Strangers & Neighbors

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Much has been written about the historic relationship between American blacks and Jews. Some accounts stress the strong alliance for social justice between the two groups during the civil rights movement, while others portray bleaker moments and include accusations of Jewish racism or black anti-Semitism. What is often missing is a larger historical perspective. This volume provides a wide range of analyses and documents that help us move beyond stereotypes and portray the full complexity of black-Jewish relations in America over the past three hundred years.

Following two introductory sections addressing "Themes and Issues" and "African Americans as the Chosen People, " the book is divided into five historical periods: the Atlantic slave trade and slavery in the New World; emancipation to the Great Depression; the era of the Depression and World War II; World War II through 1967; and 1968 to the present. Each section contains a mix of scholarly articles, historical documents, and contemporary perspectives. A final section entitled "Where Do We Go from Here?" suggests ways to rebuild a coalition between blacks and Jews in the twenty-first century.

Throughout the volume, the editors' goal is not to achieve closure but to invite further discussion about the historical relationship between two large, evolving, and diverse peoples. The selections reveal that the experiences of American blacks and Jews, although intersecting at several critical junctures, have not been parallel, and that significant geographical, class, political, and religious differences exist within both communities that preclude easy generalizations.

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Editorial Reviews

Growing out of a faculty seminar to redress the lack of course materials on the often contentious relations between these minority groups, this volume of 88 essays, narratives, and correspondence by well- and lesser-known figures minimizes the us-them perspective that obscures the complexity of such interaction historically. Sections explore: themes and issues, African Americans as the chosen people, the slave trade and slavery in the New World, US eras from emancipation to the present, and where we go from here. Ending on a hopeful note, the last essay discusses teaching ethnic identity and intergroup relations. Introduced by Julian Bond. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558492356
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Publication date: 2/9/2000
  • Pages: 800

