Harry W. Freeman

1886 - 1959

The Freeman Center has been named after Harry W. Freeman. Freeman was a Judaic scholar, fluent in six languages, and a brilliant attorney. He was a defender of the poor and the disadvantaged against the forces that kept them powerless.

With the late Judge Dannenbaum, he crusaded against white slavery and successfully eliminated it in the Galveston area. Believing that discrimination in the job market led poor women into prostitution, Freeman demanded equal pay for equal work for women forty years before the Feminist Movement was founded. Freeman called for sex education in the schools fifty years before it became generally accepted.

Freeman successfully argued the case (SMITH VS. THE STATE OF TEXAS, 1940) before the U.S Supreme Courts which won for Afro-Americans the right to be on Texas Grand Juries, for which they had been excluded for 200 years.

He tried to arouse the Jewish community against the evils of the Nazis back in the 30's, travelling and speaking all across the state. Along with the late Louis A. Freed, Freeman founded the first chapter of the Zionist Organization of America in Houston. He died in 1959.

The Freeman Center is a fitting memorial to one of the giants of early Texas Jewish history.

Bernard J. Shapiro, speaking of Freeman, said:

"He was my inspiration in many ways: he taught me to love books, poetry, music, and chess and encouraged me to develop my writing skills. Freeman was a Judaic scholar, brilliant attorney, champion of the poor, and defender of his beloved Am Yisrael. He was my inspiration in many areas, but most of all I thank him for teaching me the valuable lessons of our people's unique role in history."

............................... Bernard J. Shapiro, Executive Director

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