Guide to the Philip Slomovitz (1896-1993) South End Collection, 1969-1974

Processed by Jason Schechter (June 5, 2002)

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Fax: (212) 294-6161



© 2016, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on December 7, 2006. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Slomovitz, Philip, 1896-1993
Title: Philip Slomovitz South End collection
Abstract: Contains 1969 and 1971-73 issues of The South End, Wayne State University student paper, as well as correspondence, public statements, petitions and a tape-recording relating to controversies generated by the printing of alleged anti-Zionist/anti-Semitic articles in the newspaper. The correspondence consists for the most part of an exchange of letters between university officials, Jewish community leaders and Leonard N. Simons, a Detroit advertising executive, during the 1969 controversy, and correspondence with Philip Slomovitz, editor of the Detroit Jewish news, in 1972-73. The tape recording is of a February 2, 1969 interview with John Watson, editor of the South end.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 3.9 linear feet (1 manuscript box, 2 oversized boxes)
Identification: P-135
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Historical Note
Wayne State University South End masthead photograph courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University.

Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University.

The South End is the official school newspaper for the Wayne State University campus, located in the heart of Detroit. Originally called The Daily Collegian, South End was renamed in 1966 to reflect the changing demographics of Detroit due to the effects of "white flight" to the suburbs. The term "south end" separates the urban school from the northern Detroit suburbs.

The change of name was not the only radical change to happen to the paper in the 1960s and 1970s. Soon after the change, John Watson was made editor of the South End. Watson changed the South End from a college paper reporting campus events, into a r adical "revolutionary" newspaper for workers, reporting on domestic and international issues. Watson used South End to educate workers on unionization and their rights as well as oppressed peoples everywhere, rather than inform the students of Wayne State. Using the phrase "One class conscious worker is worth a hundred students" Watson shaped the South End into the paper he wanted. He changed the masthead to include two black panthers and include the line "Year of the Heroic Guerilla." Soon, half of the published South End papers were being distributed to workers at the Dodge factory in Detroit to educated workers and not students on Wayne State's campus.

The radical newspaper began attacking all levels of establishment, candidly reporting from a socialist standpoint. On two egregious occurrences, South End printed anti-Semitic articles, specifically in 1973 using a graphic of a Star of David with a swastika printed in the center. The Detroit Jewish community and alumni reaction was outstanding. South End became a point of great controversy for Wayne State. It was not until after 1973 that Watson and his successor, Gene Cunningham, were removed from the South End staff, and the newspaper began to refocus on its role as a campus newspaper like it is today.

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Scope and Content Note

The Philip Slomovitz South End collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and editions of the South End newspaper from 1969, 1971-1974. The collection pertains to the rise of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel articles printed in Wayne State University's student run campus newspaper the South End between 1969 and 1973 and the reaction of the Detroit Jewish community. The collection is entirely in English.

In 1969, articles written in the South End supporting the Palestinian group Al-Fatah began controversy between Wayne State University and the Detroit Jewish community. Along with many anti-Semitic articles a 1973 article was printed where a Star of David with a swastika superimposed in its center placed in an article's background drew the most attention and is the source of much of the controversy and correspondence in the collection. Correspondence is held between members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Ad Hoc Committee for Responsible Student Journalism, the Detroit Chapter of the American Jewish Congress, and articles printed about the incident in the Detroit News, Look magazine, Michigan State News, and the Detroit Free Press.

The collection would be of interest to anyone researching African-American/Jewish relations, anti-Israeli sentiment around the 1960s and 1970s, or the Jewish experience in Detroit in the late 1960s and 1970s. Half the collection is comprised of whole editions of the South End collected by Philip Slomovitz. The newspaper editions can be found in the oversized boxes.

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The collection is divided into two series corresponding to the original filing system of Philip Slomovitz as follows:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

This collection contains audiovisual or electronic media that requires special equipment to access. Please notify reference staff at 24 hours in advance of needing access.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011

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The South End collection was donated to the American Jewish Historical Society in 1975. (1975.008)

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Philip Slomovitz South End collection; P-135; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Access Points:

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Click the box in the request column to open the form that allows you to request a box for onsite viewing in the reading room at the Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.


Series I: Reaction to and Responses from South End, undated, 1969, 1971-1973

0.5 linear feet. (Box 1)
Scope and Content:

This series reflects the Detroit Jewish community's reaction to the printing of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel articles in Wayne State University's campus newspaper - South End. Much of the correspondence specifically mentions an article printed on January 8, 1969 supporting the Palestinian group Al-Fatah, and an article printed on January 11, 1973 where a graphic of a Star of David with a swastika in its center was placed in the background of an article. The series contains reports and correspondence from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Wayne State alumni, Wayne State President, and community member Leonard N. Simons. Much of the series is reaction to the South End articles, but there are South End responses such as the taped interview with editor, John Watson.

11CorrespondenceJanuary-March 1969request_box
12CorrespondenceJanuary-February 1973request_box
13CorrespondenceMarch-April 1973request_box
14Tape recorded interview with John Watson, South End EditorFebruary 2, 1969
  View the item 
15Printed Public Statements1969, 1973request_box
16Student Handbills and Petitionsundated, 1972request_box
17Newspaper Clippingsundated, 1969, 1973request_box
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Series II: Issues of the South End, 1969, 1971-1974

3.4 linear feet. (Boxes 2 and 3)
Scope and Content:

This series contains editions of the South End; including those specific editions that are the focus of the controversy detailed in Series I. Nearly all of the editions between these years were highly politicized and controversial.

2(OS1)1The South End Issues and Clippings1969request_box
2(OS1)2The South End Issues and Clippings1971request_box
2(OS1)3The South End Issues and ClippingsJanuary-June 1972request_box
2(OS1)4The South End Issues and ClippingsJuly-December 1972request_box
2(OS1)5The South End Issues and ClippingsJanuary-February 1973request_box
3(OS2)1The South End Issues and ClippingsMarch 1973request_box
3(OS2)2The South End Issues and ClippingsApril 1973request_box
3(OS2)3The South End Issues and ClippingsMay 1973request_box
3(OS2)4The South End Issues and ClippingsJune-November 1973request_box
3(OS2)5The South End Issues and Clippings1974request_box
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