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Themes and Issues
Jewish Racism, Black Anti-Semitism (1992) 18
What Color Is Anti-Semitism? (1995) 24
Towards a Research Agenda on Blacks and Jews in United States History (1993) 27
Historical Impressions of Black-Jewish Relations prior to World War II (1977) 34
Historical Impressions of Black-Jewish Relations prior to World War II: Another Comment and Response (1978) 43
Pt. 2 African Americans as the Chosen People
"Go Down, Moses" 53
"An Ante-Bellum Sermon" (1895) 55
African-Americans, Exodus, and the American Israel (excerpts) (1994) 57
Thomas Wentworth Higginson to Louise Storrow Higginson (1859) 64
Preface to Harriet: The Moses of Her People (1886) 65
The Kansas Fever Exodus of 1879 (1977) 66
Found: The Lost Tribe of Black Jews (1943) 84
Strangers in the Holy Land (1981) 92
A-Beta Israel Hebrew Center Leaflet 100
Pt. 3 The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery in the New World
The Role of Jews in the Transatlantic Slave Trade (1993) 105
"And Don't Forget the Guinea Voyage": The Slave Trade of Aaron Lopez of Newport (1975) 116
The Uncomfortable Relationship: African Enslavement in the Common History of Blacks and Jews (1994) 131
Four Documents concerning Jews and Slavery (1762; 1806-09; 1814; 1860) 137
Jews and Negro Slavery in the Old South, 1789-1865 (1961) 147
Revolution and Reform: The Antebellum Jewish Abolitionists (1984) 183
The Rabbis and the Slavery Question (1957) 198
Pt. 4 From Emancipation to the Great Depression
Document concerning Lynching (1868) 219
"For Him the 'Schwartzers' Couldn't Do Enough": A Jewish Peddler and His Black Customers Look at Each Other (1983) 223
Black-Jewish Relations in the Opening Years of the Twentieth Century (1975) 237
Jews and Blacks (1978) 245
"Is the Jew a White Man?": Press Reaction to the Leo Frank Case, 1913-1915 (1974) 261
Leo M. Frank and the Jewish Community (1968) 271
From "The Souls of Black Folks: A Comparison of the 1903 and 1952 Editions" (1971) 283
Booker T. Washington's Discovery of Jews (1982) 287
Among the Children of the East Side Jews (1905): A Black Teacher Describes Her Jewish Pupils 296
Black Images of Jews: From Reconstruction to Depression (1978) 300
"The Dixie Volunteers" (1917) 316
"Silver Swanee" (1922) 319
"Seven or Eleven (My Dixie Pair O'Dice)" (1923) 324
"A $1,328,329 Worth of Fun! for 50 cents" (1932) 328
From World of Our Fathers (1976) 329
Parallels and Divergences: Assimilationist Strategies of Afro-American and Jewish Elites from 1910 to the Early 1930s (1984) 331
Pt. 5 The Era of the Depression and World War II
From Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (1945) 355
The Bronx Slave Market (1935) 369
David Edwards to James Weldon Johnson (1926) 375
Walter White to Charles Houston (1938) 377
J. L. LeFlore to Berney Strauss (1938) 378
Anti-Semitic Drive in Harlem (1941) 380
Black-Jewish Relations in Wartime Detroit: The Marsh, Loving, Wolf Surveys and the Race Riot of 1943 (1985) 384
A. C. MacNeal to Walter White with Enclosure for the Organized Jewry of America in Chicago, March 23, 1933 (1933) 407
Negro Perceptions of Jews between the World Wars (1969) 409
Comparisons by Negro Publications of the Plight of the Jews in Germany with that of the Negro in America (1942) 427
Anti-Negroism among Jews (1943) 444
Anti-Semitism among Negoes (1943) 449
African Americans and Jews in Hollywood: Antagonistic Allies (1997) 457
Pt. 6 World War II through 1967
Negotiating Coalition: Black and Jewish Civil Rights Agencies in the Twentieth Century (1997) 476
At 50, Levittown Contends with Legacy of Racial Bias (1997) 495
How Did Jews Become White Folks? (1994) 500
Large Jewish Organization in Controversy: B'nai B'rith Members Disagree on Negro Issue (1950) 520
Herbert L. Wright to Youth Leaders (1952) 522
Southern Jewish Views on Segregation (1956) 524
One Episode in Southern Jewry's Response to Desegregation: An Historical Memoir (1981) 528
Rabbis and Negro Rights in the South, 1954-1967 (1969) 540
Press Release from Robert Gary (1956) 559
Resolution Adopted by the Biennial Convention of the American Jewish Congress (1958) 560
Correspondence between Isaac Toubin and Roy Wilkins (1958) 564
Correspondence between C. L. Dellums and Roy Wilkins (1960) 566
From The Best of Harry Golden (1967) 567
From Negro and Jew: An Encounter in America 570
Blacks and Jews in the Civil Rights Movement (1984) 574
The Civil Rights Struggle (1965) 590
Remarks at an NAACP Labor Dinner (1960) 593
Black-Jewish Conflict in the Labor Context: Race, Jobs, and Institutional Power (1998) 596
The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Jewish: Desegregation in the South and the Crisis of Jewish Liberalism (1997) 620
Pt. 7 1968 to the Present
Introduction to Negro and Jew: An Encounter in America (1967) 641
New York's Black Anti-Semitism Scare (1969) 645
Exploding the Myth of Black Anti-Semitism (1969) 660
Blacks and Jews: An Interview with Julius Lester (1969) 669
A Negro Speaks to Jews (1968) 681
A Negro Discusses Anti-Semitism (1968) 684
Black-Jewish Relations in 1984: A Survey of Black U.S. Congressmen (1985) 688
Remarks before the Milwaukee Jewish Council Dinner (1973) 702
Black-Jewish Relationships: Healing the Wounds (1974) 707
As for the '02 Kosher-Food Rioters (1977) 709
Such Good Friends: Blacks and Jews in Conflict (1979) 712
The Myth of the Powerful Jew: The Black-Jewish Conflict, Part 2 (1979) 720
Blacks and Jews in the Democratic Coalition (1986) 729
Blacks and Jews in the Chicago Heartland (1989) 741
Pt. 8 Where Do We Go from Here?
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Relationships between Black and Jewish Women (1984) 765
Blacks and Jews: Thoughts on an Agenda for the Eighties (1983) 781
Great Expectations: Defining the Divide between Blacks and Jews (1994) 802
Blacks and Jews: Where Are We? Where Are We Going? (1999) 813
Teaching Ethnic Identity and Intergroup Relations: The Case of Black-Jewish Dialogue (1990) 823
Bibliography 837
Index 843
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