississippi; Roll: T625_873; Page: 44A; Enumeration District: 36; Image: 91886, Lines 5-9.

Hirsberg, Flora interview and transcripts with author, September 30, 1903.

Okun, Nathan interview and transcript with author, October 1, 1993.

[172] Jacobson, Edith. Personal and phone interview with transcripts with author, 1993 to 2015. Kerstine Oral Interview Private Collection, Temple Israel Archives, Memphis, TN.

Mangham, Stack statement re: W. C. Handy, New York City. WPA Historical Research Project, Coahoma County, Fine Arts Assignment #16, Project 2984. Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, Mississippi. "Yiddish Dictionary Online ייִדיש װערטערבוך אַפֿן װעב." Yiddish Dictionary Online ייִדיש װערטערבוך אַפֿן װעב. Accessed February 28, 2016. http://yiddishdictionaryonline.com.

[173] Magdovitz, Lawrence.

[174] Glassman, Julia Baker

[175] Ibid.

[176] "Mrs. Felix Balicer Dies of Poisoning." Clarksdale Press Register, Carnegie Public Library Album (Clarksdale, Mississippi), January 14, 1936.

[177] Califf, Leon.

[178] Adelson, Pauline.

[179] Shackeroff, Marion Fink.

[180] Fink, Alvin , Kathleen Lowenthal, Corinne Kerstine.

[181] Shackeroff, Marion Fink.

[182] Fink, Alvin , Kathleen Lowenthal, Corinne Kerstine.

[183] Binder, Leon,

[184] Kerstine, Corinne.

[185] Kerstine, Corinne.

[186] Abrams, Sam & Lolly. Interview by author. Memphis, Tennessee. January 17, 1994. Oral taped interview.

[187] Edwards, Olive. "The Clarksdale Hospital." Here's Clarksdale, September/October 1978.

[188] James, Selma Weinberger. Interview by Harold Frost. Jackson, Mississippi. 1989.

[189] Ibid.

[190] Kerstine, Corinne.

[191] Labens, Alvin.

[192] Walton, W. M, Interviewer. “Assignment #10.” WPA Historical Research Project of Coahoma County. Clarksdale, Mississippi. May 15, 1936.

[193] Ibid.

[194] Ibid.

[195] Labens, Alvin, Burt Jaeger, Irvin Kaufman. Interview by author. Memphis, Tenessee. November 3, 28, 2004. Oral taped interview.

[196] Kerstine, Corinne.

[197] Labens, Alvin.

[198] Labens, Alvin, Burt Jaeger, Irvin Kaufman.

[199] Kerstine, Corinne.

[200] Abrams, Sam & Lolly.

[201] Glassman, Julia Baker.

[202] Bloom, Julian. Interview by author. Clarksdale, Mississippi. November 18, 1993. Oral taped interview.

[203] Ibid.

[204] Califf, Leon.

[205] Behrend, Blanche Dinner.

[206] Greenwood, Amy Morrow. Interview by author. Chicago, Illinois. October 28, 1999. Phone taped interview.

[207] Fink, Alvin , Kathleen Lowenthal, Corinne Kerstine.

Tucker, Judy and Margery Kerstine. "Jake Fink: A Delta Entrepreneur." Arkansas Review 31, no. 3 (December 2000): 214-20.

[208] Adelson Pauline, Fink

[209] Bloom, Julian.

[210] Kerstine, Corinne.

[211] Ibid.

[212] Mangham, Stack statement re: W. C. Handy, New York City. WPA Historical Research Project, Coahoma County, Fine Arts Assignment #16, Project 2984. Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, Mississippi.

[213] Kline, Adele Cohen, Aaron Kline and Corinne Kerstine.

[214] Ibid.

[215] Kerstine, Corinne.

[216] Abrams, Sam & Lolly.

[217] Ibid.

[218] Ibid.

[219] Beth Israel Anniversary Issue. Clarksdale, Mississippi: Clarksdale Beth Israel Congregation, 1939.

[220] Bloom, Julian.

[221] Glassman, Julia Belle Baker.

[222] Behrend, Blanche Dinner.

[223] Abrams, Sam & Lolly.

[224] Glassman, Julia Belle Baker.

[225] "Louis Goldstein Passes Monday At Memphis Hospital." Clarksdale Press Register, Carnegie Public Library Album (Clarksdale, Mississippi), November 21, 1938.

[226] Kline, Adele Cohen, Aaron Kline and Corinne Kerstine.

[227] Ibid.

[228] James, Selma Weinberger.

[229] Kerstine, Corinne.

[230] Beatus, Leona Sack. Interview by author. Clarksdale, Mississippi, September 4, 1993. Oral taped interview.

[231] James, Selma Weinberger.

[232] Kerstine, Corinne.

[233] Shankerman, Lillian. Conversation by author. Clarksdale, Mississippi, November, 1993.

[234] James, Selma Weinberger.

[235] Kerstine, Corinne.

[236] Rappaport Family. Interview by author, Clarksdale, Mississippi. November 11, 1993,

[237] "JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry - USA - Mississippi Burial Record." Record of Salomon, infant daughter. JewishGen - The Home of Jewish Genealogy. <http://www. Disgorgement>. (Accessed November 27, 2016).

[238] Kerstine, Corinne.

[239] Beth Israel Anniversary Issue. Clarksdale, Mississippi: Clarksdale Beth Israel Congregation, 1939.

[240] Bloom, Julian.

[241] Califf, Leon.

[242] Bloom, Julian.

[243] Kerstine, Corinne.

[244] Kline, Adele Cohen, Aaron Kline and Corinne Kerstine.

[245] Rappaport Family.