Between 1948 and 1961, 65 percent of Jewish students at Emory University’s now-closed dental school were targets of discrimination. Despite sound academic achievements and excellent skills, they were given failing grades, made to repeat a year, even told to leave the school. A half century later, S. Perry Brickman—one of those former dental students—brought this injustice to light by organizing the production of a documentary film, From Silence to Recognition: Confronting Discrimination in Emory’s Dental School History, which premiered at Emory in October 2012.
Brickman’s research—and the moving film that resulted—led to Emory’s formal apology for the actions of the school’s dean and faculty. It opened the door to healing for the former students, and it noted the efforts of Arthur Levin, the Anti-Defamation League southeastern regional director who documented the pattern of discrimination and took his findings to Emory President Walter Martin more than 50 years ago.
Emory’s Tam Institute for Jewish Studies and the James T. LaneySchool of Graduate Studies are honoring those who suffered and fought against this discrimination with a new endowment to fuel the work of graduate students in Jewish studies. With gifts from private donors, the Brickman/Levin Fund will increase the amount of financial support these scholars receive for their work toward a PhD at Emory. By making the study of Jewish life and culture a permanent part of Emory’s graduate curriculum and providing support that will allow the university to train the next generation of Jewish scholars, the Brickman/Levin Fund will serve as a powerful repudiation of the discrimination that occurred a half-century ago.
About S. Perry Brickman and Arthur Levin
S. Perry Brickman began his studies at Emory College in1949 and gained early admission to the Emory School of Dentistry in 1951. When he was asked to leave after his first year, he enrolled in the University of Tennessee Dental School, graduating with high honorsin 1956. Brickman became a founding member and then president of the Georgia Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, served on the Georgia Board of Dental Examiners, and was president of the Atlanta Jewish Federation.
Arthur Levin began his career as a parasitologist with the U.S. military and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Considered an unsung hero of the civil rights movement, he used his position at the ADL to combatanti-Semitism, racial discrimination, and segregation in the South. He passed away in April 2013 at age 95.
SUPPORT THE FUND
Gifts of any amount will help build the Brickman/Levin Fund to its endowment goal. Once fully endowed, the fund will generate income to support the work of graduate students collaborating with scholars in the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies and the Laney Graduate School. The Laney Graduate School will match these student awards, doubling their reach.