Where Blacks Discriminated by SAM & IBM?

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Geno Munari » 01/22/02 07:30 PM

A dear friend recalled to me about how blacks were prevented from joining the IBM and SAM, or if they were allowed in the organization they were not welcome to executive meetings. Is there anyone out there who could shed some light on this sad part of history?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/02 08:46 PM

There's no question that Blacks and Jews were refused admittance to certain rings/assemblies of both IBM and SAM until a few decades ago.
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Postby Robert Kane » 01/23/02 05:40 AM

Unfortunately, I have also heard of similar discrimination against homosexuals back in the 60's and early 70's. Hopefully attitudes have changed for the better.
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Postby Guest » 01/23/02 07:11 AM

Discrimination in the magic organizations - ironic when you consider how many of our past Greats were in those minorities!
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/23/02 09:15 AM

Again, I cite the Emile Clifton situation where he was "thrown out" of an IBM Convention and the N word was used on him.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/23/02 02:16 PM

I was black-balled by the IBM in the late 60s because I attended my initial meeting (as a guest)with three friends. One was an excellent African-American magician. Another was a woman, who knew some magic and was a body-builder. (Card-carrying members thought she was a lesbian.) The third person was a jazz musician, whose hair was longer than mine at the time. His last name sounded suspiciously Jewish.

Of course, I was attempting to join the IBM in the deep south, a place that was at the time recently integrated and where IBM members shunned SAM members.

A number of years passed before the local clubs let me join their ranks...and even then (perhaps justifiably so)members were somewhat standoffish and dubious about my pedigree. At least I didn't feel like a leper with a bell around my neck. At the time I consoled myself that David DEvant was kicked out of the Magic Circle (although it had nothing to do with his flawless, English pedigree).

I'm happy to say that the local IBM and SAM clubs NOW have members who are female, Jewish, Black, and gay. There were, however, a few members who resigned after such people joined.

Sad but true...
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Postby Brian Marks » 03/02/02 08:46 PM

Harry Houdini was Jewish. He was the president of SAM Parent Assembly until he dies but that was NY.
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Postby Guest » 03/04/02 07:02 AM

Houdini tried to hide his background so much that he invented a birthday saying that he was born in the US. Despite the fact that he was the son of a Rabbi, he did not make it a well known fact that he was Jewish. Don't forget that he also married a Catholic. Discrimination still goes on today, it is just that most try to conceal it better. Sad but true.

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