National Lawyers Guild

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The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) was founded in 1937 as an association of progressive lawyers and jurists who believed that lawyers had a major role to play in reconstructing legal values by emphasizing human rights over property rights. From its inception, the Guild welcomed into its ranks all members of the profession without regard to race, gender or ethnic identity; it was the first national legal professional association to do so. Since its founding, the Guild has been instrumental in leading struggles for civil rights and civil liberties in numerous historic legal controversies. Areas of activity include: labor law, including preparation of materials for hearings of the National Labor Relations Board; support for the civil rights of communists, labor unionists and foreign born Americans, particularly in the post-World War II decade, and for the civil rights of African-Americans and of peace activists. The Guild defended many of the men and women who were subpoenaed by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee and House Un-American Activities Committee. The Guild also defended many veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who had fought against fascism in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and were subjected to political persecution in later decades. The Guild itself was charged, in the 1950s, with being a "communist front" organization, and spent many years in litigation vs. the U.S. Attorney General before obtaining relief. Lawyers playing prominent roles in the NLG or in relation thereto, and represented in the collection include Leonard Boudin, Herbert Brownell (U.S. Attorney General), Royal W. France, Ernest Goodman, Abe Isserman, Leo J. Linder, Victor Rabinowitz, Harry Sacher, and Leo Sheiner. The NLG also worked in cooperation with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.

From the description of National Lawyers Guild records, 1937-1990 (bulk 1947-1985). (New York University). WorldCat record id: 476090001

Organizational Information

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) was founded in 1937 as an alternative to the conservative and racially segregated American Bar Association. NLG is an organization that utilizes the legal and political skills of its members to serve the basic principle set out in its constitution: to function as "an effective political and social force in the service of the people... to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests" and to support the movement for progressive social change. Currently, active membership is composed of lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers. As of 1999, approximately 5,000 NLG members support 56 chapters nationwide. The NLG website is at http://www.nlg.org

The Guild is a member of the American Association of Jurists and of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. These organizations provide legal assistance in the struggle for self-determination, economic independence, and action against discrimination internationally.

Lawyer Ann Fagan Ginger served as NLG Administrative Secretary between 1955-1959. Ginger founded the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute in Berkeley, California, in 1965. Soon after, NLG passed a resolution designating the Institute's Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Library as the official repository for its records. With a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission in Washington, D.C., Ginger and her staff compiled an inventory of NLG's significant historical documents and in 1980 published two annotated guides to the records and publications of the National Lawyers Guild: Inventory #1 is titled, The Legal Struggle to Abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities: The Papers of Jeremiah Gutman . Inventory #2, The National Lawyers Guild: An Inventory of Records 1936-1976, An Index to Periodicals 1937-1979 .

The National Lawyers Guild produced many publications on the national, regional and chapter levels beginning with a periodical in 1937, National Lawyers Guild Quarterly, now called the Lawyers Guild Practitioner . Other publications include, amicus briefs for key cases, legal guides, reports, and books, such as Civil Liberties Docket v. 1-13, Citizens' Guide to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and Minimizing Racism in Jury Trials . Among the richest sources of information on the activities of the NLG are the newsletters of the National Office and the New York City Chapter which were distributed nationally under various mastheads including, National Lawyers Guild News-letter, The Guild Lawyer, and Guild Notes .

The National Lawyers Guild was influential in shaping the social legislation the characterized the New Deal era. The Guild defended workers and their trade unions and Guild attorneys fought the battles of pickets, strikers, and union organizers in the courtroom in the 1940s.

During the 1950s, NLG fought political repression. Guild members represented the Hollywood 10 and virtually every other person subpoenaed to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, among other now infamous McCarthy-era investigative bodies. Guild lawyers argued landmark cases such as Dennis v. U.S. and Bailey v. Richardson before Supreme Court. The Guild filled dozens of amicus briefs in opposition to the Smith Act, the Loyalty Program, HUAC, and to the deportation of aliens or denial of citizenship based on political beliefs.

