On the Road, with Nazis
Steve Brand, a New York filmmaker, sent out a link yesterday to this piece in The New York Times:
Several years before, the Missouri Department of Transportation had lost a long legal battle to try and prevent the Ku Klux Klan from adopting a highway on freedom-of-speech grounds. So the state decided to counter the Nazi group’s speech with more speech, in the form of another roadside sign. Officials are renaming the stretch of highway near Springfield that the organization cleans after Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who fled Nazi Germany and became a prominent Jewish theologian and civil rights advocate in the United States.
One Neo-Nazi quoted in the piece calls the action of the Missouri Department of Transportation “childish.” This from a person with a home-made sheet costume and pals who call themselves Wizards.
Heschel is perhaps best known as the man second from the right of Martin Luther King in famous photos of the march through Selma, Alabama at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. On that occasion, he was quoted telling reporters he was “praying with his feet.”
“It’s nice to see that Rabbi Heschel’s lifelong struggle against all forms of bigotry and discrimination continues on the roads of Missouri,” Brand told me. “I’ve often been surprised that there has yet to be a street in NYC — where he spent nearly half his life — named for him.”
Nazi Alert: Can you please adopt Broadway or Central Park West so we can get the Department of Transportation to name it for Heschel? I mean, if you’re not too busy.