The Crossing (2000)

The Battle of Trenton, where George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas of 1776, then surprised and captured a Hessian garrison on the morning of December 26th, was one of history’s most decisive battles. The death toll was surprisingly low, even for the late 18th Century. Only 2 Americans and 22 Hessians were killed. Yet Washington’s dramatic move effectively liberated New Jersey, and most of the Northeast, from British rule.

If you’ve read Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and The American Crisis you know why. As large and well-provided as it was, the British Army in 1776 was trying to hold onto a territory that was far too large to be ruled by mere brute force. Unless the British had the support of a decisive majority of people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Washington could maintain his small army indefinitely. That left British General Howe had two equally problematic choices. He could concentrate his army in large garrisons like Rall’s Hessians in Trenton. But that would not only leave them with vulnerable supply lines, and it would make it clear that the English in North America were little more than an occupying army. He could break his army down into smaller formations designed to protect Americans loyal to the British crown. But that, in turn, would require his troops to commandeer supplies from the local farmers. At some point, they would cause so much resentment that they could be defeated by local militias. Washington’s decisive victories at Trenton and Princeton demonstrated that he could a defeat well-trained European army. He didn’t have to win every time — Washington lost the majority of battles he fought against the British — but if he managed to keep his army in the field, the American victory was inevitable.

The Crossing, an A&E film made in 2000 and starring Jeff Daniels, dramatizes the crossing of the Delaware and the victory at Trenton. Is it any good? As cinema, probably not. It’s a low-budget TV movie. Daniels captures little of the authority George Washington could project by his very presence, his skill as a horseman, or his physical courage. He comes off like a put upon corporate executive dealing with cranky subordinates, not one of history’s great military commanders. Based on the novel by Howard Fast, The Crossing also contains a number of historical inaccuracies, and misconceptions. The Hessians at Trenton were not an elite force of “mercenaries.” They were mostly poor German peasants, kidnapped by the Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse-Kassel, and sold as slaves to his friends among the crowned heads of Europe, including King George III. There’s no proof that Horatio Gates, who disapproved of attack, was led out of the camp under guard. As far as I know, he simply feigned illness and joined the Continental Congress in Baltimore. Alexander Hamilton did take part in the Battle of Trenton, but he hadn’t yet become a member of Washington’s general staff. Most importantly of all, where’s the blizzard? Washington crossed the Delaware and marched up to Trenton in the middle of a nor’easter. The only two deaths in the Continental Army at Trenton were due to exposure, not he Hessians. If you’re going to make a patriotic film about the most decisive battle of the American Revolution, why leave out the biggest obstacle Washington’s troops faced?

But I suppose that a low-budget TV movie didn’t have the technical resources to stage a nor’easter. What’s more, a big budget film would have meant big stars, investors, publicity campaigns. The story of the Battle of Trenton might have gotten swallowed up in the special effects. The Crossing, for all it’s flaws, does manage to convey why the Battle of Trenton took place, what it meant, and how Washington pulled it off. While it may contain some poetic license, the dialogue between Washington and his subordinate Colonel John Glover, for example, masterfully stages the tensions between the Virginia plantation owner and his cranky, democratic soldiers from Philadelphia and New England. Did Glover actually insult a host at a dinner party? Who knows, but the real Glover certainly could have made the speech rejecting aristocrat privilege and the Anglican church. When Washington orders Glover to commandeer the Durham boats he would later use to make the crossing, the movie makes it crystal clear that he considers it an option of last resort. Glover demurs. Washington takes responsibility, even though he knows that if the Continental Army makes it a habit of strong arming supplies from local farmers and business owners that the British would eventually win the war.

For the Battle of Trenton itself, director Robert Harmon does a lot on a shoestring budget. Unlike Ted Turner’s Gettysburg, which also starred Jeff Daniels, we don’t really get the sense we’re watching middle-aged reenactors. Perhaps the small scale of The Battle of Trenton made it easy to stage, but the clumsy staged explosions and flying bodies notwithstanding, The Crossing does capture the terror the Hessian soldiers must have felt when they realized they had been outflanked and surprised by Washington’s troops. Whether or not the scene where Alexander Hamilton leads an attack on a Hessian blockhouse is perfectly true to history isn’t important. It captures the brutal quality of close combat, of “going in with cold steel.” The exhilaration Washington must have felt when he realized he had captured Trenton with no deaths — the only two Continental soldiers who died during the attack died of exposure — comes across loud and clear.

