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McHistory: Sigmund Livingston And The Anti-Defamation League

Must Men Hate, by Sigmund Livingston

Bloomington-Normal has a long tradition of resisting prejudice.

In 1913, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded in Bloomington to stop the defamation of Jewish people by appealing to minds, morals, and the law. Sigmund Livingston served as its first director.

Livingston was born in Germany in 1872, and by the age of 10, his family had immigrated to Bloomington where the German Jewish population were having a major influence on the community through the retail and clothing trade.

Livingston attained a law degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1894 and began practicing law in Bloomington, before establishing himself in the Livingston Building on the corner of Main and Washington streets in downtown Bloomington.

In 1908, Livingston headed a national standing committee with the goal of rooting out anti-Semitism in American popular culture. In his book "Must Men Hate?" he wrote “I have an abiding faith that religious prejudice and mass hatred will be vanquished in time by reason and by truth.”

McHistory is a co-production of WGLT and the McLean County Museum of History. This episode features Bill Kemp and Dean Brown.

Ariele Jones is WGLT's assistant program director and host of Morning Edition, Highway 309, and Center Stage.
WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.