Magazine August 16, 2021, Issue

Attention Must Be Paid

State Street in Chicago, Ill., February 1, 2011 (John Gress/Reuters)

I am thinking of my father quite a bit lately. He grew up on the West Side of Chicago, raised poor by a single, immigrant mother, in the Depression. He enlisted right after Pearl Harbor and served in the Army in World War II. After the War, he bluffed his way, under the Jewish quota, into Northwestern law school, and graduated first in his class. He then spent 40 years as a labor lawyer, representing the Film Technicians, the Building Trades Unions, and a lot of other workers.

I broke out of, or was excused from, the middle-class existence he’d achieved for …

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