The National Lawyers Guild opposes all forms of racial discrimination, from anti-Klan and anti-lynching legal work, to supporting affirmative action and diversity both in the work force and throughout society. In 1964, a campaign was organized to focus national attention on the struggles in Mississippi. Guild lawyers' represented hundreds of "freedom riders" and civil rights activists. NLG was deeply involved in the Black and Puerto Rican liberation movements, and the founding of several public interest law firms, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, in New York, and the Instituto Puertorriqueño De Derechos Civiles, in San Juan.

Throughout the Vietnam War, the Guild offered legal assistance to people opposed to the war for political, religious, or moral reasons. They published The New Draft Law: A Manual for Counselors and Lawyers . During the 1970's the Guild was also actively involved in the struggles for affirmative action and women's and gay rights, and organized defense teams for Wounded Knee and Attica.

In the 1980s the Guild was a leader in organizing demands for affirmative action in law schools and defending gains when courts became vehicles of organized backlash. A new generation of legal activists organized support for the anti-nuclear movement and for groups opposing U.S. intervention in Central America. It also forged innovative strategies for advancing domestic and international human rights.

The decade of the 1990s has seen NLG at the helm of the fight for workers rights both in the United States and abroad. The Guild has responded to the challenges of the right and the growing anti-poor and anti-immigrant sentiment in this country by providing legal advice and support to the progressive movement on these issues.

Portions of organizational information and organizational chronology excerpted from: National Lawyers Guild website: http://www.nlg.org "A National Lawyers Guild Chronology: 1937-1987", National Lawyers Guild 50 th Anniversary Commemorative Journal.

