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Mont (Max) Collection
URB.MM  
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  • Biographical Information:
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Conditions Governing Access:
  • Conditions Governing Use:
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • General
  • Preferred Citation:
  • Processing Information:

  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Max Mont Collection
    Creator: Mont, Max, 1917-
    Identifier/Call Number: URB.MM
    Extent: 9.66 linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1941-1980
    Abstract: Max Mont was the West Coast Executive Director of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), which serves as a representative body for working persons from the Jewish community by promoting human rights and assisting organized labor in its relations within the community and with other minority groups. As a JLC officer, Max Mont made himself available to other allied organizations to serve in various capacities, such as professional organizer, coordinator, advisor, public relations director and spokesperson. The Max Mont Collection provides documentation on Mr. Mont's various personal and organizational activities in support of open housing for minorities and the poor, state civil rights legislation, integration of Los Angeles public schools, and the farm workers movement.
    Language of Material: English

    Biographical Information:

    Max Mont was the West Coast Executive Director of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) which serves as a representative body for working persons from the Jewish community by promoting human rights and assisting organized labor in its relations within the community and with other minority groups. The Committee actively involves itself with numerous issues pertaining to civil rights legislation, union representation of workers, improved working conditions, and economic and social assistance to the poor and minorities. Max Mont was a JLC officer who made himself available to other allied organizations and served in various capacities, such as professional organizer, coordinator, advisor, public relations director and spokesperson.
    As a JLC field representative during the 1950s, Mr. Mont was active in lobbying and campaigning for public-supported housing, extension of old age assistance to the foreign born, creation of apprenticeship and training programs for minorities, and the establishment of a state Fair Employment Practices Commission. He was appointed the West Coast Executive Director of the Jewish Labor Committee in 1960, succeeding William L. Becker who became Governor Edmund G. Brown's aide on human relations and civil rights. During the same year, Mont was also elected Executive Secretary of the California Committee for Fair Practices (CCFP), a coordinating body of various civil rights groups lobbying for state legislation.
    Maintaining close ties with Becker in the Governor's office, Mont and the CCFP successfully lobbied for passage of the Rumford Fair Housing Act of 1963, which outlawed discrimination in the sale or rental of housing on grounds of race and religion. When the California Real Estate Association (CREA) proposed a voter initiative in November 1963 to repeal the Rumford Act, the CCFP unsuccessfully campaigned to keep the initiative from gaining the requisite number of signatures to become a ballot measure. The initiative was placed on the November 1964 election ballot as Proposition 14, and became one of the most hotly contested political issues in California politics in the 1960s. Mr. Mont then became the Southern California campaign coordinator for Californians Against Proposition 14; a special election committee appointed by Governor Brown; originally called Californians for Fair Housing, which led an unsuccessful campaign to defeat the initiative. After the voters passed Proposition 14, the CCFP continued the battle by contesting its constitutionality in the courts. In 1966, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the proposition was indeed unconstitutional on the grounds that it sought to nullify a California state law which provided protection for rights already granted by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments.
    Max Mont fought for nondiscrimination in local employment and housing by participating in community organizations and agencies which aided minorities and the poor in exercising their rights and in seeking government assistance. Among these groups were the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission and the Community Relations Conference of Southern California (CRCSC). Both groups fostered better relations among ethnic groups and neighborhoods, investigated complaints of discrimination, and sponsored educational programs and conferences devoted to social issues involving the status of minorities in the community.
    CRCSC in particular aided minority groups in finding suitable housing within the local community, and lobbied for public‑supported housing. It operated the Housing Opportunities Center (of which Max Mont served on the Board of Directors during the early 1970s) which built, purchased and managed several housing projects within low‑income areas of Los Angeles. Due to his community activism, Max Mont was later appointed in 1976 to the Los Angeles Board of Education's Community Advisory Committee for School Integration (CACSI) which was assigned the responsibility of developing an initial school integration plan for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
    Another major issue in which Max Mont and the Jewish Labor Committee became active was the plight of California farm workers. Between 1961 and 1968, Mr. Mont served as Secretary of the Emergency Committee to Aid Farm Workers (ECAFW), an activist group which successfully lobbied for the discontinuance of the Bracero or foreign farm labor program under Public Law 78, which operated three federally‑funded antipoverty projects that provided counseling, basic educational skills and training to domestic farm workers. During 1965, acting as a representative of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL‑CIO, Mr. Mont played a key role as negotiator between wine/grape growers of the Coachella Valley and striking farm workers represented by the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) led by Cesar Chavez and the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), AFL‑CIO, led by Al Green. The success of these negotiations resulted in the first union contracts for farm workers in California. NFWA and AWOC merged in 1967 to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) under Chavez's leadership.
    ECAFW disbanded in 1968, deciding to directly support farm workers within their own movement to gain union representation and the right to collective bargaining. Mr. Mont then actively served as a Los Angeles area boycott coordinator for the United Farm Workers Union strike and boycott against non‑union California table grapes and lettuce. In this capacity, he worked closely with the UFWOC, the California Migrant Ministry and the Interfaith Committee to Aid Farm Workers. He was especially influential in educating the Jewish community about the plight of farm workers which ultimately led to non‑union grapes being banned from ceremonial use for religious holidays by the Massachusetts and Southern California Boards of Rabbis.
    Max Mont passed away in December 1991 and the age of 74. At the time of his death, he was still acting as executive director of the Jewish Labor Committee.

