Morris Cohen oral history interview and transcript


Morris Cohen oral history interview and transcript
Born in Torrington, Connecticut, Morris Cohen came to Hartford in 1910 at the age of 12. He describes how he became very interested in sports at that time but had little opportunity in to engage in them as he was discouraged by his parents which was typical of Jewish immigrant parents in those days who considered sports a waste of time. Nonetheless, he recalls that he played football informally in the park and played around with shooting baskets. When he went to Hartford High School, despite his small stature, he was on the basketball squad. Basketball became his preferred sport. While attending dental school at Tufts, Cohen says that he encountered blatant antisemitism when he joined the Tufts basketball team. Despite being one of the team’s star players he was always passed over for the role of captain. After a couple of years, he finally confronted the coach and was told “a Jew will never be a captain of a Tufts team.” In disgust, he quit and never played for Tufts again. After graduation when he returned to Hartford and began his professional dental career, he joined the YMHA basketball team which attained championship status. After his playing days were over, he acted as manager of the YMHA team and was instrumental in bringing the Celtics to Hartford to compete on several occasions. Dr. Cohen looks back on his athletic career and credits his experience with antisemitism as being a good training ground for later life where, although things improved in that regard, he still encountered it. Athletics not only helped him to develop a strong body, but it also helped develop character, and the will to succeed.
Listen to the interview and read the transcript in the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA)
Interview conducted in English.
Cohen, Morris
Cohen, Emma
M 5, Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford Oral History collection
Antisemitism in sports
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1 Compact audiocassette tape
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Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford
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