Alice Sparberg Alexiou

A Jewish Co-ed in North Carolina, 1941

The state making news for gender bias in 2016 is staying in character. Seventy-five years ago, anti-Semitism was a preferred prejudice in North Carolina.

One September day in 1941, Esther Braun, a tiny 19-year-old with a shock of curly black hair, daughter of Jewish immigrants, got off a train in Chapel Hill. This was her first time away from home — a shabby New York neighborhood of small brick two-family houses and bungalows on Queens’ Rockaway Peninsula. After two years studying chemistry at Brooklyn College, she was going to complete her degree at the University of North Carolina.

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