Johann Rall is portrayed as a bit of a dandy, a man who takes the time to get dressed and groom himself, even after he’s informed that his camp at Trenton is under attack. There’s really no way of knowing what Rall did in those final hours before he was killed, but the film does convey just how much he was taken by surprise. Contrary to popular mythology, the Hessian soldiers weren’t sleeping off a hangover on the morning of December 26th, 17776, but Rall certainly wasn’t expecting Washington to move against him in force. He hadn’t put out flankers or advanced patrols. Perhaps he had been watching weather reports circa 2014, where every little snowstorm is built up into the monster blizzard that never comes. Maybe he thought the Americans were all out at the supermarket stocking up on bread, toilet paper, and snow shovels?

Final historical note: Colonel John Glover had black soldiers under his command in The Marblehead Mariners. As Princeton historical David Hackett Fischer makes clear in his book Washington’s Crossing, they also staged riots against white racist troops from Virginia. There’s a black soldier in Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s classic painting. But Glover’s black soldiers aren’t portrayed in The Crossing.

33 thoughts on “The Crossing (2000)”

  1. I’m effing freezing, speaking of NJ and cold. Eek. I wonder how cold it was at Trenton during that battle…

    I recently went on a walking tour of a Methodist revivalist-founded town in NJ. It piqued some of the curiosity I’ve had about the schism, if that was what it really was, between the Anglicans and the Episcopalians, and about the differences between the various sects of protestants generally. Having been raised a catholic I gave these issues little thought, although I’ve noticed the Episcopalians really are snottier and more sanctimonious on average than, say, the Presbyterians. Ever read the 50’s book The Status Seekers? It located Westfield as the only WASP bastion that was both ‘high status’ and Presbyterian, as opposed to Episcopalian. The Methodist pastor in the town I toured seemed to think the WASP’s generally got along professionally, while segregating in their social lives, which were in the early 1900’s often church-dominated.

    Anyway, the Episcopalians in Summit are at times harder to take than the Presbyterians in Westfield, who by and large are also much less indulgent of anti-white, a force you refuse to acknowledge, but whatever. I have never heard of this alleged challenge by black continental army soldiers to white southern soldiers. I studied basic American history under Paul Clemons at RU, who chaired the entire department of history for some time there. No mention was made of black soldiers in the American Revolution, and for a survey class American History I it was pretty rigorous, but still just a survey of half of US history.

      1. Far more fought for the British.

        Slave Nation is a ‘delusional’ polemic written by Rutgers jews about how the American Revolution was fought to ensure that the institution of slavery would remain intact in the South:

        What’s especially comical about this itinerant jew paranoia, is that the American Revolution was sparked in the North, and, same northerners who according to these jews established independence from the British proceeded to declare America’s bloodiest war on same southerners less than a century later amidst a conflict over, among other things, slavery and it’s legacy. I bet you didn’t know that there were more jewish southern planters proportionally than there were WASPS!

        Still funnier are the details in my link above proving that the british anti-slavery sentiment disappeared upon the end of the war.

        Why did the jews come to this country if they hated europeans/gentiles? Why’d they invade Europe to begin with? Surely you’re not so ignorant as to believe the ‘we were abducted into Europe’ story most jews still tell, Stanley?

        1. And the jews controlled most of the transatlantic slave trade. Also noteworthy is how few jews fought in any of America’s wars. Somehow their numbers are huge when it comes time to demand victim shekels but scant when it’s time to fight and carry their share of the load.

          My great great grandfather jumped off the boat from Ireland, probably in NYC’s draft riots, and was conscripted to fight for the Union Army.

          1. Many Jews fought for the American cause during the revolution. In any case, Jews were few in number in those days. Also, and with regards to your statement about the slave trade, Jews did participate, this is true, but no more than other cultures. Europeans, in particular, started the trade and outnumbered Jews in this practice. Not to mention that the Arabs did much worse to blacks in their slave trade. Where the Bible at least taught Christians to treat their slaves with respect, the Qur’an had no such restrictions. Not to mention that all the abolitionist were Christians who used the Bible to abolish both slavery and the slave trade. See William Wilberforce and the movie, Amazing Grace. It’s almost as if the Bible itself wanted to wean people away from slavery, eventually.

        2. Gerald Horne isn’t Jewish. He’s black. And he makes a very sustained, very tight argument. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says but to classify his argument as “Jewish paranoia” is just bizarre.