    Scope and Contents

    The Max Mont Collection provides documentation on Mr. Mont's various personal and organizational activities in support of open housing for minorities and the poor, state civil rights legislation, integration of Los Angeles public schools, and the farm workers movement. The collection is composed primarily of subject files of Max Mont and the several organizations in which he served. The files contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, leaflets, pamphlets, position statements, legal briefs, documentary transcripts, rosters, budgets, and testimony, as well as administrative, publicity and legislative advocacy files, and photographs. The collection is arranged into eight series according to Mont's organizational activities: California Committee for Fair Practices (1948, 1955-1968), Californians Against Proposition 14 (1964), Community Relations Conference of Southern California (1956‑1970, 1980), Emergency Committee to Aid Farm Workers (1947-1969), Governor's Office (1959-1966), Citizen's Advisory Committee for School Integration (1974-1979), and Personal Activities (1952-1980).
    Series I, California Committee for Fair Practices, includes the minutes, rosters, correspondence, financial statements, newsletters, reports, brochures, and pamphlets of the committee, including newspaper clippings, published material, and leaflets of other groups collected by the organization. The majority of the documents are dated after 1960 when Max Mont officially became the Executive Secretary of the committee. This series is further divided into five major subseries based on the activities of the California Committee for Fair Practices: Administration (1959-1968), Fair Employment Practices Commission (1955-1967), Legislative Advocacy (1957-1968), Civil Rights Concerns (Non-Housing) (1957-1969, 1976), and Fair Housing (1948, 1959-1967). Each subseries is filed alphabetically.
    Series II, Californians Against Proposition 14, documents Californians Against Proposition 14 (CAP 14), a temporary committee formed during 1964 by then-Governor Edmund G. Brown to coordinate election campaign efforts against the ballot initiative to repeal the Rumford Fair Housing Act of 1963. The committee was active from February to December, 1964. These records were collected and maintained by Max Mont, who served as the Southern California campaign coordinator for CAP 14. It includes correspondence, financial reports, rosters, campaign manuals, position statements, press releases, leaflets, pamphlets, newspaper clippings and a small amount of campaign ephemera. This series is further divided into the following four subseries: Administration, Campaign Literature and Publicity, Special Interest Committees, and Proponents of Proposition 14. Each subseries is filed alphabetically.
    Series III, Community Relations Conference of Southern California, documents the work of the Community Relations Conference of Southern California and affiliated organizations and projects. The series contains correspondence, testimony, reports, ordinances, conference programs, minutes and newsletters pertaining to the issues of housing, development, civil rights and community relations between ethnic groups within Los Angeles County and Southern California. The files were collected and maintained by Max Mont as a member of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations. The series is further divided into five subseries: General Projects (1958-1960, 1972, 1980), Human Relations Commission of Los Angeles (1969, 1971), Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (1956-1958, 1963, 1966), The Los Angeles Citizens Committee for Fair Housing (1966, 1968, ca. 1972), and The Housing Opportunity Center (1969-1973). Each subseries is filed alphabetically.
    Series IV, Emergency Committee to Aid Farm Workers, consists of agreements, budgets, by‑laws, correspondence, financial statements, legislative bills, minutes, newsletters, published reports, transcripts and related documents dealing with the controversial issues of the Bracero program, unionization of domestic farm labor, the California table grape strike and boycott, antipoverty programs and migrant poverty of the 1960s. The series is sub-divided into four subseries: Administration (1961-1967), Newsletters and Publicity (1961-1969), Project Files (1961-1968), and Subject Files (1947-1968). Each subseries is filed alphabetically.
    Series V, Governor's Office, includes correspondence, position statements, speeches, press releases, fact sheets and reports prepared and received by the office of Governor Edmund G. Brown between 1959 and 1966. These records were forwarded to Max Mont by William L. Becker, the Governor's Advisor on Civil Rights and Mont's predecessor as West Coast Executive Director of the Jewish Labor Committee. The series is divided into three subseries: General Information (1962-1965), Farm Labor and Agriculture (1961-1966), and Civil Rights and Housing (1959-1965). Each subseries is filed alphabetically.
    Series VI, Citizens Advisory Committee for School Integration, consists of committee records, correspondence files, legal documents, and survey data covering topics that include bilingual-bicultural education, integration and bussing, and the Los Angeles Unified School District and is filed alphabetically.
    Series VII, Personal Activities, contains brochures, conference programs, correspondence, legislative bills, newspaper clippings, newsletters, pamphlets, position papers, reports and similar documentation covering the wide subject areas found in the rest of the collection however, Mont's personal papers differ in that they are not primarily composed of records from a distinct single‑issue organization. Instead, the series contains Mont's own personal records pertaining to issues and activities of concern after his organizational involvement ended or before it began and documents Mont's political and civic activism and interests, his work as West Coast Executive Director of the Jewish Labor Committee, as representative for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL‑CIO, and as a private individual. It is divided into seven subseries: Civil Rights (Non‑ Housing) (1953-1980), Extremist Groups (1964-1965), Farm Labor (1941, 1943, 1963-1978), Fair Housing (1952-1953, 1965-1974), Jewish Community Concerns (1960-1976), School Integration (1970-1980), and General Material (1954, 1963-1972, 1980). Each subseries is filed alphabetically.

