Tom Kahn and the Fight for Democracy: A Political Portrait and Personal Recollection

Editor’s Note: The names of Tom Kahn and Rachelle Horowitz should be better known than they are. Civil rights leader John Lewis certainly knew them. Recalling how the 1963 March on Washington was organised he said,‘I remember this young lady, Rachelle Horowitz, who worked under Bayard [Rustin], and Rachelle, you could call her at three o’clock in the morning, and say, “Rachelle, how many buses are coming from New York? How many trains coming out of the south? How many buses coming from Philadelphia? How many planes coming from California?” and she could tell you because Rachelle Horowitz and Bayard Rustin worked so closely together. They put that thing together.’ There were compensations, though. Activist Joyce Ladner, who shared Rachelle Horowitz’s one bedroom apartment that summer, recalled, ‘There were nights when I came in from the office exhausted and ready to sleep on the sofa, only to find that I had to wait until Bobby Dylan finished playing his guitar and trying out new songs he was working on before I could claim my bed.’

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