          The idea that British anti-slavery disappeared after the American Revolution is also quite bizarre. There was a huge anti-slavery movement in Britain after 1782, mainly organized by evangelical Christians. In fact, it was just getting going.

          Remember this guy?

          The idea that slavery was behind the American Revolution is no conspiracy by “Rutgers Jews.” It’s been a pretty mainstream argument for a long time. Once again, I don’t necessarily agree that it was the primary cause. But surely, you can’t deny the argument made by historians like Edmund S. Morgan on Virginia being both a seat of democracy AND a seat of the slave trade.

          1. Stanley, I accused the authors of Slave Nation of jew paranoia. Or is it bizarre to call jews jews?! Your characterization of jew and black paranoia re motive for revolution as ‘mainstream’ is bizarre, however. Are you forgetting that abolition and American independence were birthed in the North?!

            Also, if you actually read my first link, you’d see that upon the end of fighting during the Revolution the British shifted their attitudes towards black soldiers dramatically. I actually found the depiction of black freedom fighters having their limbs hacked off while attempting to board fleeing british vessels tragic and iconic, if accurate.

            1. There were very few Jews in the United States in 1776 so I’m not sure why they’re relevant to this discussion.

              The blacks who fought under John Glover were mostly free blacks from Massachusetts. I can understand why so many black slaves would have seen the British as liberators.

              Yes, the British stabbed them in the back.

              But note also, the British governor of New York in 1783 refused to turn over black slaves to their American owners. Good for him.


              American Independence was very pointedly a coalition of north and south. That coalition simply didn’t hold after the Mexican war.

        3. Solstice- Get a grip! Jews left the Iberian peninsula during the Inquisition, and migrated to England, Greece, Italy, and Eastern Europe. Jews didn’t “invade” Europe, they were driven out of Spain. As far as the myth that there were more Jewish slaveowners than non-Jewish slaveowners, can you seriously be suggesting this at a time in US history when Jews constituted a minuscule portion of the US population?

          FYI, does the name Chaym Solomon ring a bell? He was one of the financiers of the American revolution. Most Jews fought on the side of the colonialists or supported them.

          “Before and during the American Revolutionary War the Jews had representatives of their faith upon both sides of the controversy, though the majority joined the colonial side. On the Non-Importation Agreement of 1769 the names of not less than five Jews are found; this is also the case with respect to other agreements of a similar nature. The outbreak of the Revolutionary War dissolved the congregation in New York; and upon the eve of the British occupancy of the town the majority of the congregation, headed by Gershom Mendes Seixas, took all the belongings of the synagogue and removed to Philadelphia, where they established the first regular congregation, the Mickvé Israel, in 1782. The small number who remained in New York occasionally held services in the synagogue. Most of those that left for Philadelphia returned to New York after the war. Haym Solomon or (Salomon), (1740–1785) was possibly the prime financier of the American side during the American War of Independence against Great Britain. He was born in Prussia/Poland and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

          Though the Jews participated prominently in the events leading up to the Revolution, it would appear that even in the midst of absorbing political discussions they were able, in 1774, to start another congregation. They were not all, however, to be found on the colonial side during the war, for Mordecai Sheftall, Levi Sheftall, Philip Jacob Cohen, Philip Minis, and Sheftall Sheftall were in the first days of the Revolution disqualified by the authorities from holding any office of trust in the province because of the pronounced revolutionary ideas which they advocated. The community was dispersed during the Revolution, but many Jews returned immediately after the close of the war.”

  2. re: “What’s especially comical about this itinerant jew paranoia, is that the American Revolution was sparked in the North, and, same northerners who according to these jews established independence from the British proceeded to declare America’s bloodiest war on same southerners less than a century later amidst a conflict over, among other things, slavery and it’s legacy.”

    What’s so odd about that? Revolutions are usually made up of coalitions.

    What was the Cultural Revolution in China about? Capitalists/Nationals joined Communists in fighting the Japanese. In the 1960s, Mao tried to pre-empt what he knew would be the coming capitalist restoration.

    Capitalism was restored in the 1980s.

    The American Revolution was a coalition of northern capitalists/northern petty bourgeoisie/southern planters.

    In 1861, the northern petty bourgeoisie and German immigrant farmers in the west made a coalition with the big northern capitalists against the slave power. In 1876, big northern capitalists realigned with white supremacy against the northern radical left and southern blacks.

