Friday, January 17, 2014

Tammany Heroes: Wagner and Gavagan

Bob Wagner was born an ordinary German, married Irish and was buried Catholic.  He fathered Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, giving workers the right to organize and a mayor who championed fair housing, minority hiring and the City University.  Very much the Wagners' work reflected the Papal Encyclical Rerum Novarm concerning social responsibility and justice.

Wagner also lobbied for rescuing Jewish children from Hitler and the Tuskegee Airmen's right to fly, and along with Harlem Congressman Joseph Gavagan and their NAACP ally Walter White waged a determined but ultimately futile campaign to pass anti-lynching legislation.

My grandfather was proud to call them friend and to have convinced Wagner to run for the US Senate.