Organizational Chronology

  • Feb. 21 - 22, 1937 : Six hundred attorneys attend the founding convention of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) in Washington, D.C., to form an integrated association of liberal and progressive lawyers as an alternative to the conservative and racially segregated American Bar Association. Guild lawyers assist in creating legislation of the New Deal; the National Labor Relations Act, social security, and unemployment insurance, helping to win many advances for working people.
  • 1939: Guild members lobby against the Smith Act (outlawing organizations presumed to be "conspiring to advocate and overthrow the U.S. government by force and violence"), and the Voorhis Registration Act and poll tax used against blacks in the South.
  • 1940 - 1943 : The Guild fights against fascism. Guild members lead nationwide protests to quash indictments of Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who served in Spain; mount assault on racism in the armed services; pledge full support to President Roosevelt's measures to resist fascism and defeat Hilterism. Lawyer Carol King spearheads efforts to protect the rights of the foreign born; major campaign for rent control legislation; endorsement of the Social Security Bill.
  • 1944: House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) cites NLG as a Communist-front organization. The Guild formulates legal framework for the trial and punishment of war criminals. Also investigates racial disturbances in labor situations; the "zoot suit" riots, and housing projects.
  • 1945: Guild invited by State Department to act as advocate/consultant to the U.S. delegation at founding conference of the United Nations in San Francisco. The Guild criticizes secrecy regarding atomic bomb urging control be placed with U.N. Security Council. Guild sends official observers to Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. Mary Kaufman and Abraham Pomerantz serve on team of lawyers prosecuting individual Nazi collaborators.
  • 1946: NLG represents the United Mine Workers' fight against labor injunction; Guild Lawyer Leonard Boudin testifies against passage of Taft-Hartley Bill; Guild sponsors National Negro Congress, assists in the movement for Puerto Rican independence. The International Association for Democratic Lawyers (IADL) is founded in Paris to strengthen Nuremberg Principals and U.N. Charter.
  • 1947: NLG convenes Conference on Federal Power to Protect Civil Rights to address epidemic of lynching in the South. NLG members provide pro bono counsel to Trenton 6, six black men convicted of murder on the basis of coerced confessions. Guild members represent the Hollywood Ten, called to testify in front of HUAC.
  • 1948: Guild testifies against Truman's loyalty oath program. Some Guild members are subpoenaed to testify before HUAC having been named by Whittaker Chambers as members of the Communist Party. Law Student division of the NLG is formally established. Guild defense team in the Smith Act Trial are jailed on contempt charges.
  • 1950: HUAC issues a publication entitled "The National Lawyers Guild: Bulkwark of the Communist Party" designed to show a relationship between the two. Only 4 out of 3,800 members are actually accused of being Communists. In response to attacks the Guild publishes, "National Lawyers Guild, Legal Bulkwark of Democracy." NLG condemns invasion of South Korea by the North and supports U.N. intervention.
  • 1951 - 1953 : Guild disassociates from IADL due to exclusion of Yugoslav members. Guild members lead defense in espionage trials of Ethel & Julius Rosenberg and Morton Sobell. Guild attorneys seek a stay of the Rosenberg's execution and volunteer to draft 2255 motions to free Morton Sobell. NLG holds "Conference on Threats to Independence of the Bar" in response to continuing attacks by HUAC. At ABA Convention Attorney General Brownell announces his intent to include the Guild on the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations. The announcement initiates five years of legal struggle. In Sept. 1958, the attempt is dropped by Attorney General Rogers.
  • 1955 - 1959 : Because of anti-Communist sentiment and attacks on the Guild, many members leave the organization; membership drops to 500. David Rein appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in opposition to proposed legislation restricting the passports of U.S. citizens because of their political beliefs. Linus Pauling addresses convention in Detroit on Nuclear Test Ban. Only 4 Guild chapters retain membership: New York City, Detroit, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
  • 1960 - 1963 : NLG sponsors a mass swearing in to the Supreme Court in an effort to increase public support and confidence in the Guild. NLG's 25th Anniversary Convention held in Detroit. Guild creates the Committee to Aid Southern Lawyers (CASL), co-chaired by Ernest Goodman and George Crockett. CASL attorneys go South and represent civil rights activists. The Guild, the National Bar Association, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sponsor civil rights law conference in Atlanta, the first integrated bar association meeting in the South.
  • 1964: A working convention is held in Detroit on, "The Negro Revolt - Challenge to the Bar."Guild members vote to move the National Office from New York to Detroit. Committee for Legal Aid in the South, opens an office in Jackson, Mississippi. In cooperation with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Guild sends many lawyers and law students south to provide support to civil rights activists. San Francisco Guild lawyers organize the Council for Justice. Council later assists Vietnam Day Committee.
  • 1965: Guild defense team is victorious in Dombrowski v. Pfister, which holds that federal courts can enjoin state proceedings that interfere with the exercise of constitutionally protected rights. Los Angeles chapter organizes defense for mass arrests resulting from the Watts rebellion. Lawyers Committee on American Foreign Policy Towards Vietnam file affirmative federal lawsuits challenging the undeclared war raging in Vietnam. Ann Fagan Ginger founds the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute. The first student chapter since 1953 is formed at UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall). Guild convenes conference commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Nuremberg Tribunal judgements. Guild member Catherine Roraback is counsel for Griswold v Connecticut, which establishes personal, marital, familial, and sexual privacy is protected by the Bill of Rights.
  • 1967 - 1969 : Guild membership increases and members vote to move the National Office back to New York. Guild concentrates resources on opposition to the draft; co-sponsors the nation's first conference on the draft with the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors. NLG Regional Offices with full-time staff are established in every major city. NLG law students organize defense for the mass arrests at the Democratic National Convention. Mass Defense Office opens in NYC to provide legal services for Columbia University demonstrators and students on other campuses.
