Ralph Fertig papers
The Ralph Fertig papers, 1929-2014, consist of essays, correspondence, research files, clippings, photographs, and USC School of Social Work faculty and student records created and collected by Fertig during his career as a social worker, civil rights lawyer, activist, and educator. The majority of the early material (1940s through 1970s) in this collection comprise essays and personal narratives that Fertig authored along with clippings that he collected--many featuring Fertig's work as a social worker, student, and activist in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and, beginning in the early 1970s, Los Angeles. Fertig's papers created in the 1980s and 1990s--during the time that he was working as a lawyer and federal administrative judge--focus more on the political organizations and initiatives that he participated in and sometimes led. Organizations with significant amounts of documentation in these papers include the Southern California Americans for Democratic Action (SCADA), Humanitarian Law Project, and University Synagogue. Most of the material created after 2002 relates to Fertig's teaching and research at the USC School of Social Work, including syllabi, faculty meeting minutes, student work, lecture material, and policy and orientation guides. Material relating to the Freedom Riders movement appears in various time periods in this collection, from clippings and personal narratives about the initial Freedom Rides in 1961 to Fertig's correspondence and contact directories documenting his efforts to organize members of the movement later in their careers.
- 1929 - 2014
- Majority of material found within 1948 - 2009
- Fertig, Ralph D. (Person)
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COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.
Conditions Governing Use
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
Ralph D. Fertig, Professor at the USC School of Social Work from 2002 to 2016, has worked toward social justice as a civil rights lawyer, social worker, federal administrative judge, and activist. Fertig received a BA from the University of Chicago in 1950 and an MA in Sociology from Columbia University in 1952. During the 1950s and 1960s, Fertig worked for community organizations in Chicago and Washington, D.C., such as the Hyde Park Youth Project and the Metropolitan Washington Planning and Housing Association. During this time, Fertig was also committed to the Civil Rights Movement, marching with Martin Luther King Jr., working with Bayard Rustin on the Leadership Council on Civil Rights, and participating in the Freedom Riders movement. In 1961, while demonstrating in Alabama as a Freedom Rider, Fertig was arrested for disturbing the peace and beaten--almost fatally--by white inmates in the Dallas County jail.
In the 1970s, Fertig moved to Los Angeles and returned to school for a joint program in law and urban planning--receiving his JD from the UCLA School of Law in 1979. Between his JD and the start of his teaching career at USC, Fertig managed a private law practice, served as Supervising Trial Attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and acted as Federal Administrative Judge (Civil Rights) in the late 1990s. Fertig also headed various social justice initiatives during this time, serving as president to both the Southern California Americans for Democratic Action (SCADA) and the Humanitarian Law Project. Later, Fertig acted as Chairman of the Social Justice Committee of the University Synagogue in Los Angeles and joined the board of the Progressive Jewish Alliance.
He is a prolific author, writing plays, poetry, and essays, as well as the books Love and Liberation: When the Jews Tore Down the Ghetto Walls (sole author) and 100 Years of Social Work at USC 1906-2006: A History in Words and Pictures (co-author).
Fertig retired from USC in 2016 as an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work. During his teaching career, Fertig was known for mobilizing his students to campaign for public policies for housing the homeless in Los Angeles, among many other initiatives.
26.69 Linear Feet (42 boxes and 1 oversize folder)
Language of Materials
Ralph Fertig, former Associate Professor in the USC School of Social Work, has worked toward social justice as a civil rights lawyer, social worker, federal administrative judge, and activist. His papers consist of his authored essays and personal narratives, collected clippings, correspondence and institutional records from political organizations and initiatives that he led (includeing Southern California Americans for Democratic Action, Humanitarian Law Project, and University Synagogue), and educational and reference materials held in his USC School of Social Work office. The papers also reflect Fertig's lifelong participation in the Freedom Riders movement, from clippings and personal narratives about the initial Freedom Rides in 1961 to Fertig's correspondence, contact directories, and a Freedom Riders Day poster documenting his efforts to organize members of the movement later in their careers.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Ralph Fertig, July 19, 2016.
Fertig donated these papers in two installments. The first part of the collection came from his home in 2009 and the second part came from Fertig’s USC School of Social Work office when he retired in 2016. The papers that came from Fertig’s home were originally arranged chronologically and each series has generally been organized to maintain this arrangement. The papers that came from his USC office are described under the "USC School of Social Work" series, which is not arranged chronologically as this part of the collection was not chronologically organized when donated.
- Americans for Democratic Action. Southern California Chapter -- Archives
- Civil rights lawyers -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
- Fertig, Ralph D. -- Archives
- Freedom Rides, 1961 -- Archival resources
- Human rights advocacy -- Archival resources
- Humanitarian Law Project -- Archives
- Schools of social work -- Faculty -- Archival resources
- Social work education -- Law and legislation -- Archival resources
- Social workers -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
- University Synagogue. Social Justice Committee -- Archives
- University of Southern California. School of Social Work -- Faculty
- University of Southern California. School of Social Work -- Students
- Finding aid for the Ralph Fertig papers
- Bo Doub
- 2017 June
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2020 September: Finding aid updated by Bo Doub to include accrual of additional materials (housed in box nos. 37-42).
Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States