    Coalitions that make revolutions often shift radically in the space of months, as Marx talks about in one of his classics.

  3. Well, if there was indeed a coalition (duh) moving the Americans into war, then how can the jews claim the new American nation was somehow based on perhaps one element who may have been interested in maintaining slavery? Their interpretation is fetishistic at best, self serving lunacy at worst, although the two blend together easily. In fairness, not all jews would agree with the Blumrosens’ projections…er, interpretations.

    “In 1876, big northern capitalists realigned with white supremacy against the northern radical left and southern blacks.”

    Source, if you would. One glaring distortion in that assertion is ‘white supremacy.’ Perhaps you mean supremacy of the rich, but surely not of whites.

    I think you should check out Liberty Hall Museum, right across the street from Kean College or University or whatever. It’s the ancestral home of first the Livingston family, then the Keans: I knew a PhD student at RU who went and said it was like a ‘mini Williamsburg.’

  4. Let’s get off “Jews.” I cited Gerald Horne, who’s black, and Edmund S. Morgan, who, as far as I know, isn’t Jewish.

    I’m sure you know that in the (highly disputed) election of 1876 the Republican Party made a deal with Southern Democrats.

    The Republicans would get the White House. In exchange, the federal government would withdraw its troops from the South and allow the restoration of white supremacy.

    And no. WHITE supremacy, not supremacy by the right. The south after 1876 had a complex set of LAWS depriving blacks of their citizenship. The northern ruling class needed white supremacy. So they broke up the old coalition with Northern radicals and the Republican Party went from being the very liberal party of Lincoln and Seward to being the party of capitalists.

    1. T.O. Allen would say it was just the supremacy of the rich. Only difference in the South was that their classism hid behind false dichotomies of ‘white’ and ‘colored.’ You play the dupe when you deny this, Stanley.

      It’s annoying that you bring up the Slave Nation hypothesis and then pretend jews have nothing to do with it. They’re it’s main purveyors.

      While I was on the topic of housing, I’ll add that I’m surprised you’ve ignored the Tent City movement coming out of Lakewood, NJ. Or is the Police State only relevant when it’s allegedly targeting blacks? The evil WASP Minister Steve Brigham and the atheist libertarian Alex Libman have been waging a brave and grandstand-free war against NJ’s Police State tyranny, and it’s partner in abusive parenting, the psych system. Where better to make such a stand than Jersey?

      1. Nope. There were never laws governing who working class whites in the north or south could marry, where they could live, or denying them the vote.

          1. I’m not denying that working class whites in the north were treated like shit.

            But they did not, like blacks in the south, live under a one-party, totalitarian state dedicated to keeping them second class citizens.

            You fail to see the real connection. Northern capitalists needed white supremacy in order to keep part of the United States (the south) free from unions. Unlike in Pennsylvania or Michigan, they could always call out the Klan to smash any union in Alabama or Mississippi. Those “black codes” could have just as easily been called “cheap labor codes.”

            Sure it was tough in the north. But northern whites had rights. Southern blacks didn’t.

            1. “But they did not, like blacks in the south, live under a one-party, totalitarian state dedicated to keeping them second class citizens.”

              Sure they did, and that ‘sure’ goes for the white southerners even more than the northern ones.

              But I have to go for now, as I’ve used up my lollygagging-on-the-net time allotment for this Sunday.

              1. Really? My great grandfather was a dirt poor Polish immigrant in NE Pennsylvania who went into the mines at age 12. But when he turned 18 he could vote for anybody he wanted. There were no literacy tests. There were no separate water fountains. He didn’t get lynched for whistling at white women.

                I know all about the Homestead Strike and the massacres that took place in Colorado and West Virginian. But those kinds of massacres happened every week without comment against blacks in the south.

                When white workers in the North finally won their rights in the 1930s, Roosevelt, who had the keep the southern Democrats in line, segregated the New Deal. My grandparents had access to social services blacks never did. The GI Bill favored whites. All white settlements like Levittown didn’t sell to blacks or Jews.

                There were even “Gentleman’s Agreements” in the north part of Westfield until the 1970s. That’s why Westfield south of the train station is Jewish and Irish but WASP and German north of the train station.

                This stuff is real. It’s silly to deny or to try to reduce it solely to class.