  • 1970: Doris Brin Walker is elected first female National president. Guild members vote to admit law students as full members; women challenge structure and focus of Guild at National Convention in Washington DC; a new generation of women, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers increase Guild membership. The Guild re-affiliates with the IADL. New York City members file suit against the NY City Police Department's "Red Squad." The first panel on Gay Liberation is offered. The Guild opens Military Law Offices in Philadelphia, Japan, and Okinawa. All offer free legal counsel to G.I.'s opposed to the Vietnam War. A Guild defense team goes to Buffalo, NY to represent inmates at Attica.
  • 1972 - 1974 : Philippine authorities raid the Guild's Military Law Office, arrest and deport staff. A revitalized Guild opens chapters in Chicago, Portland, Houston, Washington D.C. and Denver. Grand Jury Defense Office opens in San Francisco. National Labor Committee is re-established. National Immigration/Deportation Project and the Guild Men's Caucus formed. Guild sends 14 members to Cuba in first official Guild delegation since 1961 blockade. Guild members visit Chile to observe trials and represent key Allende officials, and investigate status of human rights. Women's Labor Project starts. The Guild, La Raza Law Students Assoc. Asian Law Collective and Nat'l Conference of Black Lawyers form the People's College of Law, run by students and the community.
  • 1975 - 1977 : The National Committee on Women's Oppression (NCWO) is established and later evolves into the Anti-Sexism Committee. Guild establishes first union oriented labor law firm in Puerto Rico. Guild members debate the position of the United Farmworkers Union regarding undocumented workers brought into the U.S. to break strikes. Guild sends delegations to People's Republic of China (following a resolution to normalize relations between U.S. and China) and to the Middle East to examine the status of Palestinian people. Guild establishes the Puerto Rico Legal Project. Guild contributes paper to Geneva conference on Native American Rights.
  • 1978 - 1979 : Guild members meet with Justice Dept. to demand prosecution of persons recruiting mercenaries in U.S. to fight for Somoza regieme in Nicaragua. Huey Newton is successfully acquitted. His Guild attorneys successfully fight contempt charges. Guild member travels to South Africa on an IADL fact-finding tour. Guild files report, "Violations of Human Rights in Guatemala." A resolution is passed in support of Leonard Peltier committing the Committee on Native American Struggles (CONAS) to his defense. People's Energy Project (operating a clearinghouse for anti-nuclear materials) is established and the Affirmative Action Coalition in Washington D.C. is formed. In San Francisco the Guild's National Prison Committee is re-organized, the task force on Anti-Semitism and the National Committee Against Government Repression and Police Crimes are established.
  • 1980 - 1981 : Central America Task Force is organized to challenge growing U.S. intervention. Guild debates role it should take vis-à-vis Nazi and Klan activity. Guild's Puerto Rico Legal Project addresses the United Nations Decolonization Committee. National Labor Law Center is opened in Washington, D.C. Vicki Erenstein delivers "Guild Statement on the Status of the Apartheid Regime in South Africa", to U.N. Special Political Committee. Guild sends delegation to Northern Ireland that calls for end to British domination and supports demands of hunger strikers. Guild files amicus brief on behalf of a lesbian mother fighting for custody of her child.
  • 1982: Guild provides legal contingent and observers to massive June 12 March for Nuclear Disarmament and submits petition to Freeze and Reverse Nuclear Arms Race to U.N. Through Guild's Selective Service Law Panel young men indicted on charges of failure to register for the draft are given legal assistance. With other organizations, the Guild files a lawsuit challenging constitutionality of U.S. Treasury Dep't regulations restricting travel to, and flow of literature from Cuba. CONAS provides legal support and staff for the Big Mountain Defense/Offense Project in Arizona helping Navaho and Hopi with land claims against U.S. government.
  • 1983: Guild and Center for Constitutional Rights file precedent-setting lawsuit in federal court aimed at stopping the U.S.-sponsored secret war against Nicaragua in Sanchez-Espinoza v Reagan. Guild members adopt resolution calling for affirmative action at Guild firms and offices. Guild (with other agencies) files lawsuit on the illegality of the U.S. invasion of Grenada.
  • 1985: Guild helps form Lawyers Against Apartheid. The Guild's Military Law Task Force files suit on behalf of a U.S. Navy hospital man discharged from the service because of AIDS. Guild receives documentary proof from discovery, in NLG vs. FBI, that for 40 years the FBI secretly provided information on the political activities of bar applicants to judge fitness for admission to legal practice; motion filed to compel full disclosure. Guild helps form Lawyers Committee to Free Nelson Mandela. Guild team assists in representing persons arrested for providing sanctuary to Central American refugees.
  • 1986: The Guild is instrumental in forming the Right to Counsel Network to combat current attacks on lawyers. Guild Toxics Committee is formed to co-ordinate legislative initiatives and litigation around toxic waste issues. Guild Rural Justice Committee assists farmers in crisis. Guild assists in the acquittal of Stephen Bingham, member accused of bringing a gun to prison activist George Jackson. Guild sends delegation to Soviet Union led by President Haywood Burns.
  • 1987: NLG 50th Anniversary Convention held in Washington, D.C. The Committee on Democratic Communications is formed focusing on the right of all peoples to a world-side system of media and communications based upon the principle of cultural and informational self-determination.
  • 1990 - 1999 : This decade the NLG held the line against right-wing attacks upon civil rights. Guild lawyers created innovative defense strategies for Central American and Haitian refugees, protected the pro-choice and gay rights movements from the tactics of Operation Rescue and the far right, and challenged restrictions on artistic expression put forth by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Guild agenda has responded to growing anti-poor and anti-immigrant sentiment, investigated corporate crime, and worked to end sweat-shop exploitation. The NLG/Maurice Sugar Law Center (a national non-profit public interest law center) is founded upon the principle that economic and civil rights are inseparable; that one group of rights cannot truly exist in the absence of the other. The National Executive Committee, after a month of debate, passed a resolution opposing the US/NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. The National Police Accountability Project is dedicated to curtail police abuse of authority through coordinated legal action and through the support for grassroots and victims' organizations combating police misconduct. To stop a miscarriage of justice, the Guild fights for a new trial and a stay of execution for Mumia Abu-Jamal, an African-American journalist on death row in Pennsylvania. Abu-Jamal is a jail-house lawyer and past Vice-President of the National Lawyers Guild.

