A Zelbovitz descendant in the Civil Rights movement

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Eugene Feldman (1915-1987)

The basis for this story is an obituary of Eugene Feldman in the Chicago Tribune in 1987…

Eugene Pieter Romayn Feldman (1915-1987), one of the founders in the early 1960s of the Du Sable Museum of African American History, served as its director of development and planning for many years. He also wrote many pamphlets on black history. In more recent years, he has served the museum as a researcher and archivist.

A memorial ceremony for Mr. Feldman, who had moved back to Montgomery, Ala., after 26 years in Chicago, was held at the Du Sable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl. He died Nov. 29, 1987 at home in Montgomery.

“I am so glad he came this way,“ said Du Sable Museum founder Margaret Burroughs. “He was a very warm and wonderful human being. Although he was white, he was so well accepted by blacks that I used to hear many people call him `that other colored fellow.` We could not have done it without him.“

Mr. Feldman, a native of Montgomery, received a degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. A staunch civil rights advocate, he felt forced to leave Montgomery when the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross on the lawn of his parents` home.

He arrived in Chicago in 1961 and joined with Margaret and Charles Burroughs in founding the museum long before black history had found its way into American consciousness. He helped that happen by authoring such museum publications as: “Black Power in Old Alabama-The Life and Stirring Times of James T. Rapier,“ “Figures in Black History,“ “An Introduction to Black History,“ “What Should I Tell My Children Who Are White“ and “The Birth and Building of the Du Sable Museum.“

Mr. Feldman wrote for Ebony Magazine, the Negro Digest, the Negro History Bulletin, the Chicago Defender, Sepia Magazine and the Chicago Daily News.

In 1969, he joined with former Better Boys Foundation director Eugene “Useni“ Perkins to found a black studies program for inmates at Pontiac Correctional Institution in conjunction with the Du Sable Museum and Lewis University. They co-edited a book of prisoners` poems.

In 1972, Mr. Feldman headed the museum`s development department and helped raise $1.5 million to renovate the Washington Park Field House and to enable the museum to move into it the next year.

Below is a link to books that Eugene authored or co-authored. Of particular interest is a book that he co-authored with Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.


Eugene Feldman > Sam Feldman > Tzipa Mere Feldman (nee Zelbovich) > Yankel Yehuda Zelbovich > Elya Zelbovich > Nosson Zelbovich