// William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives
DATE:                  JANUARY 28, 2009


Transcript (PDF)


Howard Bearman was born December 11, 1935, in Birmingham, Alabama.  His grandparents immigrated to the United States from Kobryn, Poland, in the 1910’s.  His father was born in Savannah, Georgia.  The Bearman family came to Birmingham with a cousin, who was in the retail business.  His father settled in Birmingham and opened Bearman’s Men’s clothing store in downtown Birmingham.  

Howard’s family were members of Temple Beth-El, a conservative temple in Birmingham.   His family was traditional and kept a kosher home.  They walked to shul but worked on Shabbat.  He was bar mitzvahed at Temple Beth-El with Rabbi Abraham Mesch. 

Howard attended Glen Iris Elementary School and Ramsay High School.   He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1961 with a degree in medicine.   He did his residency in Cleveland, Ohio, and returned to Birmingham.  Growing up, Howard mainly socialized with other Jewish children his age and belonged to youth groups such as Aleph Zadik Aleph and Young Judaea. 

Howard is currently a pediatrician at Pediatrics East – Children’s of Alabama.   His wife, Suzanne Bearman, is from North Carolina.  They have four children and ten grandchildren.   The children live in Birmingham and in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Scope of Interview:

Howard Bearman talks about the Bearman family, who immigrated from Kobryn, Poland, in the 1910’s.   He recounts that his father is from Savannah, Georgia, and settled in Birmingham, Alabama, with a cousin who was in the retail business.   He discusses his father’s store, Bearman’s Men’s clothing store, in downtown Birmingham.  He reflects on working in the store from a young age.  He speaks of having good relations with the black clientele. 

Howard describes growing up in Birmingham and his childhood as being fairly traditional, keeping a kosher home and walking to shul.  He reflects on his bar mitzvah with Rabbi Abraham Mesch.  He talks about the two main synagogues and Jewish country clubs in Birmingham.  He recalls the Jewish delicatessens and kosher butchers in Birmingham and reflects on childhood memories.  He mentions having joined Aleph Zadik Aleph for Young Men in his teens and meeting his wife, Suzanne Bearman, at Camp Blue Star.

He discusses the civil rights era in Birmingham, his family’s relationship with domestic help, and the relationships with black clientele at his father’s store.  He talks about his education in Birmingham from grade school through medical school at the University of Alabama.  He talks about his residency in Cleveland, Ohio.     

Howard discusses his wife, children, and grandchildren.
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