From the guide to the National Lawyers Guild Records, 1936-1999, (The Bancroft Library)

Organizational History

The National Lawyers Guild (Guild) was an association of over 10,000 progressive attorneys, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers with over 200 chapters across the country, In 1985 Guild activist Paul Albert formed the National Lawyers Guild AIDS Network (NGLAN) in response to the inadequate legal services many Persons With AIDS were experiencing at that time. NGLAN was set up to provide legal assistance to people with HIV and to AIDS service organizations around the country through a network of attorneys and legal workers. It also advocated for progressive public policy, and educated individuals and groups about HIV and the law. It was organized as a separate body, with its own Board, policies and fiscal program, but was clearly a subsidiary of the Guild. Albert was appointed director, a position he held until he left five years later. Eileen Hansen, another legal activist and community organizer, was hired to direct the Network in 1990.

NGLAN's primary work involved referral of HIV positive individuals to the AIDS organization nearest them, and referral of AIDS organizations to cooperating local lawyers. Their major educational contributions included the preparation and publication of the AIDS Practice Manual, a comprehensive resource on HIV law for attorneys, and the Exchange, a newsletter published three times a year for lawyers, people with HIV, and other interested parties. NLGAN closed in 1993.

From the guide to the National Lawyers Guild AIDS Network records, 1985-1993, (The UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management, Archives and Special Collections)

The Great Depression, with its social and political upheavals, also had its effects upon the nation's professional communities. Millions of workers -- native and foreign-born, black and white, male and female -- were being recruited to the ranks of organized labor. On the international scene, the rise of fascism in Europe was viewed with growing alarm on the left, and, by 1936, the first armed conflict again fascist forces was underway in Spain. The advent of the New Deal was also releasing forces for social progress and reform in every sector of the population. Little of this was reflected in the composition or activities of the American Bar Association and other professional legal organizations. Growing numbers of members of the profession were dissatisfied with the failure of their organizations to react to these dramatic social/political changes. This discontent found organizational expression in the formation of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) in Feb 1937. Its avowed purposes would be to protect democratic institutions, individual rights, and advance "the legal well-being of the legal profession." (Weinberg and Fassler, Historical Sketch, p.1) Among the Guild's founding members were Morris Ernst, Jerome Frank, Senator Albert Wald, Frank Walsh, and the general counsels of both the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. From its inception, the Guild welcomed into its ranks all members of the profession without regard to race, gender or ethnic identity; it was the first national legal professional association to do so.

