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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

 

MEMOIRIST:            ELLIOTT LEVITAS

INTERVIEWER:        NAT GOZANSKY

LOCATION:              ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                       1992

Transcript (PDF)

Biography

Elliott Harris Levitas was born in Atlanta in 1930 to Louis and Ida Levitas. He and his brother Ted were raised in a devoutly Jewish and civic-minded family with strong connections to both their religious community and the greater Atlanta area.

Elliott received his B.A. from Emory University, and his J.D. from Emory Law School. He studied at Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar and received his Master of Laws degree there. He completed additional law studies at the University of Michigan and served as a JAG Officer in the United States Air Force in Maine.

He was admitted to the Georgia Bar Association in 1955 and began to practice law at the firm of Arnall, Golden, Gregory. He married Barbara Hillman and moved to DeKalb County, where they settled and raised three children: Karen, Susan, and Kevin.

He became active in the Democratic party in Georgia and attended the 1964 National Convention as an alternate delegate. In 1965 he ran for public office for the first time and was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served until 1974. He was then elected to represent Georgia’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He subsequently was re-elected four times, serving in Congress until January 1985. He lost his re-election bid in November of 1984 and retired from political life after almost 20 years of service.

Scope

Levitas shares background on his parents and grandparents, and describes his family’s involvement in Atlanta’s Jewish community. He reflects on his experiences in law school, studying abroad, serving in the military, and practicing law with Arnall, Golden, Gregory.

He describes the impact of growing up during the civil rights movement, and reflects on attitudes towards Jews throughout his life in Atlanta and in Washington DC. He also shares stories about his campaigns for, and experiences as, a member of the Georgia General Assembly and of the United States House of Representatives.

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