              2. I really gotta go for now, but right off the bat you’re nuts. My dad’s irish mother and friends somehow managed to live on the middle class north side of Westfield in the 50’s.

                Oh Stanley.

              3. In October 2013, I listened to a Tom Hartmann broadcast about the land grant colleges, and all of the many ways that white, European settlers who colonized the West were aided by the federal government. This included setting up land grant colleges, with free or low-cost tuition. Washington actually set up some of these programs. I recently saw a tape of a presentation given by Martin Luther King on the same subject- the many way that the government aided white farmers and the white working class. The point is that the “bootstrap theory” of blaming black people for their poverty and lack of educational advancement is dependent upon a belief in mythology- the myth that white people somehow had no assistance, no social supports in advancing themselves economically from colonial times through the 20th century, when such was not the case.

                A notable example of the social support and approbation given to white people but denied to black people was the GI bill that guaranteed home ownership and an education to GI’s returning from WWII. African Americans, who served their country as heroically (such as the Tuskeegee airmen), did not gain anywhere near the benefits given to white soldiers

                Historically, it was the bitterness and anger at this discrepancy in treatment, and the return to life in apartheid America after WWII, that deepened the discontent of black people in America, and gave rise to the Civil Rights movement.

  5. re: “I think you should check out Liberty Hall Museum”

    A bit of Polish American chauvinism.

    Liberty Hall was, at one time, owned by a Polish American who visited George Washington at Mount Vernon.

    Susan Livingston changed the name of Liberty Hall to Ursino, the name of her Polish second husband Count Julian Niemcewicz’s Polish estate (Niemcewicz had returned to Poland after Napoleon’s successful campaigns, having initially been exiled due to his role in unsuccessfully fighting for independence from the Russians.)

    He savaged Washington over slavery.

    In regard to shelter, Washington’s treatment of his fellow men and women was just as bad. Consistent with the aforementioned scholar’s comment that Washington’s black workforce was “miserably housed… [in] a very harsh place” (17) is the observation of Julian Niemcewicz, a Polish poet who resided for two weeks in 1798 at Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and who described the living conditions of many of the enslaved population:

    We entered some negroes’ huts, for their habitations cannot be called houses. They are far more miserable than the poorest of the cottages of our peasants. The husband and his wife sleep on a miserable bed, the children on the floor. A very poor chimney, a little kitchen furniture stands amid this misery — a teakettle and cups. A boy about fifteen was lying on the floor with an attack of dreadful convulsions… They receive a Washington’s treatment, or more precisely his mistreatment, of his fellow men and women went beyond mere stinginess in barely providing food, clothing, and shelter. It applied as well to his disdain for the human worth of his enslaved black laborers as evidenced by his reference to them as “a Species of Property,” very much as he described animals like his dogs and horses. (19) As another Washington authority noted, “Most of the slaves who worked his [i.e., Washington’s] farms he treated as cattle and referred to only by their first names.” (Parentheses added.) (20)

    1. A couple of the regular tour guides at Liberty Hall were writing a screenplay about him, last I heard. There’s a film festival down in Williamsburg, BTW, which also tries to help budding filmmakers who visit colonial America as their subject matter, among other topics. Niemcewicz led a very interesting life, that’s for sure, even well before he came to America, although he had no problem living in quite the high style in Ursino while lambasting American leaders. Or was his compassion for the poor oppressed southern black a screen for his contempt for northern white peasants?


      I consider your ignorance of NJ’s fight against corporatist tyranny either a choice based on desire for notoriety and fame, or, denial of the reality of jewish orchestrations of said tyranny, as Tent City in Lakewood originated from the hideous exploitations of Lakewood’s jews.

      1. Sadly Niemcewicz was kind of an anti-Semite.

        Niemcewicz’s 1817 pamphlet Rok 3333 czyli sen niesłychany (The Year 3333, or an Incredible Dream), first published posthumously in 1858, describes a Poland transformed into a sinister Judeo-Polonia. The pamphlet has been described as “the first Polish work to develop on a large scale the concept of an organized Jewish conspiracy directly threatening the existing social structure.”

        Jews, among others (Italians, Irish, WASPS, Germans, Hispanics) make up the New Jersey corporatist ruling class.

        Why single out Jews?

  6. re: I really gotta go for now, but right off the bat you’re nuts. My dad’s irish mother and friends somehow managed to live on the middle class north side of Westfield in the 50’s.