The Guild's membership worked actively on a wide variety of issues. At the outset, it was instrumental in drafting, administering and litigating much progressive New Deal legislation. At the same time, it challenged all forms of discrimination and opposed limitations on the right of free speech. It also fought vigorously for the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively. Many NLG members cooperated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and NLG work helped to shape the legal precedents that were later incorporated into labor law by the National Labor Relations Board.

The NLG's commitment to the right of freedom of expression became particularly meaningful with the establishment of a number of Congressional investigating committees, starting with the Dies Committee in the 1930s and continuing in the post-World War II period with the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and the McCarthy and McCarran Committees in the Senate. The Guild was steadfast in its opposition to the attempts of these committees to investigate the opinions and associations of private individuals. It also condemned the infringement of First Amendment rights by the federal loyalty program instituted by the Truman Administration. Similarly, it opposed the Smith Act prosecutions of the leaders of the Communist Party (later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court) and the requirement for registration of alleged "subversive" organizations under the Internal Security Act, also later declared unconstitutional. The Guild was vocal in its condemnation of abuses of individual rights by the F.B.I., for example, wiretapping, mail tampering, illegal searches and prying into citizens' beliefs and associations. It was also outspoken in seeking equal protection for the foreign born. During the McCarthy period Guild members defended many of the men and women who were subpoenaed by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee and House Un-American Activities Committee.

Another important aspect of the Guild's work was its service in the communities. It established neighborhood law offices to serve people living in urban slums and provided advice to tenant councils, consumer groups and other community organizations. After its founding as a national organization in 1937, the Guild began establishing chapters in such cities as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, and San Francisco.

In 1944, the Guild's National Executive Board submitted a statement on the subject of punishment of war criminals and, as a result, was invited by the United States prosecutor, Justice Robert Jackson, to be official observers at the Nuremberg trials. Soon after, the U.S. State Department asked the Guild to act as an advocate/consultant to the U.S. delegation at the founding conference of the United Nations in San Francisco.

After World War II, the Guild was outspoken in its opposition to the nuclear arms race and urged a ban on all such weapons. It fought vigorously against the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 which rolled back many of the protections the labor movement had secured a decade earlier under the Wagner Act.

From the beginning the Guild played an important role in the civil rights movement. In 1947, it convened a conference in order to respond to the lynching crisis in the South. As part of its commitment to civil liberties, it also furnished representation to the "Hollywood Ten" - writers and directors called to testify before and later jailed by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) for refusing to act as informers. The Guild also defended many veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who had fought against fascism in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and were subjected to political persecution in later decades.

In the 1950s, HUAC labeled the Guild as a "Communist-front" organization and issued a publication entitled "The National Lawyers Guild: Legal Bulwark of the Communist Party." Attorney General Herbert Brownell asserted that the Guild was controlled by the Communist Party and attempted to label it a subversive organization dominated by a foreign power. He brought proceedings in 1953 which dragged on until 1958, at which time the Justice Department dropped its efforts because its evidence was deemed insufficient.

After a period of relative inactivity, the Guild responded quickly and energetically in support of the civil rights movement of the 1960s by establishing its Committee for Legal Assistance in 1962 to provide legal resources for those fighting racism and injustice in the South. It co-sponsored the first integrated bar conference in the South and opened the first office that provided legal representation to the civil rights movement. It also created the Committee to Aid Southern Lawyers and sent attorneys to the Southern states to represent civil rights activists.

During the late 1960s, the Guild worked closely with the peace movement defending many draft resisters and others who opposed the war in Vietnam. Student chapters of the NLG were formed in many cities. In the course of the decade the Guild was wracked by internal strains common to many old left organizations facing new challenges and a new generation of youthful activists. A rival progressive lawyers group, the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee, had emerged from the civil rights and anti-poverty movements and soon had chapters in most law schools. Eventually a cooperative relationship between the two organizations was worked out, and the Guild entered a period of renewed vitality under the presidency of prominent civil liberties attorney Victor Rabinowitz.

