Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remark­able Life of Bessie Margolin

  • From the Publisher
February 10, 2016

Before there was a Noto­ri­ous RBG,” there was an Auda­cious Bessie M.” From the New Orlean­s’s Jew­ish orphan­age in which Bessie Mar­golin was raised to the Unit­ed States Supreme Court, Fair Labor Lawyer traces the inspir­ing jour­ney of the unsung Jew­ish legal trail­blaz­er who worked tire­less­ly to pro­tect Amer­i­can work­ers and their rights. Over the course of her career, Bessie Mar­golin defend­ed the New Deal’s Ten­nessee Val­ley Author­i­ty, draft­ed the rules for Amer­i­can Mil­i­tary Tri­bunals for Nazi war crimes at Nurem­berg, and became the nation’s first enforcer of the Equal Pay Act and a founder of NOW. Lack­ing female role mod­els, Mar­golin used her brains, beau­ty and South­ern charm to over­come anti­semitism and sex­ism, win­ning respect in a man’s world of law. Fair Labor Lawyer also reveals facets of Mar­golin’s care­ful­ly guard­ed pri­vate life, includ­ing her risky clan­des­tine romances with high-pro­file gov­ern­ment offi­cials who won her heart — but nev­er her hand in marriage.

Discussion Questions