Jule Levin (1913-1994) arrived in Rome, GA in 1940 after marrying Rose Esserman. He eventually became a partner at Esserman’s Department Store. This store was the first in Rome’s central district to hire African American sales staff to serve a racially diverse clientele. During his tenure as the president of the Rome Chamber of Commerce, Levin endeavored to persuade fellow business proprietors that embracing integration would help Rome sidestep the unrest afflicting other cities in the South. Amid a wave of lunch counter sit-ins by local African American students in 1963, Levin played a key role in brokering a non-violent resolution.
Below are parts of two recording made by Jule Levin discussing his an Rose’s involvement in Civil Rights activities in Rome. A transcript of first recording is also provided.
Transcipt of first recording is below.