In the 1970s the NLG was actively involved in the struggles for affirmative action and women's and gay rights; organized defense teams for Native-American defendants from Wounded Knee and prisoners charged in connection with the Attica Prison uprising; supported self-determination for Palestine and opposed apartheid in South Africa.

A new generation of legal activists during the 1980s organized support for the anti-nuclear movement and for groups opposing U. S. intervention in Central America and the NLG National Immigration Project began working on issues spurred by the need to represent Central American refugees and asylum activists fleeing Nicaragua and El Salvador. In 1989 the organization finally prevailed in its lawsuit against the FBI for carrying out illegal political surveillance.

Guild members mobilized in the 1990s in opposition to the Gulf War, defended the rights of Haitian refugees, opposed the blockade of Cuba and began to define a new civil rights agenda that included the right to employment, education, housing and health care.

Guild members continue into the twenty-first century using their experience and professional skills to support environmental and labor rights activists, fight for social justice, protect civil liberties and encourage respect for the Constitution and international law.

Sources:

Erlinder, Peter, History, National Lawyers Guild. http://nlg.org/aboutus/history.php , December 4, 2007. Weinberg, Doron and Marty Fassler, A Historical Sketch of the National Lawyers Guild in American Politics, 1936-1968. National Lawyers Guild, n.d. Photocopy in Tamiment Library Vertical File: National Lawyers Guild.

From the guide to the National Lawyers Guild Records, Bulk, 1937-1990, 1921-2007, (Bulk 1937-1990), (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

