Rooted in History
In 1927, leaders from different faiths refused to be bystanders in the face of hatred, intolerance, bigotry, fear and deeply embedded prejudice. At this time, the Ku Klux Klan was active in most areas across the country, directing vicious bigotry towards Catholics, Jews, blacks and “foreigners.”
Acknowledging the need for action, leaders including Teddy Roosevelt, Benjamin Cardozo, Jane Addams, and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, created The National Conference for Christians and Jews – NCCJ. They mobilized citizens against the forces of violence, ignorance and exclusion, and contributed significantly to an expanded definition of “who is an American.”
These leaders dedicated the organization to bringing diverse people together to address interfaith divisions. Several years later NCCJ changed their name to the National Conference for Community & Justice and expanded its work to include all issues of social justice, including race, class, gender equity, sexual orientation and the rights of people with different abilities.
In the 1950s, the NCCJ began its award-winning residential youth leadership institute, the ANYTOWN program and Anytown was born in Arizona.