    Arrangement of Materials:

    Series I: California Committee for Fair Practices, 1948-1976
        Subseries A: Administration, 1959-1968
        Subseries B: Fair Employment Practices Commission, 1955-1967
        Subseries C: Legislative Advocacy, 1957-1968
        Subseries D: Civil Rights Concerns (Non-Housing), 1957-1976
        Subseries E: Fair Housing, 1948-1967
            Subseries 1: General Information, 1959-1967
            Subseries 2: Proposition 14 Proponents, 1948-1966
            Subseries 3: Proposition 14 Campaign Material, 1963-1967
            Subseries 4: Proposition 14 Post-Election Efforts, 1964-1967
    Series II: Californians Against Proposition 14, 1964
        Subseries A: Administration, 1964
        Subseries B: Campaign Literature and Publicity, 1964
        Subseries C: Special Interest Committees, 1964
        Subseries D: Proponents of Proposition 14, 1964
    Series III: Community Relations Conference of Southern California, 1956-1980
        Subseries A: General Projects, 1958-1980
        Subseries B: Human Relations Commission of Los Angeles, 1969-1971
        Subseries C: Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, 1956-1966
        Subseries D: The Los Angeles Citizens Committee for Fair Housing, 1966-1972
        Subseries E: The Housing Opportunity Center, 1969-1973
    Series IV: Emergency Committee to Aid Farm Workers, 1947-1972
        Subseries A: Administration, 1961-1967
        Subseries B: Newsletters and Publicity, 1961-1969
        Subseries C: Project Files, 1962-1968
            Subseries 1: Administration, 1962-1968
            Subseries 2: Individual Projects, 1963-1966
        Subseries D: Subject Files, 1947-1972
            Subseries 1: Agricultural Conditions and Economy, 1947-1967
            Subseries 2: The Bracero Program and Public Laws, 1948-1967
            Subseries 3: Domestic Labor, 1958-1972
                Subseries A: Labor Organizing, 1961-1968
                Subseries B: Living Conditions, 1958-1966
                Subseries C: Manpower Availability, 1959-1967
                Subseries D: Working Conditions, 1960-1972
            Subseries 4: Intergroup Relations, 1960-1968
            Subseries 5: Farm Labor Legislation and Advocacy, 1961-1967
    Series V: Governor's Office, 1959-1966
        Subseries A: General Information, 1962-1965
        Subseries B: Farm Labor and Agriculture, 1961-1966
        Subseries C: Civil Rights and Housing, 1959-1965
    Series VI: Citizens Advisory Committee for School Integration, 1974-1979
    Series VII: Personal Activities, 1941-1980
        Subseries A: Civil Rights (Non‑ Housing), 1953-1980
        Subseries B: Extremist Groups, 1964-1972
        Subseries C: Farm Labor, 1941-1978
           Subseries 1: General Reference and Fact Sheets, 1941-1974
           Subseries 2: Labor Organization, 1965-1974
           Subseries 3: Support Groups, 1966-1978
        Subseries D: Fair Housing, 1952-1974
        Subseries E: Jewish Community Concerns, 1960-1976
        Subseries F: School Integration, 1970-1980
        Subseries G: General Material, 1954-1980

    Conditions Governing Access:

    The collection is open for research use.

    Conditions Governing Use:

    Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Max Mont, 2/12/1982.

    General

    Other Information:
    This collection was processed in part under a U.S. Department of Education Title V Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Grant.

    Preferred Citation:

    For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

    Processing Information:

    Robert G. Marshall, Cathy Sluter, and Han Xiaoquan, May 1988 and November 2003

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Documents
    Photographs