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Immigrants Of The Day: Tina Brown (England), Felix Frankfurter (Austria), and Melquiades Rafael "Mel" Martinez (Cuba)

by Kevin R. Johnson

Tina Brown (England)

Tinabrown400 Tina Brown (born Christina Hambley Brown on November 21, 1953, in Maidenhead, England) is a journalist, magazine editor, columnist and talk-show host.  Born a British citizen, she is now a U.S. Citizen.

Brown rose to prominence in the American media industry as the editor of the magazines Vanity Fair from 1984 to 1992 and of The New Yorker from 1992 to 1998.

Brown grew up in Little Marlow, in Buckinghamshire on the outskirts of London. Brown went to college at St Anne's College, Oxford. Brown met Harold Evans in 1974, and began working for his Sunday Times as a writer. She reported from New York for the paper, then quit to join the Sunday Telegraph in London. Evans and Brown were married in East Hampton, New York at the home of then-Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn in August 1981.

In 1992, Brown became editor of The New Yorker. She redesigned the magazine, introducing the first staff photographer (Richard Avedon) and brought in many new reporters and critics.  Her tenure at The New Yorker was controversial: Brown was accused of destroying the magazine, while she argued that she cut dead wood and reinvigorated the magazine. Over her tenure, many respected writers left or were fired (and many others remained), and circulation increased by 30 percent (adding 250,000 new readers).

In 1998, Brown left the New Yorker to start a new magazine, a book company and a television show. She went on to produce a series of specials for CNBC. The network followed up by signing her to host a weekly talk show of politics and culture. The program ended in May 2005. In the last few years, Brown also has written columns on politics and culture for the Washington Post and the New York Sun.

Today, Tina Brown lives in New York City with her husband, Harold Evans, and two children. For an article on Brown's new book on Princess Di, The Diana Chronicles, click here. For book details, see here.

June 27, 2007 | Permalink

Felix Frankfurter (Austria)

198pxfrankfurterfelixloc Felix Frankfurter (November 15, 1882–February 22, 1965) was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  Born in Vienna, Austria, he immigrated with his family to the United States in 1894, and grew up on New York City's Lower East Side. After graduating from City College of New York, Frankfurter enrolled in New York Law School and transferred to Harvard Law School, where he became an editor of the Harvard Law Review and graduated with one of the best academic records since Justice Louis Brandeis.

In 1906, Frankfurter became the assistant of Henry Stimson, a New York attorney. In 1911, President Taft appointed Stimson as his Secretary of War and Stimson appointed Frankfurter as law officer of the Bureau of Insular Affairs. During WWI, he acted as major and judge-advocate, and as secretary and counsel of the President's mediation commission.  In 1918, leaders within the American Jewish community convened the first American Jewish Congress in Philadelphia. Frankfurter, joined by Rabbi Stephen Wise, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, and others to lay the groundwork for a national Democratic organization comprised of Jewish leaders from all over the country, to rally for equal rights for all Americans regardless of race, religion or national ancestry.

In 1920, Frankfurter helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union. In the late 1920s, he joined efforts to save the lives of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two anarchists who had been sentenced to death.

On January 5, 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt nominated Frankfurter to the U.S. Supreme Court.  After a quick confirmation, Franfurter served from January 30, 1939 to August 28, 1962. Frankfurter became the Court's most outspoken advocate of judicial restraint. He was heavily influenced by his close friend and mentor Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.  In practice, this meant Frankfurter was generally willing to uphold the actions of government against constitutional challenges. Later in his career, this philosophy frequently put him on the dissenting side of ground-breaking decisions of the Warren court.  However, Frankfurter joined the Court's unanimous opinion in Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

Frankfurter retired in 1962 after suffering a stroke. He died at 83.  Frankfurter was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.  The Library of Congress has an extensive collection of Frankfurter's papers. (here).

June 28, 2007 | Permalink

Melquiades Rafael "Mel" Martinez (Cuba)

160pxmel_martinez Melquíades Rafael "Mel" Martínez (born October 23, 1946) is a Cuban-born American politician, who is currently the junior United States Senator from Florida and the General Chairman of the Republican Party. Previously, Martinez served as the 12th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush.

Martinez was born in Sagua La Grande, Cuba. He came to the United States in 1962 as part of a Roman Catholic humanitarian effort called Operation Peter Pan, which brought into the U.S. more than 14,000 children. Upon arrival in the U.S., Martinez was alone and spoke virtually no English. After living with two foster families, he was reunited with his family in Orlando in 1966.

Martinez attended Bishop Moore High School in Orlando on scholarship. After graduation, he attended Florida State as an undergrad and as a law student.

Martinez resigned his cabinet post in December 2003 to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Florida being vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Bob Graham.  Martinez secured the Republican nomination and narrowly defeated the Democratic nominee, Betty Castor. His election made him the first Cuban-American to serve in the U.S. Senate.  Martinez and Ken Salazar were the first Latino U.S. Senators since 1977. They were joined by Bob Menendez in January 2006.

Martinez and his wife Kitty have three children and two grandchildren.

June 29, 2007 | Permalink

These posts were orginally posted on the ImmigrationProf Blog here, here and here.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog .

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.