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referencedIn Christopher, Arthur, 1913-1967. Arthur Christopher papers, ca. 1900-1968. Moorland-Spingarn Resource Center
referencedIn Robert Walker Kenny Papers, 1920-1947 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Papers of Florynce Kennedy, (inclusive), (bulk), 1915-2004, 1947-1993 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf National Lawyers Guild. National Lawyers Guild records, 1936-1999. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn State University of New York at Buffalo. University Archives. Amy Ruth Tobol papers, 1974-1994. SUNY at Buffalo, University at Buffalo
creatorOf National Lawyers Guild AIDS Network records, 1985-1993 The UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management, Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Mary Metlay Kaufman Papers MS 300., 1917 - 1994, 1946-1986 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn Sequenzia, Sofia. Sofia Sequenzia papers, 1975-1985. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Leonard, George B., 1872-1956. George B. Leonard papers, 1876-1957. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Victor Rabinowitz Papers, Bulk, 1955-1980, 1918-2003, (Bulk 1955-1980) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Leonard Weinglass Papers, 1960s-2011 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
creatorOf National Lawyers Guild. National Lawyers Guild records, 1937-1990 (bulk 1947-1985). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Fraenkel, Osmond Kessler, 1888-. Reminiscences of Osmond Kessler Fraenkel : oral history, 1974. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alabama. Legislature. Commission to Preserve the Peace. corporateBody
associatedWith American Broadcasting Company corporateBody
associatedWith Angela Y. Davis person
associatedWith Aubrey Finn person
associatedWith Bakke person
associatedWith Berger, Raoul, 1901- person
associatedWith Boudin, Leonard, 1912- person
associatedWith Bridges, Harry, 1901- person
associatedWith Browder, Earl, 1891-1973 person
associatedWith Brownell, Herbert, 1904- person
associatedWith Caughlan, John,  1909- person
associatedWith Chessman, Caryl person
associatedWith Christopher, Arthur, 1913-1967. person
associatedWith Coe, John Moreno. person
associatedWith Cohen, Felix S., 1907-1953. person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Dennis J. Roberts person
associatedWith Detroit Revolutionary Movements. corporateBody
associatedWith Dickerson, Earl B., 1891-1986. person
associatedWith Dreyfus, Benjamin, d. 1983. person
associatedWith Duncan Aikman person
associatedWith Durr family. family
associatedWith Eisler, Hanns, 1898-1962. person
associatedWith Emergency Civil Liberties Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Eugene Dennis person
associatedWith Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley. person
associatedWith Foster [family] family
associatedWith Fraenkel, Osmond Kessler, 1888- person
associatedWith France, Royal W. person
associatedWith France, Royal Wilbur. person
associatedWith Franklin, Mitchell, 1902-1986. person
associatedWith Glueck, Sheldon, 1896- person
associatedWith Goldring, Benjamin. person
associatedWith Goldring, Muriel Goodman. person
associatedWith Goodman, Ernest. person
associatedWith Goodman, Ernest. person
associatedWith Hand, Learned, 1872-1961 person
associatedWith Hans Zeisel person
associatedWith Hardyman, Hugh person
associatedWith Hart, Pearl, 1890-1974. person
associatedWith Hastie, William. person
associatedWith Haywood Burns person
associatedWith Henry Wallace person
associatedWith Hoffman Family. family
associatedWith Howe, Mark De Wolfe, 1906-1967 person
associatedWith Huffman Commission (Los Angeles City Housing Authority) corporateBody
associatedWith International Association of Democratic Lawyers. corporateBody
associatedWith Jabara, Abdeen, 1940- person
associatedWith Kaufman, Mary Metlay, 1912-1995 person
correspondedWith Keenan, Joseph Berry, 1888-1954 person
associatedWith Kennedy, Florynce person
associatedWith Kenny, Robert W. (Robert Walker), 1901-1976. person
associatedWith Kinoy, Arthur. person
associatedWith Klein, David Y., 1933- person
associatedWith Lawyer's Panel for Selective Service corporateBody
associatedWith Leiberman, Soloman person
associatedWith Leonard, George B., 1872-1956. person
associatedWith Linder, Leo J. person
associatedWith Litchman, Mark,  1925- person
associatedWith Meyers, Irving, 1907-2003. person
associatedWith Michigan State University. Libraries. American Radicalism Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Naiman, Max, 1903- person
associatedWith National Federation for Constitutional Liberties corporateBody
associatedWith National Lawyers Guild AIDS Network corporateBody
associatedWith National Lawyers Guild. National Office. corporateBody
associatedWith National Lawyers Guild. New York City Chapter. corporateBody
associatedWith National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. corporateBody
associatedWith New York Council to Abolish HUAC. corporateBody
associatedWith Nicaragua Information Center corporateBody
associatedWith Norris, Harold. person
associatedWith Norris, Harold, 1918- person
associatedWith Online Archive of California. corporateBody
associatedWith Pacific Counseling Service. corporateBody
associatedWith Paul A. Freund person
associatedWith People's College of Law. corporateBody
associatedWith Prisoners' Rights Network corporateBody
associatedWith Progressive Citizens of America corporateBody
associatedWith Quilici, George L. (George Lancelot), 1897-1969. person
associatedWith Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky and Lieberman. corporateBody
associatedWith Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman. corporateBody
associatedWith Rabinowitz, Victor. person
associatedWith Rabinowitz, Victor. person
associatedWith Samuel L. Koenigsberg. person
associatedWith Schneiderman [family] family
associatedWith Sequenzia, Sofia. person
associatedWith Shango. person
associatedWith Solowey, Fred J. person
associatedWith Special Committee on Legal Assistance in the South corporateBody
associatedWith Sullivan, David person
associatedWith Tamiment Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Unger, Abraham 1899-1975. person
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. Special Committee on Un-American Activities (1938-1944) corporateBody
associatedWith Vicksburg Project corporateBody
associatedWith Weinglass, Leonard person
associatedWith William Brandhove person
associatedWith William Z. Foster person
associatedWith Yates family
Place Name Admin Code Country
Vietnam |x Politics and government |y 1945-1975.
United States
New York (N.Y.)
New York (N.Y.)
United States
Subject
Civil rights--United States--1930-1960
Peace movements--History--20th century
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
Communism History 20th century
Lawyers
Anti-communist movements--United States--1930-1960
Civil rights
Civil rights movements--History--20th century
Civil rights movements--United States--History--20th century
Anti-communist movements--History--20th century
Cold War
African Americans--Civil rights
Communism--United States--1930-1960
Lawyers--United States
Peace movements--United States
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1950

Active 1990

Information

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