    I’m sure he did. But how many blacks live in Westfield, Cranford, Summit? Segregation is real.

    And what happened in 2008 after the sub prime crash? The white towns in Union county got richer. The black towns got their tax base gutted.

    And why now are towns like Clark and Kenilworth tearing down tiny post war capes, putting up McMansions, and charging middle class whites (who don’t want to live in black towns) twice what these houses are worth? It’s going to be real poetic justice when those crap McMansions fall apart in 20 years.

    Racism has made them suckers. Instead of protesting the banks they’re herding themselves into all white cages to be slaughtered like sheep.

    You claim to be against corporatism? Then why defend the (mostly white) banksters who are profiting off of it at the expense of blacks?

    1. Actually, a sizeable number of blacks graduated in my father’s Westfield Highschool class. And guess what? The whites and blacks managed to co-exist pretty peacefully before the jews invaded. Imagine that…

      No, Stanley. The ‘white towns’ in Union County got more jewy, and italian, even more than they got richer…

      Or are you unfamiliar with the town of Springfield and it’s dubious legacy?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. re: “The whites and blacks managed to co-exist pretty peacefully before the jews invaded. ”

        Yeah. There was a small black community (Paul Robeson’s father) in Westfield.

        But you seem to be admitting there were restrictive anti-Jewish covenants. Jews “invaded?”

        But the point is that now, all whites (Jews, WASPS, Italians) have come together to screw over blacks. This isn’t paranoia. The hyper-segregation of Union County has hurt everybody. It’s led to uneven development.

        Whites get ripped off for crap McMansions in Clark. Blacks watch their tax base go to shit.

        Why defend this corrupt system? Why make up a fiction that scapegoats Jews in order to *avoid* confronting the corrupt system you live under?

      2. Interesting bit of trivia. Paul Robeson wasn’t allowed to go to Westfield High School so he had to travel all the way to Sommerville. Westfield High School turned down the man who would have been the greatest football player in their history JUST BECAUSE HE WAS BLACK.

        At age nine, Robeson’s family moved to Westfield, New Jersey, a town that discouraged blacks from even attending high school. Despite this obstacle, Paul and three of his siblings graduated from Sommerville High School. In high school, Paul Robeson stood out academically as well as socially. He joined the glee club and the oratory club, served as sports editor for the school’s monthly newspaper, the Valkyrie, and played halfback on the football team.

        After graduating in 1915, Robeson attended Rutgers University in New Jersey. He paid his way through this prestigious, and predominantly white, institution with scholarships, work, and the assistance of special benefactors, and he continued to excel in every arena. He played a number of spring and fall sports, such as baseball and track, which earned him 15 varsity letters.

        Football, however, was the sport that Robeson was most recognized for. He was named All- American twice and was chronicled in the New York Age, the Chicago Defender, and the Philadelphia Tribune. Robeson also became a member of the oldest black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and continued to excel academically on the Rutgers debate team and in the Philoclean Literary Society. In 1918, he suspended some of his extracurricular activities to join the Student Army Training Corps where he, unlike most blacks, was not required to undergo officer training at a segregated center. He was allowed to train on campus with the other white Rutgers cadets.

      3. @ Solstice- You would not have a shred of the benefits you totally take for granted had it not been for the radical and revolutionary American Jews who were active in the American labor movement. It was Jewish 15 year old girls who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, that spurred 3 decades of massive reforms, and the formation of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, of which my grandmother was a proud member, having worked in the sweatshops. The socialist and communist-led unions, which later formed into the CIO, fought for the end to child labor, the end to the 7-day work week, and the end to forced overtime. They fought for decent work conditions for all Americans, which you and your family have benefitted from.

        My mother grew up in the Bronx, & her best friend was Esther Epstein. Her brother, Abraham Epstein, a communist who fought for conditions for working people across America, was the person who invented the Social Security system. Abraham’s son, Pierre Epstein, whom I plan on having dinner with this year, has written about Abraham’s legacy, and how the Social Security system’s invention came to be attributed to Frances Perkins and others, when it was Epstein’s idea.

        My mother’s other friends, Edith & Fern Kirkman, were the daughters of a Jewish woman and a British labor leader, who was one of the founders of IBEW, a union my dad belonged to.

        And I’m proud that my father was in London as a Warrant Officer defending this country during the blitzkrieg. And to think he risked being blown up for arrogant little noxious anti-Semites such as yourself.

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